Is honesty for suckers?

Honesty and the lies we tell. Is honesty for suckers? That was the title of a September 2015 discussion in The New York Times' "Room for Debate," an online feature of its Opinion Pages. In one of the piecesWilliam Damon and Anne Colby, Stanford professors and authors of The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice, made a pretty interesting argument: "The first rule of cultivating honesty is to believe in truthfulness; the second is to practice it until it becomes habitual; the third is to resist life's frequent temptations to gain advantage through deception." The truth is, everybody lies. In oral interviews, a final hurdle in the Granite Mountain Hotshots' hiring process, the crew's superintendent, Eric Marsh, asked job candidates, "When was the last time you told a lie?" (My husband said this should be a question for presidential candidates during debates – and I agree!) Some came clean about past crimes and addictions. Billy Warneke, a Marine Corps veteran vying for a spot, confessed to telling his wife he'd washed the breakfast dishes when he'd spent the morning playing video games instead. The crew's captain, Jesse Steed, used to to say that if a candidate could live up to a stupid lie, he could be trusted.  Trust was crucial to the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The culture of loyalty they'd built depended upon it. They knew they were only as strong as their weakest link.

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