Truth-Telling/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on May 27, 2018

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The media has been replete with discussions on the President and lying. How often does he lie, when does he lie, does he know he is lying, etc. One recent piece divided lies into three disparate categories. Who knew lying was worthy of such analysis?

In the context of civil dialogue such as mediation process, the issue is easily defined. It is respectful to be a person of your word. Say what you mean and mean what you say. During the Camp David discussions between Israel and Egypt, Prime Minister Begin wanted to see a certain clause in the peace agreement. He was advised that it was not necessary as the clause was understood by implication. Mr. Begin, a former lawyer, stated in response: “Woe to the peace agreement that needs to be understood by implication.” Society functions best when people can count on others to take the gift of speech seriously.

It is not always easy to be honest and straightforward, but the alternative is simply unsatisfactory. Sister Teresa stated this all up in one simple phrase: “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” Honesty is an essential ingredient in the road towards Win-Win. To “auto-correct” Benjamin Franklin; Honesty is not the best policy it is the only policy.

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