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Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

posted Feb 2, 2015, 5:42 PM by Etaasha Jain

    Many people say that one should always be honest. “Honesty is the best policy,” they say. While it is good to be honest, it is sometimes better to be dishonest.

There are certain times when honesty does no good. For example, in the United States, someone charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. This implies that even if one actually did commit a crime, they should be dishonest and deny the accusations. If the criminal had been honest in this situation, he or she would have immediately been arrested or fined. If someone is letting something get to their head, it is imperative that others do something to bring the person back down to Earth. Sometimes, the only way to do this is to lie a little to make the person realize they have flaws. Even if the flaw is not what is being lied about, it will motivate the person to improve that skill even more.

Some people believe that a lie is not a lie if it helps someone. This is absolutely correct. For example, if one friend did something punishable, the other friend could take the blame and save the guilty friend from being punished. This shows how much one can sacrifice for a friend, and it is good to sacrifice sometimes. Also, if someone has a low self-esteem, it is okay to exaggerate a little bit, not completely lie, just to boost the person’s self-esteem. This will not harm anyone, but it will make the person with a low self-esteem happy and the people who helped him or her will feel good about making someone’s day. Similarly, if a five year old draws something and asks an older person how it looks, it would do no good to tell the child that the drawing does not look good. All that will do is dishearten and discourage the small child. Had the adult said that it is a lovely piece of art, the five year old would have been filled with pride and continued to enjoy drawing so that one day, the older person can honestly say that the child is a great artist.

While honesty is usually the best policy, there are some times when dishonesty works better than honesty. It can boost someone’s self-esteem and also encourage people to keep doing what they love.