Honesty: Analysis of Current Events

February 12, 2009

Here are three news stories I’ve been thinking about lately.  One is from the 1990’s, while the other two are much more recent.

1) First, listen to the statement Bill Clinton makes in this video.

Bill Clinton was ultimately impeached by the House of Representatives ( and acquitted by the Senate ) for a variety of crimes, one of which was perjury — a crime that seeks to prosecute those who lie in a courtroom due to the very real ability of a lie to impact the outcome of the case.

2) In November, we learned that Barack Obama wanted to have Tom Daschle serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  His first confirmation hearing before the Senate went smoothly, where he was able to say what the questioners wanted to hear — specifics on some of his ideas to reform the U.S. Health Care System with bipartisan collaboration.  Because Obama had a certain view of Daschle ( that he was a completely honest, upbuilding, talented person) that differed from what was really the case ( he failed to pay a significant amount of tax ), he made a decision to consider him as a candidate for Health Secretary.  Unfortunately, Daschle’s character problems might now have a negative impact on President Obama’s image.

3) I would be careless if I didn’t include some comments on baseball here.  In 2007, I was lucky enough to see Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th Major League home run — in person.  I knew it was a special moment from the instant I heard the sound of his bat making contact with the ball.  Unfortunately, that probably wouldn’t have been his 500th home run if he never used steroids.

Finally, in 2009, A-Rod admitted his mistake from the past:

We will never know if it would be his 425th, 443rd, 476th, or some other home run if he was a completely “clean” athlete, which is unfortunate.  Furthermore, since baseball statistics are interdependent on the performance of other athletes in the game, Alex Rodriguez’s problem is everyone’s problem.  The statistics for every pitcher who has faced Rodriguez even one time in their career are slightly muddled — for instance, pitcher ERA’s would be slightly lower if A-Rod made more fly-outs and hit fewer home runs.

What seems really odd to me in all three of these cases is how the individuals in these cases probably didn’t need to lie.  Bill Clinton would still have been able to be the U.S. President if he dealt with his personal problems in a more open way.  The current Governor of New York State, David Paterson, admitted to a sexual affair almost immediately upon taking office.  Because he was open about the affair, it’s practically a non-issue now.  Daschle could have used some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he receives for opening his mouth ( the topic of a future blog post ) to pay for a professional tax consultant so he would have filed a proper return and paid the proper taxes.  A-Rod would likely be a talented baseball player even if he never touched a performance-enhancing substance even once in his career.

Do people tell these kinds of lies because it’s too easy and the risk of getting caught is relatively low?  Is there some mental calculation process that leads people to lie until they are backed into a corner and can’t do so anymore?  I’m sure we’ll see more of these kinds of stories in the news.

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One Response to “Honesty: Analysis of Current Events”

  1. coffee Says:

    it seems to be all about competition, winning at all costs, so it’s hard to blame players that shoot up;

    is their job to be sports stars or is it to “play the game?”


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