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Do You Swear To Tell The Truth?

A Little 'Friendly' Device for the Deceptive Delegate
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I don't know about you all, but I am sick and tired of being lied to and misled whenever I turn on the news. The government (American government anyway...) officials try to soften everything up with their euphemisms and doublespeak. My (least) favorite of the more recent euphemisms being 'friendly fire'. But enough ranting, let's get down to the solution...

I say, upon election to office, have every politician get lie detector bracers locked onto their wrists (and wherever else they hook things for lie detectors). Every time a politician tells a lie, or doesn't tell the whole truth, or even twists his/her words, the device emits a shock based on how severe the non-truth was. This could also be made a beeping noise instead of a shock if you want to spoil all the fun.

However you do it, I know that my mind would be set at ease if only the government were forced to tell the truth instead of patronizing all of us by trying to "protect" us from it. We can handle the truth!

NeverDie, Dec 14 2001


       A machine that forces politicians to tell the truth? What kind of meds are you on? Why destroy a form of government just so the American people can be given the truth?   

       Sadly, I don't agree that most American's could handle the truth about much. I suspect you and most of the people who enter into this forum can, but just look at us. We're actively seeking knowledge (the question is often 'why'!) in this forum and like to contemplate new ideas. Many of the people that I come in contact with day to day are afraid of anything that makes them feel even the least bit uncomfortable. If they hear what they want to hear from their elected officials, then all is well. However, if those officials start saying things that are too 'real' just because it is the truth, these people will come unhinged.   

       I'm sorry to have become such a cynic.
RobGraham, Dec 14 2001

       Don't be sorry, I pride myself on being a cynic (not to mention a procrastinator, agnostic, neurotic, paranoid, etc.) Anyhow, I was thinking as I wrote this that most wouldn't be able to handle it, but why not give it a shot (or a shock as it were). They might get used to it, and it may actually cease the dumbing down of America (now that's idealistic!).
NeverDie, Dec 14 2001

       The thing is, that this is a "wouldn't it be nice if," kind of idea. You don't outline how such a thing would work. Lie detector equipment requires a human to interpret the results.
bristolz, Dec 14 2001

       Well I'm not exactly running off to the patent offices with this or anything, but I'm sure with all the genious minds in programming, a protable interpretation device (maybe one that hooks onto pants like a beeper) could be manufactured...
NeverDie, Dec 14 2001

       Amen to RobGraham. as a double-military-brat whose dad did intel for awhile, despite my liberal orientation i'm firmly of the view that some things it's just not *safe* for us to know. so we shouldn't. nuff said. (that's what we've got a government for... shame they aren't perfect about always telling us what we *should* be told... but that's not to say they should tell us everything as an overcorrection)
Urania, Dec 14 2001

       Proof the government feels the need to dummy the citizens of America: The Electoral College   

       This device, however, may be useful on a significant other or a child who you suspect of wrongdoing.
jimithing, Dec 15 2001

       Unconstitutional. Even politicians have rights...
snarfyguy, Dec 15 2001

       This is something of a rant and a WIBNI. We'd all like a reliable lie detector, but there is no such thing; there's also no clear difference between truth and falsehood. Much lying is accomplished by just not thinking very hard.   

       If such a device could exist, its deployment would lead to a system where a politician's support staff is required to keep the politician properly misinformed and motivated to say the things they want the politician to say without lying relative to what the politician knows. (To a certain degree, I think this is already how things work.)
jutta, Dec 15 2001

       "Much lying is accomplished by just not thinking very hard." Hmmm. That is an interesting point. I hadn't thought about it that way.
bristolz, Dec 15 2001

       If you don't want the truth you should be ashamed. If you don't think anyone else wants the truth you should stop patronising the proletariat. The blinding thing about this idea is....   

       It doesn't have to work as such.   

       Just tell the politicians it works and have someone vaguely cynical administer the electric shocks - presto a truth improvement. I volunteer. Croissant.
notripe, Dec 16 2001

       When Bill Clinton made comments about his private life as part of an unconnected investigation, that lead to his impeachment, his voice was tested with an audio lie detector. The lie detector showed that he was amost definitely telling the truth, with only a small chance of him lying. When the actual news broke it turned out that he was speaking in a deliberately obscure manner so he could say something that he believed in, to protect his privacy.   

       Automatic lie detectors can be beaten and people who seek to judge the truth can be fail to be objective or be influenced by personal or partisan sympathies. We should not forget that controlling the questions that are asked is as important as controlling the replies.
Aristotle, Dec 17 2001

       If you really gots to know then sign up for the CIA or whatever and work your way up the ranks until those secret files are accessible by you.
lubbit, Dec 17 2001

pottedstu, Dec 17 2001

       c.f. Jim Carrey in Liar Liar.
Trite example but illustrative.
lewisgirl, Dec 17 2001

lewisgirl, Dec 17 2001

       What is that saying about the Nile?
beauxeault, Dec 17 2001

       The End Is Nile.
lewisgirl, Dec 17 2001

       No, I meant the one about how it's not just a river in Egypt.   

       My point being one that was originally phrased in a way that was perhaps more contentious than intended, and which has since been replaced by this simple rejoinder that I personally do not adhere to the philosophy that there is no absolute truth.   

       As a result of the rephrasing, the Nile bit no longer makes sense. Sorry.
beauxeault, Dec 17 2001

       Uh oh...
PotatoStew, Dec 17 2001

       Hey, look! What's that over there? <Guy Fox legs it as the unmistakeable sound of a loaded statement being cocked clicks loud over a 1/2B idea. Hey, I'm not proud.>
Guy Fox, Dec 17 2001

       If truth is beauty, and beauty truth then   

       [ ] A. The more diamonds on your watch, the more accurate it is.
[ ] B. Katie Holmes for president!
[ ] C. What's the dark truth about Black Beauty?
[ ] D. I must be a liar <sniff>.
pottedstu, Dec 17 2001

       PotatoStew, Guy Fox, I hope I've "unloaded" the annotation sufficiently to avoid a long debate that we've all been through before anyway.
beauxeault, Dec 17 2001

       <Guy pops head up out of foxhole, smiles at bx's gentlemanly behaviour and crosses the shattered ruins of old battles to shake hands, agreeing to disagree> In the context of this idea, anyway, I'm not sure that whether or not there are such things as absolute truths is really relevant. I don't think there's much chance that NeverDie's fry-a-liar chip would be able to distinguish veracity as a black-and-white yea-or-nay in the grey areas of politics based on self-delusion, obfuscation, partisan 'certainties' and the SNAFU principle as described by Robert Anton Wilson (incompetent subordinates have a vested interest in keeping their bosses from finding out how they've cocked up; by making misinformed decisions the bosses in turn have to cover their asses to their own bosses, and so on up the hierarchy, until the guys at the top are completely unaware of the reality even as they run the whole system into the ground). Pragmatically, even if we accept the idea of absolute truths, a lie-detector can only test for psychophysiological symptoms that match such relative things as stress and certainty (the experiential kind rather than the epistemological kind, that is).
Guy Fox, Dec 18 2001

       <just a thought>I realised last night that South Park Bigger Longer Uncut is a dumbed version of Clockwork Orange. And that in the same way as the publishers removed the last chapter for the edition of C.O. published in the US, the film sorts out the ending by having a dose of magic instead of something more interesting. </just a thought>
lewisgirl, Dec 18 2001

       Funny enough, I was thinking of South Park's V-Chip as regards this idea just the other day.   

       Re //dumbed version of Clockwork Orange// - Mebbe, but South Park has better music. :-)
Guy Fox, Dec 18 2001

       The Choral Symphony vs "I'm super, thanks for asking"
is not a contest I wish to allow my fragile little psyche to entertain for more than a semiquaver.
lewisgirl, Dec 18 2001

       "there's also no clear difference between truth and falsehood. Much lying is accomplished by just not thinking very hard." --jutta

Do not concur.

All lying is the deliberate intent to deceive. In other words, lying isn't the result of absentmindedness or sloth, but a conscious effort to misguide the audience for malicious gain. There is a clear difference between truth and falsehood...it's just getting to it that's the difficult issue and what makes this idea a WIBNI. For, I KNOW when I'm telling the truth, but I cannot say--with absolutely certainty--the same for anyone else.
iuvare, Dec 20 2001

       NeverDie, theoretically your idea wouldn't work because politicians lie so much they believe what spews from their pork traps if they repeat it often enough. Is a lie a lie when you believe it to be true?
Hoodunnit, Dec 21 2001

       Hello, Hood. Welcome to the halfbakery.   

       I saw a news story last week about a lie-detecting technique using brain scans that is purported to be "foolproof." Of course, even if it really is foolproof it would still only apply to statements that the liar knows to be untrue.
beauxeault, Dec 21 2001

       The definition of a lie is a deliberate falsehood said with the intention to deceive. However, much of what politicians say is true, yet intended to deceive (e.g. statistics, answering a different question to the one asked, focussing on the good and ignoring the bad).
pottedstu, Dec 21 2001


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