Gaslighting, or lying, has been discussed in this blog before. As most of us were taught when we were young, it is wrong to say something that is known to be untrue. In some cultures, there are grey areas and lying is excusable. There are white lies and other protective or face saving lies (of course you don’t look like a nerd in those white socks and …are those crocks?!?!?!). In some cultures, it is not considered lying to tell a person with a more senior title an untruth. In fact, it would be considered rude to tell them the truth (nope, no way boss, simply not enough hours in the day to get this project done). It is a most exasperating experience when first encountered and creates a frustrating environment of doubt. It demands a plurality of confirmations to ensure a task will be achieved. It is a model of inefficiency.
Some people say you get used to it. I hope not.
When dealing with a business or a person representing a business, lies are not considered acceptable. Great lengths are extended to ensure both sides of the engagement understand what is expected. In other words, to prevent one side from lying to CYA. That is a bit harsh, but in reality, it’s true. There are other reasons as well, but communication is about holding people accountable.
In our current environment, public figures spout lies all the time. Social medial allows lies to be published without fear of reprisal. I can be called anything by anybody and unless I have the money to sue them for their libelous posts, I have to tolerate it. I can get into a word war and engage in what was once referred to as he said she said, but would probable now be referred to as simply a pronoun soup war. Reputations can be trashed on social media, even if you don’t have an account. A person can read this blog post and trash me on social media and I would never know. They could post blatant lies about me or the information contained in blog posts, and I would never know.
The only person who would care is me, since my reputation is damaged. Some of you may say why do you care what someone, who I don’t even know, or probably care to know, says about me. Well, I don’t, but since I deal with other people, and other businesses, I have to care. This is part of our problem. We are afraid to speak up and voice opinions or express observations for fear of retribution. This retaliation is not fact based but can contain things that are untrue and damaging to a person’s integrity and beliefs. It can extend beyond the person and include family, friends, and business connections.
It is one thing to attack a person, but quite another to attack family and livelihood.
As I have mentioned, the fourth estate, once upon a time, helped keep public figures, including elected and appointed officials, from abjectly lying. Since they are no longer up to the task, it seems to be getting worse and anyone daring to call out a public figure for lying is protecting their cause or is simply a racist, misogynist or some other derogatory term. Lying has become acceptable, if it is done on the correct side of the argument. This is extremely damaging to society.
When a Supreme Court Justice engages in lying, it proves the problem is systemic.