A Lie vs. the Truth

The expression, “A lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has its boots own,” has been attributed to Mark Twain, Sir Winston Churchill, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon but the quote originates with Jonathan Swift who wrote (in 1710) “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.”

Amazing how some truths can span a few centuries. 

And modern lies can get entrenched before a person can say, “Wait!”

I was reminded once again today how some people–groups, interested parties–can lie without hesitation because it advances their cause or interests. It doesn’t matter that there is no evidence, they have a mission. It doesn’t matter if that mission is morally or ethically wrong because they have a goal–an end game that they believe and feel is morally right. 

What an era we live in. I used to teach speech in high school and at a small college as a T.A., and I would explain to students that in the age of Aristotle, the Greeks favored logical arguments (logos) and the credibility of the speaker (ethos) over emotional arguments (pathos). Today, sadly, quite the opposite is true–most people react and respond to emotional arguments over facts.

The credibility (ethos) of a speaker can be suspect and yet his or her audience will believe the speaker because he or she will say the very thing the audience wants to hear. 

Unfortunately, Jonathan Swift’s observation is just as relevant today as it was in 1710–probably more so. 

 

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