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home : opinions : opinions February 5, 2016

6/19/2013 6:00:00 AM
COLUMN: Who can you trust?
Bob Weete

"I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you," Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying.

And this is one of the major causes of problems in today's world. Knowing who you can trust. It seems obvious, at least in my personal experience, that so many people in today's world simply are not disciplined enough in their lives to realize just how damaging a seemingly a "small lie" can be.

"It was just a little, old white lie," we might say. Or, "I was just kidding." Or, we can actually admit that we told a story and then say, "Sorry," and we feel we are vindicated. Not necessarily true.

The person who lies - whatever the motivation - loses because if he gets away with it, then the next situation he gets into, he will find it easier to slip in another lie, and a disastrous habit has formed. Anything to cover one's rear.

When one is found to be a frequent liar, he has destroyed all respect from those around him, and he has become one who cannot be relied on, one who cannot be depended on.

As for the person who has been lied to, there is also a major negative effect which is not pleasant. He knows that person to be a person whose honesty and integrity is flawed. Though he may wish to trust him, he knows there is a good chance that he should not.

If this person is challenged, he will try to convince his victim that he is telling the truth. Maybe this time he is, indeed, telling the truth. But he has lost the trust the other person might have had. This is not just a contemporary problem. Even Sophocles, in ancient Greece, knew about the destructive nature of dishonesty. He said, "Trust dies but mistrust blossoms."

As we have seen recently, honesty is not as common as it used to be, and many individuals in "high places" frequently set a pretty poor example for others to follow. That is bad enough as it is, but a strange thing is occurring these days, in that some of the people are people in powerful places and another poor example occurs as many of them have violated laws in their dishonesty and they don't seem to be getting the same consequences as others.

It would appear that the current code of ethics for some reason or other does not apply to people in "powerful" positions. In a country that used to pride itself on its laws, ethical standards, and moral values, we have sullied our reputation with deceit.

Many of our leaders - at the national level as well as in our own little town of Blythe - have used our innocence, which they classify as stupidity, to take advantage of us for their own purposes. "The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool" Stephen King has noted.

The "scandals" of current days, are just examples of what happens when we "innocents" become trusting of people who have not earned our trust. And when they are busted in their lies, they frequently, as Sophocles said, cover up with more lies, and the result is that we don't trust them anymore. And we really need to be able to trust our leaders, great and small.

We hear the polls about America's lack of trust in Congress, the President, corporations, educational system, and local leaders. Is there any surprise here? Anybody remember the old saying, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time"? Now, just substitute the word "trust" where "fool" goes. We can't be so complacent anymore.

Freedom in America no longer includes the feeling of trust, sadly. We have grown so used to trusting that it is now imperative that we realize that is a luxury long gone. We must, of necessity, not swallow all the stuff that comes our way.

I was raised to trust adults, to trust doctors, teachers, policemen, and, in general, all leaders. When raising my own children I found it difficult because I had to modify that, making their lives less stable, because the trust has not been earned. And the ones we really need to watch closely are those who say, "Trust me" Why? Just because they say so? No way. Not anymore.

So who do our kids have as role models? Lohan? Sheen? Our President? Congressmen? Attorney General? The IRS? Our parents, even?

Our kids go to school to learn about life and how to have a good one. We've found locally, even, that we can't trust all of them totally. What skills can we give them to learn to be more successful in judging character? That isn't in the Core Standards, I can tell you.

Finally, ACLU and the government have managed to destroy trust in God. So is there any surprise when our kids go astray? "Not my fault," is the common answer. So who is to blame? Somebody has to step up to the plate.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Article comment by: @ Pedro

Just wondering... are you aware that the grand total reporters on the staff at the Times is two(2)? I agree that the situation you mentioned might well have appeared in the paper, but they are interested in getting "tips" to alert them to other things going on in town. Contact the paper, and help us to include events like this. If it was reported to the police department, however, I have a feeling the police would not pass it on. Personally, I have been hearing quite a lot of trash about the person you refer to.

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Article comment by: just me

Pedro,A lot of pd reports are not sent to pvvt.if you notice suspects are arrested and then the pvvt.gets information from the pd..I reported a person in my back yard pvvt didn't get information dang it.... I didn't get my name in the news...Is that what you are looking...

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

The best thing to do is take everything with a grain of salt. Do not jump in with both feet. I have a natural distrust of all people and things, until they prove me wrong. So is it wrong or counter productive? Just like this other fake pica buyas here. Trying to emulate me. Should I be flattered or scared. Only time will tell.

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Article comment by: Trust Yourself

First, don't trust columnist who blames the worlds ills on the government or the lack of "god" in society, his "god". Don't listen to those who tell you your a victim because of your government or godless society. They are playing your emotions to their benefit or agenda.
Teach your children trust is something to be earned, not freely given. Teach them to respect elders, teachers and authorities, but trust is different. Also teach them the world isn't fair but they are dam lucky to be in this great country that still has so much to offer those who are willing to work for it because they are FREE and equal in the eyes of the law. That is something most in this world don't get simply because they were born on the wrong side of some border. You will be victimized in this life but everyday you get to make a choice to be something other than a victim. This is a great country. Stop crying about all it's flaws on move forward already. And if you can't find a future in Blythe, good news, it's a big country and you free to make a better future for yourself all over this great land. Opportunity is out there, it's up to you to chase it.

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Article comment by: pedro curevo

you certainly cant trust the PVVT, to always reoport the truth, The editor seems to pick an choose his battles. It seems the Director of Maintenacne operations. has recently made verbal threats of bodily harm , to a union member. A complanit was filed with BPD. yet the paper gave no coverage of this. If a middle school student would do this ,he or she could expect as least 3 day suspenison

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

A very nice collumn senior Wetteee, Aribah!

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Article comment by: Our President Obama

Who has not lied us to WAR for OIL Profits!

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