The art of telling the truth is a foundation of human life that can break a relationship with others or make it even stronger . Several theories have attempted to examine what truth is and whether it is sometimes better to tell lies in order to preserve the relationship with other people (Medina & Wood 19). Aristotle is among the great theorists of truth. In his Correspondence Theory of Truth, he argued that telling things the way they are is truth and telling things the way they are not is false. Yet, this presents a dilemma, because sometimes truth can be more harmful than lies. Truth is most of the time construed in communication in conspiracy theories to serve the ends of an interested group. As it was argued by Kieran (34), “as with truth-telling and promise-keeping in everyday life, we naturally accept that under certain circumstances lying may be permissible and, less frequently, a moral duty”. The main objective of this paper is to discuss Kieran’s assertion that certain circumstances call for distorting truth to avoid harm that can be caused by it.
The contemporary society is awash with conspirators, who can turn truthful information into lies in order to serve their heinous interests. If the information holder knows well that certain truthful information is likely to cause more harm to the public than good, it is justifiable to distort such information or simply tell lies in order to protect the public from an imminent harm that can be caused by truth (Nietzsche 12). An example is the case that involved American invasion of Iraq in 2003 under the pretext of possession of weapons of mass destruction. Several conspiracy theories were provided by administration in Washington to justify attacking Iraq. However, if truth was recovered to the public, the US administration would not have gotten any support from American people. Evidently, the government of the US was desperate to remove Saddam from power and benefit from the oil in Iraq. Discovering truth of this war was not favorable to its initiators because they knew that telling the truth would not have supported their agenda in the US and in the international community. Moreover, they felt no moral obligation to tell the truth to the public, because their agenda was well cut out and nothing could stop it.
In many cases, truth can lead to prosecution of an individual or individuals or even cause war in a society that has hitherto lived in peace. The existence of truth cannot be hidden from a few people in society. However, a mass consumption of truth is what can sometimes cause quarrels within a group of people that were vilified or persecuted. Of course, lies cannot become truth; however, in many instances, it can help to bind a group of people together and stop wrangles, which may appear as a result of telling the truth (Williams 25). Sometimes, lies can foster cohesion more than telling the truth,. However, some theories such as that advanced by Aristotle maintain that telling lies does not have any positive impact on the society, because in the long run, truth will be known, and people will react accordingly. Moreover, it is also argued by Cahoone (13) that telling lies in the media only helps to serve the interests of particular people besides postponing the consequences that would have followed. Media personalities who withhold truth are likely to be prosecuted in the future, when truth will finally come out.