Some more notes on the necessity of deception
June is confronted with Chloe’s bar lies, meant to amuse her with audacious idiocies & to get her free drinks. Yet again, comedy shows its rampant immorality. June is so honest, she is shocked at the immorality, but so friendly that she feels compelled to help Chloe when she’s caught lying. She cannot see a problem there.
June is so honest, she cannot tell what an accomplished liar her mother is. & she is flattered to believe she is descended from honest Abe. She is not ashamed to be a Democrat, though. The problem with honesty is, it can create a reputation for honesty. How to deal with people’s secrets then? What if telling someone the truth drives them crazy? – Such is morality that when she learns her mother is an accomplished, practicing liar, she breaks down & starts lying herself. Do the origins of many such principles bear such close examination? But her heart is not in it – she would rather that honesty wins. Whatever small concession Chloe will make will suffice…
Chloe not only tells lies for drinks or fun – she also tells lies for the money. She rents James’s apartment when he is out of town. He does not know. Renters do not know that. Yet this has never been a problem, because Chloe is at least as accomplished a liar as June’s mother. Unlike her, she is no mother. One day June finds out about the lie, which burns her conscience. Chloe naturally attempts to appeal to June’s interest, that is to say, to corrupt her, or enlighten her, if you prefer. This fails miserably.
June’s stand on principle costs her nothing. It does manage to destroy James’s performance on Dancing with the stars, though. Unrepentant in her honesty, she then torments him with news of his failure, threatening the destruction of his career.
Chloe cannot go any farther than lying to strangers as opposed to friends. This is a useful, widespread opinion about justice: Doing good to friends, evil to enemies. June wants everyone to tell the truth. No more lies. No wonder she destroys these people’s careers! She might need reassuring that everything will be alright…
The lie on which her pride in her honesty was built is worth considering. Honest Abe is a story – Lincoln was a great orator & statesman. The problem is serious: Does honesty ever succeed in politics? What if someone thinks it was funny to suggest that Lincoln’s honesty about slavery caused the Civil War? – June thinks she can hold on to the principle of honesty without the story: What if the principle is itself a story? What is the worth of honesty if it is not useful, practical?