Social Question

Jeruba's avatar

"If you tell the truth, you have nothing to fear": do you believe this?

Asked by Jeruba (50620points) May 30th, 2016

Related cliches and stock movie dialogue, often cueing uh-oh music:

“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
“If you’re innocent, you have nothing to fear.”

Do you think these assurances are true? Have they ever been true? Would you ever trust them?

Or do you think there’s always something to fear?

Tags, as I wrote them: truth, consequences, fear, trust, testimony, guilt, innocence.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

Response moderated
Seek's avatar

Six million Jewish people and ~20 million others thought their innocence would protect them from the Nazis.

Didn’t work for them.

anniereborn's avatar

Nope don’t believe it one bit.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Edit… Because I told the truth to my doctor I was put on unneeded and unwanted medication.
Flagged my first quip.

ibstubro's avatar

My first reaction to the question was the same as @Seek. Innocence didn’t protect the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Probably the only thing more likely than the government to require you to lie is the church.

cookieman's avatar

Not on your life or, more to the point, mine.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’ve lived long enough to know that there are people in authority who not only can’t handle the truth, but are not interested in the greater good and will throw anyone under a bus in a millisecond to serve their own agenda. I would lie to that person without a second thought if I suspected that by not doing so would bring me unnecessary, unwarranted harm or the least discomfort. They deserve to be lied to.

This definitely goes for our justice system as well. I’m not wealthy and I can’t buy a proper defense if wrongly accused of a major crime. I have no faith in this system to find me not guilty based solely upon it’s rules—which are good, but erratically applied.

kritiper's avatar

These things might and should be true in a court of law but not necessarily out here in the real, common, social world. Out here, most people are assumed to be guilty until proven innocent, so in my opinion, “honesty is always the best policy but some things are better left unsaid.” Of course , this is a general statement and may not apply in all instances.

JLeslie's avatar

Sometimes it’s true, but not always. It really depends on the context.

“If you tell the truth you have nothing to fear.” Children usually would do best to feel secure in the fact that they have nothing to fear regarding telling the truth to their parents. If we take out crappy, abusive, parents, and assume we are dealing with loving, reasonable, parents, still kids twist themselves in knots worrying about things like their parents will be angry, when really all the parents want is to be able to help.

However, children absolutely should lie to strangers for safety reasons.

As far as adults, it’s way too complicated. Usually, it’s best to be truthful, but lying is sometimes justified.

“If you’re innocent you have nothing to fear.” Tell that to the people on death row who didn’t do it.

“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” I think that’s fairly true.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Do NOT tell the truth if you fear downvotes.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would suggest that it totally depends of who is saying that. I never punish my children or grandchildren for telling me the truth. I do find other consequences depending of the issue.

kritiper's avatar

I must agree with @JLeslie
“It really depends on the context.”
Teach children that all strangers. without exception, are criminals, pedophiles, and perverts.
”...lying is sometimes justified.” If you can’t say something nice or truthful, don’t say anything at all. Once one starts lying, it becomes easy, then habit.
All people on death row are innocent.
If you’re full of shit, you have plenty to fear.
I think that’s fairly true.

cazzie's avatar

Teach children all strangers are WHAT? That is a big bucket of NOPE.
But I agree with what Espritus Corvis wrote.

YARNLADY's avatar

@kritiper Your answer is a simplified version of that we all have to face. In our lives, each person will present according to their own interest. That is the only thing we need to know.

Blackberry's avatar

Definitely. I hate feeling guilt or not completely free. Someone once told me I was “too honest for the world” like there’s all kinds of ways to interpret that lol.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

No. Other things could still instill fear in you even if you’re as innocent as a white paper.

Telling the truth is good to eliminate the present fear of something consequential, if the recipient accept your truth and doesn’t deliver negative response then telling the truth is the plausible choice. If not not telling the truth just because it’s more beneficial to do so then it’s also a plausible choice but the fear of what you’re hiding will be discovered will still linger but so long as the cost is lower than result of telling truth then it’s always more effective.

flutherother's avatar

If you tell the truth you don’t have to fear being found out but in some circumstances telling the truth might get you killed.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Not even slightly. The only time a person has nothing to fear is when they are doing precisely what the most powerful party in their life wants them to do.

Julian Assange told the truth, and look where that got him.

Roofers's avatar

Not applicable at all times.

cazzie's avatar

I’ve discovered that people will always twist what you say to their advantage regardless. Best not to say anything at all.

Pachy's avatar

‘Fraid not. I think there are many things to legitimately fear including random gun violence, terrorism, natural disasters (and poor human response to them), injury and disease, and political demagogues like Donald Trump.

marinelife's avatar

In today’s world, no I do not think they apply. I have seen police officers, detectives and prosecutors rush to judgment, wrongly, too many times.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blackberry I’ve been told similar. A boss once told me, “don’t be so quick to tell someone you made a mistake.”

Setanta's avatar

For the guy’s out there . . . has you wife, girlfriend or even your sister ever asked you if her butt is too big? Did you tell the truth? If yes, how long were you in the emergency room?

Setanta's avatar

“Honey, does this dress make my ass look big?”

“No, Sugar Pie, your big ass makes you ass look big.”


kritiper's avatar

@Blackberry I was recently told that I was too honest. So I had to wonder: Just how honest is honest enough??

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