There’s a sort of Maimonides Ladder of telling the truth.
- The highest level above which there can be no higher, at least not for us mortal humans, is telling the truth as you see it and that is supported by an overwhelming preponderance of both empirical and logical evidence for it, whether it helps you, helps others, supports your views, or not.
- The next level of truth-telling is saying what you believe to be the truth and that has some empirical and logical evidence.
- The next level is making claims for which there isn’t much empirical or logical evidence but you find so compelling they just have to be true.
- The next level is only telling the truth when it benefits you or supports your position.
- Below that is saying things you know to be untrue in a good cause.
- Then telling untruths to benefit yourself.
- The lowest level is lying for the sake of lying.
As a society I think we’re stuck between #3 and #4.