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Sarah Kelzer 2115 Walnut St.

Cedar Falls, IA 50613 563-513-8771 Capstone, Spring 2014 April 1, 2014 Weekly Reflection Questions #10 1A. What is the meaning of the title, Lies for the Public Good? If its a lie for the public good, is the lie OK then? The meaning of the title Lies for the Public Good is because the chapter is about whether there is such a thing. According to Bok, it is not right to lie to the public by justifying that it is for the publics safety and/or interests. Bok believes that political realities and the information connected should be openly debated and publicly chosen. Otherwise government leaders will have free rein to manipulate and distort the facts and thus escape accountability to the public, p.170. In this sense, it is not OK to lie even if in the short term you think you are doing a public service. Bok makes a very good point as to why this is so: much deceit for private gain masquerades as being in the public interest. We know deception, even for the most unselfish motive, corrupts and spreads. And we have lived through the consequences of lies told for what were believed to be noble purposes, p.169. 1B. If you were to give a presentation to your peers at UNI, what would you want to include? Include Boks main points that help you understand why governments lie, keep secrets, and deceive at times as well as arguments against doing so. Again: Be sure NOT to confuse her view from her discussion of views commonly held by public officials. When reading Bok, the part that most stood out to me was when she was tearing down a common excuse for officials to use the excuse that they lied for the public good. Bok stated that equally unpersuasive is the argument that there always has been government deception, and always will be, and that efforts to draw lines and set standards are therefore useless annoyances, p.169. Government officials will often think that lying is the only way of attaining their desired results and also believe that lying is required to succeed in the face of powerful obstacles, p.169. They believe that their lies are excusable under certain situations. For instance, public officials believe that white lies are unavoidable. The problem with white lies is that they can be hard to stop once they start and can soon become out of control. Bok mentions that private lives are also a situation in which officials can run into a moral grey area. She suggests that refusing to give information under certain circumstances is justifiable but the right to withhold information is not the right to lie about it, p.176. Bok also says that officials lie to the public when they believe that telling the truth at a particular time would be believed to do more harm than good. Bok believes when the truth is later revealed, it will destroy the publics trust in their government. In these situations, do not answer until you have all of your facts straight. Yet another public lie takes place when the government believes the public to be too frightened. In this event, withholding information can sometimes be justified, but this is a rare circumstance. In short, Bok says that lies undermine our political system. 1C. What did you find most useful or unique about her views? I found it useful that Bok chose to list out each lie that public officials use in the name of the public good. By giving examples and explaining each, it gave little room for questioning. 1D. Would you revise or add (if anything)? No, Bok is very convincing and does not leave much room for argument. I think she did a great job presenting her argument and listed out every possible situation that I can think of. 1E. What 2 questions do you have on Boks views/article? 1. When discussing officials private lies, Bok says that refusing to give information under these circumstances is justifiable, p.176. Do you think refusal to answer a direct question weakens public trust of their officials? 2. Bok says that the line between lies and white lies is hard to draw and can lead to more and more white lies. To play it safe, would it be best to just not give white lies at all? Does this seem like a possible or realistic solution?

2A. What is your reaction to the readings on government tests? Did you know that the U.S. Government has the legal right to experiment on you without you knowing it? is the very first sentence in the Minorities and the Poor Used as American Guinea Pigs by Adrienne Thomas was the most unnerving piece of information that I read. Until now, I was not aware of this and it came as a shock. What is even worse is all of the experiments that were listed and described over the past century. 2B. Can you understand why/how they might have been justified? What would Bok say about how these tests might have been justified? I don't understand how any of these experiments/ tests were justified. There are so many official experiments that have taken place that I cant believe they still continue. Bok would disapprove of this, as she has repeatedly said that lying to the public decreases overall trust in the government. 2C. Would these tests be OK if government asked for their consent (or that of their guardians, if they are children? If the government asked each individual for consent it would be OK. But ONLY if the participants are fully aware of what will be done to them and what they will be asked to do. In the communication field, we are asked to frequently conduct qualitative and quantitative research and it is drilled into our heads how important it is to have full participant consent.