He didnt Lie - he Manipulated and Tricked

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I've heard the word "Lied" a lot recently. I wonder if the words "Manipulated" and "Tricked" are more powerful?

First, people judge whether you "lied" not by your intent, but by the literal meaning of your words. That's a dumb way to judge, but like it or not, that's how people judge when you use the word "lie." But if you ask whether somebody "manipulated" and "tricked," people judge that based on intent.

  • Did the Republican party lie when they renamed the estate tax to the death tax? No, that's not a lie, technically...
  • When they renamed the "estate tax" to the "death tax," were they trying to manipulate people? Obviously. Were they trying to trick people into believing the tax applied to everyone who dies, were they trying to trick people into believing a falsehood? Obviously.

So these are charges we can apply even when somebody has carefully parsed their words.

Second, I think these words may actually be more grating than "lie." Who wants to be lied to? Nobody. But the word "manipulated" implies that somebody did more than just lie to you. They were trying to control your behavior. That's repulsive.


Here's the definition of "to lie" from The American Heritage Dictionary: "1. To present false information with the intention of deceiving. 2. To convey a false image or impression."

Intent is crucial to determining if something is a lie. If a schizophrenic person says he's the Archbishop of Canterbury and believes it, it's not a lie -- it's just false.

-- fbb -- July 26, 2004 -- 7:23 PM

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