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View Poll Results: Is "lying" a crime

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  • Only perjury (=lying under oath) is a crime

    7 24.14%
  • Perjury and lies that cause serious harm or damages are crimes

    6 20.69%
  • Any lie that causes harm or damage is a crime

    7 24.14%
  • Any lie is a crime, because there is always a potential harm or damage in the future

    4 13.79%
  • A lie is never a crime, but sometimes an offence

    4 13.79%
  • A lie is never a crime or an offence

    1 3.45%
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Thread: Is "lying" a crime ?

  1. #1
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    Is "lying" a crime ?



    There are many kinds of lies. Lying in court after taking an oath is called "perjury" and is usually treated as a crime or offence. At the other extremity, there are "white lies", which give good fellings to another person (eg. telling your friend that you like their new jacket, when in fact you hate it).

    In some culture, lying is part of everyday life for most people (like in Japan) and people are used to it and don't expect to be told the truth (esp. about opinions and feelings) all the time. In other cultures (eg. France), even a white lie is objectionable, as the truth is more important than "flattering" or avoiding shocking people.

    Logically, I can understand both sides. White lies can be good because they avoid creating unnecessary trouble and make people happy. But on the other hand, when people find out about a lie (even a white one), they may be even more hurt than if they were told the truth at first in a tactful way.

    Some lies create serious trouble and can even lead to some people's death or serious injuries, damages or lead to paranoia or depression. Imagine someone who is in love and the loved person tell him/her that they also love her/him, but after some time, when the first person is already deeply commited emotionally, they find out that their loved one really doesn't care at all about them and he/she commit suicide. Or what a person selling his/her car and telling the buyer that everything is fine, when in fact he knows that the breaks are dysfunctional, and the buyer dies in an accident because of that ? What about someone lying to their partner about their faithfullness and transmitting them a fatal STD by abusing their trust ? These lies are simple and preety common examples of lies that can have tragic consequences.

    That is why in my opinion, lying can be considered as a crime, even a white lie (like my first and last example in the above paragraph).

    What differentiate a crime from an offence, is that a crime harms people or create physical or psychological damages. An offence (like speeding, drunk driving, etc.) means not respecting a law or rule, without causing any harm or damage to anybody else (if a person drives under the influence of alcohol and commits an accident, it becomes a crime).

    The problem with lies (esp. white lies), is that the harm is not direct and does not always happen afterwards (eg. if the person doesn't find out and nothing bad happens). But as it depends somewhat on the motivation of chance of the person who is lied to, to find out the truth, lying is always a potential crime (people can always find out if they try or just by chance). That is why I would consider any lie as a crime, even if the harm has not yet been done, because it can still happen in the future. Of course, lying about how much you like your friends' new clothes is a benign crime. Lying is very much like stealing in that it can be graded, from benign to extremely serious. Stealing a blank sheet of paper from your company is not even punishable, but stealing a Leonardo da Vinci in a Museum is quite another matter. Lying is the same. A small lie with little consequence is a pardonable crime, but it's still a crime, like stealing.

    Do you agree ?
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    Two words.

    First Amendment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyr
    First Amendment.
    If the First Amendment were enforced 100%, perjury, libel and diffamation would also be legal and unpunishable. But they are crimes, even in the US. My question is, would you consider lying as a crime as well or make it a crime if you had the power to ?

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.

    Life Has Taught Me That......

    telling a lie often comes back to cause problems later. As hard as it sometimes can be, telling the truth is better in the long run. The one time I justify telling a lie in my mind, is to protect hurt feeling. When someone asks a question about themselves and I know my honest answer will hurt them, I WILL lie rather than be hurtfully truthful? As grandmother used to say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!" If I'm forced to give an answer, it will be a NICE one.

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    I don't think lying should be a crime (except maybe in extreme situations like while under oath). Can you really see someone going to jail or paying a fine for telling their boss they were sick when they really just wanted to go snowboarding? But people should be discouraged to lie.

    Everytime I consider lying, I think about what would happen if I just tell the truth, and since that's usually a lot easier, that's what I do (most of the time). Lying takes too much effort, and since I think people should accept me the way I am, why should I lie?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    If the First Amendment were enforced 100%, perjury, libel and diffamation would also be legal and unpunishable. But they are crimes, even in the US. My question is, would you consider lying as a crime as well or make it a crime if you had the power to ?
    Actually, the First Amendment is enforced 100% (or so we'd like to believe) considering perjury, liable, slander, etc. is not protected by it.


    For instance, yelling "Fire!" in a movie theater does not constitute First Amendment protection from the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    I don't think lying should be a crime (except maybe in extreme situations like while under oath). Can you really see someone going to jail or paying a fine for telling their boss they were sick when they really just wanted to go snowboarding?
    Why should there be a fine or other penalty if nobody complains about it or finds out. If you lie to their boss saying they are sick because you want to go snowboarding, it is already treated as a crime. If the boss finds out, you might be fired or anyway snactioned, except if the boss doesn't care, in which case there is no offence/complaint, and so no conssequence. Same as for stealing. If you steal 100$ from your boss/company you might get in similar trouble, except if the boss doesn't find out, forgives you or doesn't care. And stealing IS a crime, right ? What's the difference ?

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    This thread needs a pinch of legal definitions. :95:

    Q: What's a crime?
    A: any act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law.

    As a result, lying is a crime if it is used or intended as a means of committing a crime under such a public law (fraud, embezzlement, libel, etc).

    Usually, lying to your employer is not a crime, but a violation of contractual obligations.

    I believe that the poll options above mainly touch upon the social implications of lying, not the legal ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    Q: What's a crime?
    A: any act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law.
    ...
    I believe that the poll options above mainly touch upon the social implications of lying, not the legal ones.
    What I meant was maybe just "do you feel that "lying" should be criminalized if it isn't already a crime, for each of the cases mentioned in the poll".

    As you said, lying to one's employer is not legally considered as a crime, and neither is lying to a friend or family member or whoever else. However, I think it should be treated as a crime, and punished in acordance with its gravity and consequences (if there is a complaint from the victim, like with most other crimes, like theft).

    My Oxford Dictionary defines "crime" as : an action which constitutes a serious offence against an individual or the state and is punishable by law.

    I am not sure I agree with the "and is punishable by law" part, as not all country's law define all possible crimes. In some legislation, an act that harms someone else (even indirect) is punishable by law. For instance, in the US one can sue anybody for anything they want, even if they are not directly responsible (eg. you burn yourself with your coffee at McDonald and get millions of $ in damages just by taking the initiative of suing them, while thousands of other people in the same situation do not get anything because they don't care or don't take any legal action). I guess that any action, even something as trivial as serving a cup of hot coffee, is a crime in the US by the dictionary's defintion, as it can be punished if there is a complaint.

    This is not what I mean here by "crime". What I mean is rather "can we sue a US president for lying to the nation, even if there is no clear victim ?", "can we call a lier a criminal ?", or simply "can we sue one's boss because they told us we would get a promotion/bonus/whatever while he/she knew very well since the beginning that it was not going to happen (=lie)" ?

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    I guess it all depends on your own point of view and how you feel about the concept of lying. I wouldn't consider it a crime, still, I try my very best not to be deceitful to anyone, if but for no other reason than i wouldn't want anyone to be deceitful to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Why should there be a fine or other penalty if nobody complains about it or finds out. If you lie to their boss saying they are sick because you want to go snowboarding, it is already treated as a crime. If the boss finds out, you might be fired or anyway snactioned, except if the boss doesn't care, in which case there is no offence/complaint, and so no conssequence. Same as for stealing. If you steal 100$ from your boss/company you might get in similar trouble, except if the boss doesn't find out, forgives you or doesn't care. And stealing IS a crime, right ? What's the difference ?
    One difference would be the difficulty in proving the employee's condition at the time of the indicident. As long as a defendent can claim that they called in not feeling well enough to do their job, took a drive and snowboarding came up spontanteously, the legal hassle of pressing charges far outweighs lost productivity, lowering company morale etc. Unless the lie was intended to get out of a difficult meeting, assignment whatever in which case it becomes irrelevant to the people involved whether the illness was true or maligned since being sick is always a possibility and could very well have been the case.

    Personal responsiblity for judging a person's character and taking responsiblity for your own feelings, such as in the jilted relationship example -- also comes into play. Committing suicide because someone doesn't love you as they claimed is no different really than suing McDonalds over an overly hot cup of coffee which should have been foreseen and protected against. The STD example could reasonably be covered homicide laws and the malfunctioning brakes probably already come under consumer protection legislation.

    Basically I agree with some others about not lying where the consequences could result in serious injury or death and trying to keep all others to a minimum, but I also expect other people involved to be able to survive finding out social deceptions intended to protect their well-being and their own web of relationships.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What I meant was maybe just "do you feel that "lying" should be criminalized if it isn't already a crime, for each of the cases mentioned in the poll". As you said, lying to one's employer is not legally considered as a crime, and neither is lying to a friend or family member or whoever else. However, I think it should be treated as a crime, and punished in acordance with its gravity and consequences (if there is a complaint from the victim, like with most other crimes, like theft).
    I think we are confusing matters of civil and criminal law in this thread. Crimes are acts against the social order and therefore punishable by public law (= the state), regulated for instance in criminal codes. That means that the state has a legal interest in preserving the legal & social order that is challenged by committing criminal acts. The McDonald example you mention is clearly a case of civil law, as the state has no legal interest in indemnifying a private person for damages caused by a third (private) party.

    How can lying to a friend or a family member be regarded as "an action that constitutes a serious offence against an individual or the state", unless it is a crime stipulated by criminal/public law? There is no legal interest in criminalising such cases. Sounds like a horrible vision of moral dictatorship to me.

    What I mean is rather "can we sue a US president for lying to the nation, even if there is no clear victim ?", "can we call a lier a criminal ?", or simply "can we sue one's boss because they told us we would get a promotion/bonus/whatever while he/she knew very well since the beginning that it was not going to happen (=lie)" ?
    I am not an expert on US law, but I am sure there are provisions for impeachment procedures - under clear circumstances defined by public law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I am not sure I agree with the "and is punishable by law" part,
    See, that's what I think of when I hear the word "crime". Civil law is much more open to interpretation in that you can sue someone just by prooving they did some emotional damage to you. But a crime (like murder), is something the state will prosecute for even if no one complains about it. In the case of lying, they'd have to be listening in on all our conversations and sending men in white suits to our homes when they catch us telling our mothers that we like her casserole. I really don't want the government involved with my personal interactions with other people.

    But in cases where lying causes damage, we shouldn't be prosecuting people because they LIED, but rather prosecuting them for the actual DAMAGE they caused. Lying is the cause. Why not focus on the effect, the damage.

    Elizabeth wrote...
    The STD example could reasonably be covered homicide laws and the malfunctioning brakes probably already come under consumer protection legislation.

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    I don't think you can ever be completely honest with anyone. With some you're more honest than with others but you sometimes have to bend the truth a little bit so you won't hurt people over nothing... Lying is one of those basic things we need to survive.

    Actually, I think there was a case not so long ago here where a man with AIDS or HIV had slept with several women without a condom, knowing that he ahd the disease. He was accused of attempted murder. I'm not quite sure about that, though, but there was a court case about it.

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    Actually, I think there was a case not so long ago here where a man with AIDS or HIV had slept with several women without a condom, knowing that he ahd the disease. He was accused of attempted murder. I'm not quite sure about that, though, but there was a court case about it.
    Attempted murder by AIDS carriers as a secondary crime in cases of rape or attempted rape has also been upheld by some courts in the US. Again, though, it would have to be a corrolary offense or brought under civil rules since investigating every case of STD or AIDS as potential murder is a practical impossibility for any jurisdiction.

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    Lying is a crime and we are all guilty!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    One difference would be the difficulty in proving the employee's condition at the time of the indicident. As long as a defendent can claim that they called in not feeling well enough to do their job, took a drive and snowboarding came up spontanteously,
    How can that ever happen ? You can't just go snowboarding like that "spontaneously" without preparing your equipment beforehand, and unless you already live in the mountains, chances are that the ski slope will be several hours' drive away, not the thing we can do when we take a sick leave - except if we are not really sick, but unless the person had a bronchitis or high fever (from 38'C), I would expect them to go to work. People don't just take a day off because they have a cold or slight fever (well not in Japan, and I don't either). Anyway, taking a day off also means losing one "paid leave" a year, or if they've all been used, not getting paid for that day. So even if the person really is ill, they are penalised anyway.

    the legal hassle of pressing charges far outweighs lost productivity, lowering company morale etc.
    But that's exactly the same with stealing, say "a pen" from your company. Nobody is going to sue you as it's not worth it and would create a lower morale, etc. but the fact is that the person's reputation has been tainted. For me lying and stealing are not that different, and equally reprehensible (if not legally, then morally).

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    I think we are confusing matters of civil and criminal law in this thread. Crimes are acts against the social order and therefore punishable by public law (= the state), regulated for instance in criminal codes. That means that the state has a legal interest in preserving the legal & social order that is challenged by committing criminal acts. The McDonald example you mention is clearly a case of civil law, as the state has no legal interest in indemnifying a private person for damages caused by a third (private) party.
    Are you saying that anything that is not covered by "public law" is not a crime ? That is not what I learned in my (few) law classes at university.
    Do you mean that if someone steals, say 10,000$ fom their company, or neighbour or family, they are not "criminals" because the state has no interest in it ?

    If I understand you well, anything that is not regulated by a country's criminal law (penal code ?) or public law is not a crime. Does that mean that if "murder" was not regulated by criminal/public law, killing someone with no family, no friends and nobody to sue the murderer, the murderer will not be considered as a criminal because the state has no interest into it and just walk free ?

    If so, is "stealing" usually treated by criminal law ? If it is, why should "lying" be treated differently when the consequences can be equally serious or benign ?

    I am not an expert on US law, but I am sure there are provisions for impeachment procedures - under clear circumstances defined by public law.
    What I never understood in the US logic (not just the law, but how the people react to political events) is how Bill Clinton made such a scandal by lying about a private matter (have sex with someone or not) with people trying to impeach him for only that reason, but nobody tries to impeach Bush and his administration for lying to the whole nation (not one time, but almost everyday during months) about Iraq' Weapons of Mass Destruction or connection with Al Qaida. Even Rumsfeld was not dismissed after admitting there were no WMD's. This a an enormous lie not only to the whole USA, but to the entire world (while pushing other nations to join the "coalition" by lying to them), and had dramatic consequences (tens of thousands of deaths).

    There is visibly a law that prohibits US Presidents from lying, even about their private lives, or there would have been no impeachment procedure possible against Clinton. As the Bush administration said there were certain and repeated many times that they had evidence that Iraq had WMD's, they cannot even call it a mistake or misinformation. So why does Bush get re-elected by the American people after such a blatant lie so full of consequences, while the same American people criticized Clinton for a lie that was irrelevant to his job or duty to the nation ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    In the case of lying, they'd have to be listening in on all our conversations and sending men in white suits to our homes when they catch us telling our mothers that we like her casserole. I really don't want the government involved with my personal interactions with other people.
    That is not at all how I see it. Not a single government in the world has the capability of controlling the behaviour of all the people in their country at any given time. What is considered as a crime does not make any difference. You could say that "murder" is surely a crime, but if the government was "listening in on all our conversations and sending men in white suits", there would be no murder or for that matter no crime, or at least nobody who could commit a crime and not get caught immediately. But be realistic, that is just impossible and the idea doesn't even come into my mind that such a situation could exist.

    But in cases where lying causes damage, we shouldn't be prosecuting people because they LIED, but rather prosecuting them for the actual DAMAGE they caused. Lying is the cause. Why not focus on the effect, the damage.
    My point is that "lying" always causes at least an emotional damage, to the same extent to "stealing" or "destroying someone's property" causes a material loss/damage. This is ho I feel about it, although it should be graded from "very benign to very harmful". We could say that there is no need to "prosecute" someone when the harm done is negligible or not worth the lawsuit, like in most cases (as for small thefts), but the reason I would like to see "lying" treated as a crime is for serious cases like "Bush lying about the WMD's in Iraq" or any other serious cases in non-public matters.

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    Maciamo wrote...
    they cannot even call it a mistake or misinformation.
    That's what they're saying and unfortunately there's really no way to prove it wasn't a mistake or misinformation.

    while the same American people criticized Clinton for a lie that was irrelevant to his job or duty to the nation ?
    It's wasn't the same people. The people who went after Clinton are Bush allies. For better or worse, Liberals won't usually stoop to using such tactics against Bush.

    but the reason I would like to see "lying" treated as a crime is for serious cases like "Bush lying about the WMD's in Iraq" or any other serious cases in non-public matters.
    Aha! Now your true motivation is revealed. If America looses this war and Bush is captured, I'm sure he'd end up a "war criminal". But, if America doesn't loose the war, who's going to put him on trial? Unfortunately in situations like this, right and wrong are decided by the winner. It sucks, but that's how it works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miu
    I don't think you can ever be completely honest with anyone. With some you're more honest than with others but you sometimes have to bend the truth a little bit so you won't hurt people over nothing... Lying is one of those basic things we need to survive.
    I understand you. If you don't want to tell someone something, that is fine. If you are asked a question and decide not to answer (or not clearly) or change the subject, that is also fine. These are good ways of avoiding lies.

    At best we could say that a lie in an everyday conversation is hardly a lie as people can mistake in what they say. I am very aware of this. If I asked someone what time it is and they tell me 8pm, when it is in fact 7:57pm, I won't call it a lie, just a lack of accuracy.

    The problem with this kind of discussion is that the meaning of "lie" can be different for everyone and should be defined first. Some "white lies" are not always lies if they regard "temporary feelings" (not "love" for example), which can be unclear even to oneself. When asked whether I like something or not, I often have to think about it and try to understand my own feelings before giving an answer. When it is not clear because I don't have strong feelings or have mixed feelings about the matter, I will give a vague answer or just no answer at all. My favorite answer is "it depends", because that is just how it is in most cases. Q:"Do you like pasta ?" A:"It depends!". Q:"Depends on what ? (what the hell could that depend on ??)" A:"It depends on the kind of sauce and how well it is cooked. For example I don't like Natto Pasta". That is how I usually think, and thus I do not lie in my answer, as it could cause trouble even to me.

    In my childhood I have experiences several times cases of somebody asking me whether I like something, and had it offered to me (be it food, presents, whatever) because I answered "yes" without thinking carefull about the answer. I usually ask questions back to try to confirm what the questioner wants to know exactly and for what reason. That goes a long way in avoiding problems. This is just a matter of accuracy and understanding people's mind or feelings, so you can imagine how troublesome it is for me when people tell me "white lies" even when I question them to make sure to know what they think. I just to expect them to lie about such things as their likings or preferences. These "white lies" have caused me a lot of trouble in Japan, especially with my wife, who always want to give the answer peopel want to hear, but there is no such thing for me but the truth - and eventhough I told her she always tries to guess my feelings, and can't seem to get it right because of my different way of thinking. If she'd just tell me the truth when I ask her something as simple as what she wants to do on Sunday, or whether she wants to go to X, Y or Z without thinking about my likely preference. The same is true with other Japanese. White lies and (inaccuracies) are so common in Japan that it can lead to misundertsandings on a daily basis. That doesn't mean I would sue them about it (if it does not result in serious damage). This is just to explain how much I hate lies, even white ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    That's what they're saying and unfortunately there's really no way to prove it wasn't a mistake or misinformation.
    Of course there is. They said it on TV and in press conference, they told other governments that they had evidence (pictures, etc.). Misinformation would be acceptable if they didn't insist that they had "evidence" (not supposition).

    It's wasn't the same people. The people who went after Clinton are Bush allies. For better or worse, Liberals won't usually stoop to using such tactics against Bush.
    Not even a single person ? Not even a greedy lawyer with no political affiliation ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    Aha! Now your true motivation is revealed. If America looses this war and Bush is captured, I'm sure he'd end up a "war criminal". But, if America doesn't loose the war, who's going to put him on trial? Unfortunately in situations like this, right and wrong are decided by the winner. It sucks, but that's how it works.
    Let's wait that he retires and gets old, like with Pinochet.

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    My point is that "lying" always causes at least an emotional damage, to the same extent to "stealing" or "destroying someone's property" causes a material loss/damage. This is ho I feel about it, although it should be graded from "very benign to very harmful". We could say that there is no need to "prosecute" someone when the harm done is negligible or not worth the lawsuit, like in most cases (as for small thefts), but the reason I would like to see "lying" treated as a crime is for serious cases like "Bush lying about the WMD's in Iraq" or any other serious cases in non-public matters.
    It isn't so much a question of being worthwhile or not, as without a lie detector or MRI scan

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science...in.lying.reut/

    in most cases of lying about matters not connected to larger crime there isn't going to be independent evidence to point one way or the other whether someone was being intentionally deceitful. And these are limited to issues of fact, getting into definitions of love as a temporary feeling state or something that should have other components (sense of intimacy, lifelong commitment etc) is clearly a matter of personal judgment and experience with no appended legal obligation to any amount of a lover's promises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    It isn't so much a question of being worthwhile or not, as without a lie detector or MRI scan

    in most cases of lying about matters not connected to larger crime there isn't going to be independent evidence to point one way or the other whether someone was being intentionally deceitful.
    So I guess that for important matters it is important to make the other party pledge that they are telling the truth in a "one-to-one oath", and if possible make them write it on paper or by email to have a proof in case of conflict.
    If an oath (outside a court) is the condition, would lying count as a crime if the damages are big enough ? The problem is that a written oath resembles too much a contract, and thus falls under the civil law regulation. I think there need to be some law that treats cases where no such oath was written down.

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    The relativity of lying

    In life there are objective things and subjective things. One can lie about something objective, like a fact. Anything subjective is a matter of personal perception, and can vary in time. That is why there cannot be actual "lies" about emotions, feelings, perceptions, or personal experiences, except if there go against objective facts.

    Here is an illustration. A man tells his wife that he doesn't want to go to the cinema because he is feeling tired. 10 minutes later, he is caught working on his P.C. The wife accuses him of lying about feeling tired. There is no way she will be able to prove that he did not genuinely feel tired when he said it, because fatigue is a temporary feeling. What is more, as tiredness is also a very gradual sensation. It is not black or white. There can be many different levels of tiredness, and also many different sorts. That is why it is a subjective feeling, and one cannot be lying by saying that they are tired, because there is always a possibility of being only moderately tired, or too tired for some determined activity but not others.


    Here is another example. A man says he has had 10 girlfriends. When asking the girls in question if he has indeed been their boyfriend, 4 of them say no. Does that mean that the man is lying, or boasting about his experiences ? Not necessarily. The problem with relationships is that they are also very subjective. It is all a matter of definition, and in life, most people live with different definitions for the same words. As lying can only be about facts, definitions cannot be taken into account. Here is why.

    For some people, a boyfriend-girlfriend relation starts at kissing, even if it only happens at one party on a single evening. For others, it requires having a committed, exclusive relationship over a minimum period of time (highly variable). Some won't call their dating partner a girl/boyfriend unless they have had sex. Others don't care as long as there are feelings. Some need actual love, or at least infatuation, to call it so. That is why, two people who had sex after a party as a one-night stand might calculate differently the numbers of romantic relationships they have had. Some will count it, others won't. It is all a matter of personal perception, or subjective feelings, and, well, defintion.


    Even for supposedly clearer definitions, things are not always simple. Most people think that they can answer unambiguously the question "Are you married ?". But in fact, perceptions and definitions can also mislead us terribly. For some, being married is just a legal matter of having signed a piece of paper or not. For others, marriage can only be accomplished by a priest in front of God, and the administrative paper does not mean anything. Add to this that each country has its own laws regarding marriage, and each religion its own customs and acceptances. That is how too people of different countries and cultures might both claim that they are married, while in the other's eye they are definitely not.

    If two homosexuals married on paper in the Netherlands meet a fundamentalist Christian for whom a a religious marriage is a must, and who comes from a US state where homosexual marriage are illegal, it goes without saying that this American person will not recognise the gay couple as being married. That does not mean they are lying, even if their marriage is not recognised either by law or religion in the place where they are. Should they tell the American guy in question that they are not married, they would not be lying to him their status does not match his own definition of marriage. So whatever they say, they are not lying. It just depends whether they take their own definition, or the other person's definition into account in the process of their communication. Some people naturally take the other person's point of view, while others stubbornly refuse to do so.

    I hope these few examples demonstates well enough how it is so-to-say impossible to really lie about anything subjective.

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    I think it's important first to asses the context of lying, that makes the difference between crime and perjury. To give you a straight answer, I don't think lying is a crime, sometimes can be used to avoid crimes, ave you thought about that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    My point is that "lying" always causes at least an emotional damage, to the same extent to "stealing" or "destroying someone's property" causes a material loss/damage. This is ho I feel about it, although it should be graded from "very benign to very harmful". We could say that there is no need to "prosecute" someone when the harm done is negligible or not worth the lawsuit, like in most cases (as for small thefts), but the reason I would like to see "lying" treated as a crime is for serious cases like "Bush lying about the WMD's in Iraq" or any other serious cases in non-public matters.
    So if my wife asks me if a new outfit she has purchased and is very happy with looks good and I don't think it does, I should tell her the truth????

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    Lying is only a crime is someone is hurt.

    Lying for the best interest is a normal human behaviour.
    If one allways has to tell the truth, society would be in a constant conflict.

    We are all lying when we raise our children.
    "If you aren't nice, you won't get presents from Santa!"

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