Father, I Can Not Tell a Lie; I Cut the Tree

“Lying can never save us from another lie.” Vaclav Havel

Everyone knows those famous words associated with George Washington “Father, I Can Not Tell a Lie; I Cut the Tree”

One lie is seldom where it ends. It’s guaranteed more lies will be needed to explain why the first lie wasn’t a lie.

A manager once gave a promotion to his friend rather than to the best qualified person. This is the same as a lie because in essence he was saying that his friend deserved the promotion more than the other person.

As usually happens with lies, someone questioned this move and so the manager had to defend his actions. Rather than admitting he promoted the wrong person, he told more lies. His next lies were that the other worker wasn’t more qualified, in fact, the other worker was on the verge of disciplinary action. So now, not only did the better worker not get the promotion, but his reputation is ruined in order to justify promoting the friend.

From there it just snowballed. In most instances the manager’s many lies never surface. However, it’s known they were lies and the chances for this manager advancing much higher with this company are very slim.

The lies resulted in ending the career of a promising employee. In the long run, the promising employee will go work elsewhere and will prosper, the friend who was given the job will eventually be let go because he wasn’t qualified for it, and the manager will never get another promotion.

A lie or deceitful action done with ill intentions will always lead to more lies and deceit. They will be required to cover up for the first. In the long run, things usually work themselves out, making the initial lie fruitless.

It’s much simpler, less work, leads to better results and increased happiness simply to tell the truth from the beginning.

It’s also much better to admit you made a mistake than to tell a second lie. We all make mistakes and it will be forgiven. What’s not going to be forgiven is when you cover up a lie with more lies to the point where good people have to take the fall for your actions.

Telling the truth, when faced with stiff punishment for doing so, is the mark of a person of integrity, good character and deserving of respect. It is the mark of a person who can be trusted with unparalleled authority, like leading a new nation.

How many of you have virtue that can withstand the highest bidder?

“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” George Washington

It is unfortunate that there are very few people who can’t be bought. It is simply a matter of human nature. There are things people consider more valuable than their virtue. The bidding price might be very high, but there is a price that people believe will outweigh the loss of virtue.

People manage to find a way to justify doing something against their principles in exchange for position, money, power, sex or any other thing they consider of value. They need to feed their family. It is an emergency and they are in dire need of money. They are doing it to keep the family in the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to. They are not selling their virtue but doing what’s needed. And so on.

The person who can withstand temptation, who would not forsake virtue for the highest bidder, is most likely a poor person. The family of that person lives a simple un-extravagant lifestyle.

The people who would forsake the highest bidder to keep their virtue intact, might be poor, but are very content. They are comfortable with themselves. They can look in the mirror without feeling the need to justify their actions.

They are in the minority though. In a day where basic necessities require more than what a poor person has, no one can afford to be virtuous.

In this day and age, unfortunate as it is, everyone finds it very easy to justify selling their virtue to the highest bidder.

Those of us who are not for sale to any bidder, and we are out there, are a minority. We may not have fancy cars and houses, but we have peace of mind, and that is something you can’t put a price on.