“In some of these cases, when caught and exposed, the liars will hedge by claiming temporary amnesia….sometimes they admit they lied but suggest they did so for higher purposes like national security.”
(Victor Davis Hanson, The Ignoble Lie) In a controversial passage in Plato’s Republic, Socrates introduced the idea of the “noble lie” (“gennaios pseudos”).
A majestic fiction, he says, could sometimes serve society by persuading uninformed citizens of something good for them.
Ever since, many prevaricators have used the excuse that they lied for the common good.
Take Dr. Anthony Fauci, our point man on the COVID-19 epidemic.
Fauci said he misled the country about mask-wearing during the pandemic by claiming they were of little use. But he argued that he lied in order that the public not make a run on masks, deplete the supply, and thus rob medical professionals of protective equipment.
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