Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically – for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist – but then what isn’t? Morality, even when it is purely humanistic – devoid of all mystical and religious influences – leads ultimately to death. We must give all that we have and all that we are. A moralist, for instance, must always tell the truth; a well-mannered person could hardly survive a single day without telling a few lies and without allowing a good many more to pass unchallenged.
Photo: Alexander Kirkland and Norma Shearer in Strange Interlude (1932)