Thursday, May 18, 2006

There is another species of lying, perhaps more iniquitous still, more disastrous in its consequences upon both the one who lies and upon the community, upon Humanity, than any other species of lying known. And the kind of lying, I now allude to, is never mentioned under that name. It is called sometimes caution, circumspection; generally, prudence. The man who is guilty of it is rarely censured. lie enjoys the confidence of his fellow-men, and may be counted one of the most respectable members of the community. His word is always taken, and the slightest hint from him would prevent all the respectable portion of the community from coming into a Hall like this, to hear such notions of morality as I am in the habit of dealing out. I have reference now to your sleek man of the world, who acquiesces in public opinion, never violates the general sense of the decorous, and who is never known to advance a new, a singular, or an unpopular opinion; who keeps his own thoughts to himself, and never ventures to question those of others. He is constant at the most popular church in the city; he pays a large pew-tax; is very intimate with his minister, with whom he always agrees ; and yet he is one who does not believe a word of the creed of the church he supports, or the doctrine of the minister he hears. There is, perhaps, another church in the city, organized on principles which he wholly approves, embodying, as he believes, a great, a glorious, and a world-regenerating truth ; and it enjoys the labors of a man, as minister, whose views in all respects coincide with his own, for whose moral and intellectual worth he has the greatest esteem ; yet he never attends that church; he never listens to that minister; and perhaps seldom speaks of him, without a sneer or a shrug of his shoulders. Why ? That church is not in the fashion, and that minister is perhaps a plain, blunt-spoken man, who tells the truth in a homely way ; and moreover is a man who has some notions, which, because they are only half understood by the public, are generally condemned.
-Orestes Brownson

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