A small lie, if it actually is a lie, condemns a man as much as a big and black falsehood. If a man will deliberately cheat to the amount of a single cent, give him an opportunity and he would cheat to any amount.
You'd think after decades as a lawyer that people who lie would no longer faze me. To the contrary, I continue to be nonplussed by the people I occasionally encounter who lie as a matter of course. They'll lie about anything and everything, to the extent that I'm convinced that they wouldn't understand the concept of the truth if it ran up and bit them in the backside.
I recall sitting in one the most exclusive private clubs in Dallas in the late 1980s, while the man across the table from me, the Chairman and CEO of a savings and loan that I had recently "fired" as a client of the large law form that I was then a shareholder amd director of, leaned over the table, looked me square in the eye, and declared, "Kevin, we are NOT crooks!" Within a year, he, and other senior officers of his institution, were either convicted of, or pled guilty to, bank fraud, and were sentenced to serve real time in a federal penitentiary. Yet, as we exited the club, the senior partner of the law firm who accompanied me to that meeting, told me that while he wasn't going to countermand my withdrawal from representing the client (a hard fact, since I was the only attorney at that time with the skill set to perform the work), he wanted me to understand the difficulty he and others at the firm had with my decision because of the loss of revenue to the firm.
Recently, I've run into a senior bank officer who lies often, yet poorly. She blames others for acts or omissions that are patently false and easily proved to be false. Yet, she is protected by her superior because she "gets the job done." Not quickly or well, and usually with much more personal animosity than would be the case if she simply attempted to refrain from lying. However, that, apparently, is not a concern to her boss, who believes that truthfulness takes a back seat to "bidness."
It makes no sense from a practical standpoint to rely on a liar to do anything. How would you know that it's being done at all, much less correctly? You'll never get the straight story. It makes no sense to me to tolerate lying, regardless of the moral failure, which is substantial.
Even more mystifying to me is how the mind of the liar operates. I've had people even lie to me about things that are so easily exposed as lies (such as whether or not they read my blog) that I must assume that lying must be compulsive with them. They simply cannot help themselves.
How in the world do they live with themselves? Is it by reason of the "compartmentalization" that I recently discussed? Do they lie to themselves so repeatedly and so well that they are incapable of distinguishing truth from lie? Are they sociopathic or amoral?
Whatever the reason, I fully recognize and accept the inescapable fact that some people lie, and that some people lie repeatedly. Nevertheless, I will never understand how such people can sleep at night, or why other people can not only tolerate, but in some cases, actively defend such dishonesty.