A noble lie is a religion inclined myth that is propagated with the intent of promoting and maintaining harmony, morality and order and lawfulness in a society. The propaganda that is encompassed in the lie is used to push the society towards acting in a socially acceptable manner. A real-world example of a noble lie is when a leader is trying to harmonious relationships in a statement like, ‘do unto other what you want to be done unto you.’ Such propaganda goes a long way in making people to treat each other well. The lie cannot cause any harm and therefore, is considered safe and worthy due to the accrued value systems. It ties into Socrates’ belief that it is acceptable to deceive people if the objective is to avoid social unrest.
According to Socrates, noble lies are necessary because they help in determining what is right and what is wrong. For example, Socrates believed that a speech could trigger either negative desirable or undesirable activities. Therefore, there is a need to control what is said, especially by those in authority as they are likely to sway the perception of their followers. Consequently, what is said can determine the next course of action of the masses (Bloom, 70). Another historical example was the noble lie perpetrated by Roosevelt during World War Two to the American people by saying that Stalin was a good leader to justify working with him to defeat Hitler, although history has proven this was a lie. I agree with Socrates’ argument that noble lies are necessary for preserving justice especially when the aim is to bring harmony by regulating the freedom and activities of individuals, avoid the compromise of national security, and regulate beliefs ( Bloom, 69).
I agree a noble lie is necessary for preserving justice because it brings about harmony by keeping the actions of members of a society in check. I also believe that these lies not only promote order and lawfulness but also enhance cohesion of a society. For example, the noble lie, ‘You are your brother’s keeper’ reminds individuals to remain concerned about the welfare of their neighbors. As a result, members of a society are compelled to avert actions that may cause harm to other people. The lie also triggers a sense of responsibility in community members. The consequence of the is improved levels of charitability, kindness and generosity.
Whenever a lie achieves what it was intended to do, which is creating harmony to preserve justice through social order, then it is worth the effort. Most of the noble lies need to sound truthful for them to be useful. A lie told at the level of preserving justice is thought to involve every citizen, whereby it brings out an understanding that everybody is equal and deserves the best. People are expected to have a responsibility for one another in a political and social sense. It should, therefore, be seen that what is important is not the lie but whether the lie brings cohesion in society. Socrates argued that a society should be exposed to information that encourages fairness and equality instead of fostering prejudice.
Finally, I agree that a noble lie is necessary in preserving justice since it helps in regulating beliefs. In this case, the argument is that some people value opinions, which can be skewed to favor an agenda. For example, children usually abide by a parent’s perspective on general matters. As a result, a father will be able to convince their son to pursue a sport or a career in the same way Tiger Woods became a golfer due to his father’s influence. An adult might use a noble lie to persuade a youngster to follow a certain path.
Bloom, Allan. The Republic of Plato. Harper Collins Publisher, 1968.