Try doing online search related to “lies” or “world of lies” and you will be surprised by the number of hits you are directed to. We live and float in worlds of deception. “Lies” seem to become so common-place that we are not surprised when the deceptions around us are uncovered. Truth, it seems, does not make us free as we are fearful of the consequences.
Recent developments in the UK’s public square and in our political system bring to the fore – questions about truth and truth-bearers. The Iraq War Inquiry, the case of the torture of a British subject and our government’s complicity, the corrupt financial practices of some of our politicians, the case of huge kickbacks for arms contract, all highlight the web of lies and deception which we have been subjected to by public servants and corporate functionaries. Indeed, the cynics among us may wish to give up on any sense of fairness, justice, fair-play and good old propriety. Redemption, however, may be located in the fact that an inquiry is going on, some politicians are before the Courts and it is through a sense of justice that our government’s complicity in the torture of one of its own citizen has been revealed.
It seems as if we do not need a war to “make truth the first casualty”. Wanting to stay in power, greed and the art of deception are just as good enough reasons to nail truth to the stake. From current evidence one is reasonably led to deduce a pattern for most governments: when confronted with specific claims of injustice – their tendency is respond with generic denials drowning the real issue in polemics and deflections. In the case of the charge related to torture, forget the legality for a moment and concentrate on the ethical issue: how can the UK government confront the abuse of human rights around the world, if its own hands are bloody? With what integrity can we speak?
In our postmodern world, when facts and situations are manipulated by the powerful for their benefit and as means towards their own selfish ends, then it becomes challenging and difficult to rehabilitate confidence in integrity, justice and the systems we have in place to ensure law and order and the building of the common good.
As we follow parliamentary debates, watch the proceedings of the Iraq War Inquiry, and listen to bankers and “corpo-crats” defend their patches – we can sense and locate the lies. Sometimes, I try imagining what it would be like if we are all wired up to a set of traffic lights, where green will signal I am telling what I honestly believe to be the truth (though it may only be my perception of truth); where yellow will point to some truth but that which I am not wholly sincere about; and where red means that what I am saying is blatant lie and that people should read the opposite as truth. Others may suggest that a lie detector may also serve the purpose!
With the upcoming elections in the UK and the promises, arguments and counter arguments bombarding the public, this may not be a bad idea. I am already imagining how the traffic lights will be flitting back and forth from red to yellow, with few rare moments of green coming to our rescue!
© copyright jagessar February 14, 2010