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Truth-Telling. Leadership and Ethics 23 FEB 00 Haick and Niebel. Truth-Telling. Truth-telling, promise-keeping, and trustworthiness are values that are central to the Navy.

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Truth telling


Leadership and Ethics

23 FEB 00

Haick and Niebel

Truth telling1

  • Truth-telling, promise-keeping, and trustworthiness are values that are central to the Navy.

  • …Temptation to lie, say, when immediate circumstances make lying convenient and we think we will be able to “talk ourselves out of trouble” later. But lying can have disastrous and fatal consequences.

Justification to self
Justification to Self

  • Recourses one’s own conscience

  • Those who lie can accommodate conscience easily

  • Not sufficient Publicity

  • Example: the Headhunter

The absolute prohibition of lying
The Absolute Prohibition of Lying

  • St. Augustine

    • God forbids all lies, liars endanger their immortal soul

    • Some lies are worse then others

      • Worst: lies when teaching religion

      • “Best”: lies which keep someone from harm

The absolute prohibition of lying1
The Absolute Prohibition of Lying

  • St. Augustine (continued)

    • “It cannot be denied that they have attained a very high standard of goodness who never lie except to save a man from injury; but in the case of men who have reached this standard, it is not the deceit, but their good intention that is justly praised…”

Three methods to beat st augustine s rules
Three Methods to Beat St. Augustine’s Rules

  • Pardon some lies (Aquinas)

    • Officious-helpful lies

    • Jocose-lies in jest

    • Malicious-told to harm someone

  • “I didn’t lie, you misinterpreted”

    • “Mental Reservation” or “Mental Restraint”

    • Withhold information to deceive

  • Certain Falsehoods aren’t lies (Groitus)

    • Lawyer’s View: if it’s not illegal, then it’s morally acceptable

Our old friend kant
Our Old Friend Kant

  • Strongest arguments against lying

  • Nothing excuses a lie

  • No effort to distinguish among lies

  • A lie is harmful to mankind


  • To defend as right and proper.

  • To hold up a religious, legal, or moral standard.

  • Requires an audience.


  • Justification directed at reasonable people

  • Workable test for looking at concrete moral choices

  • Counters self-deception

Levels of justification
Levels of Justification

  • To self

  • To peers

  • To the general public

Justification to friends
Justification to Friends

  • Can give easily accessible audience.

  • Does not eliminate bias (friends carry shared assumptions).

  • Example: Johnson’s “Wise Men”

Justification to public
Justification to Public

  • Rules out “hand-picking”

  • Requires complete, rational justification

  • Handles more complex issues more thoroughly

  • Ex: Unmarked police cars


  • How would Utilitarian and Kantian philosophies view lying?

The test
The Test

  • Can a lie or practice be defended in the press or on television?

  • Can a lie or practice be justified in advance in classrooms, workshops, or public meetings?

Operation menu
Operation Menu

  • Background

    • North Vietnamese Using Ho Chi Minh Trail

    • “Vietnamization”

    • Procedure Change:

      • Courier Brings Targets

      • False Data into Computers

Operation menu1
Operation Menu

  • The Situation

  • UCMJ

    • Crime to Falsify Document

    • Willfully disobeying punishable by death

  • B-52 Navigators will know position

  • What do you do?

Case study flight jacket
Case Study: Flight Jacket

  • NOMAX flight jackets are issued to aviators for flying duty ONLY. Once a aviator leaves flying duty, he must turn in his NOMAX.

  • NOMAX lasts 3 years.

  • If a NOMAX jacket is lost, the aviator must pay a modest amount to Supply.


  • Use of government resources for private business

  • Private Business during Working Hours

  • Family Emergency=Business Trip

Lost documents
Lost Documents

  • Officer can’t account for classified documents he signed for

  • Believes they’ve been destroyed

  • Asks a close Friend to help forge a destruction record

To fail oneself
To Fail Oneself

  • Questionnaire asks about Marijuana Use

  • Have used it twice in college

  • Could End Career Before it Begins


  • Officer and Enlisted bring back gifts from overseas

  • Easy to smuggle small items

  • Illegal to bring fruit, endangers fruit production

Rights and liberty reading assignment
Rights and LibertyReading Assignment

  • Ethics for Military Leaders

    • Topic 6

      • On Liberty, p. 161

      • The Reflections on the Revolution in France, pp.. 173-178

      • The Tailhook Report, p. 179-190

      • Witch Hunt in the Navy, pp.. 191-192

      • Wide Right, pp.. 193-206

Rights and liberty reading assignment cont
Rights and LibertyReading Assignment (cont.)

  • Ethics and Moral Reasoning for Naval Leaders

    • Tailhook

      • Readings 1-3, 6-8

      • Case Studies

        • Tailhook 91, p. 25/26-87

        • The Stories, pp. 25/26-88 - 25/26-90

      • Fundamentals of Naval Leadership I

        • Discrimination/Sexual Harassment, pp. 4-6 through 4-8