Professor Dobkowski’s article, “The struggle between truth telling and lying,” presents a deeply flawed understanding of human nature. Citing presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s “possible half-truths” and “exaggerations” about a West Point scholarship and violent tendencies in his youth, Dobkowski claims the media’s reaction to the controversy stems from a recognition that we are all—like Carson—liars.
I am not voting for Carson, but I will defend him. The verbal offer of a “scholarship” to West Point that Carson experienced reflects the same language recruiters used with me when I applied for an appointment in the mid-1970s. And, Carson’s struggle with anger in his youth reflects common sense: What teen reared without a father wouldn’t have anger issues?
Not content simply to impugn Carson’s character by repeating uncorroborated accusations, Dobkowski insists that “most of us are ordinary and habitual deceivers” and “our true nature” is a “propensity to embellish, even lie.” To say none of us is perfectly honest is not proof that dishonesty is our natural inclination. After all, none of us is perfectly healthy but that hardly means we are all sick people. Our nature is to seek truth, health and happiness and to avoid lies, illness and misery.