“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” – William Shakespeare
Who doesn’t understand the most basic virtue of honesty? It has been taught to seemingly every child growing up in every culture throughout time? In a display of my optimism (or naiveté), I tend to assume that most people WANT to tell the truth. The problem is that life doesn’t seem to encourage or incentivize honesty that much. In JD’s economics influenced world-view, people and their behaviors are heavily influenced by incentive.
Sure, there are family dramas where a child caught with hands in the cookie jar and admits wrongdoing under parental interrogation. There is joy in the house because the child told the truth and gets leniency followed with a big group hug. I’m not sure that is the mainstream experience for the parent-child relationship. I think the lessons of “don’t eat cookies without asking” and “don’t play in the house” stand in higher favor than “tell the truth”. In fact, the reality seems to be that the honesty/truth lesson is really taught as an investigative tool for the parent to get to the truth, in an attempt to hand out punishment for other offenses. Read the rest of this entry