Update : The Guardian just ran this true story of lie (upon lie upon lie) that is truly moving
1. Political Aspect
1.1.Honesty & integrity is needed for politicians to garner and sustain support from the voters
1.2.Democratisation of more countries means that there are more people will join the legions of voters in the free world who want to be given correct information in order to make an informed choice at the ballot box.
1.3.Extreme scenario : cover-ups, lies by the leadership; corruption? war?
2. Legal Aspect
2.1.The truth is increasingly important today because we need it to counter crimes of dishonesty that have increased over the years. Criminals use pseudonyms or take on entirely different personas (esp.online). Others: fraud, embezzlement, hoaxes etc. We need to society to value the truth primarily so that they will practise self-restraint and not commit such crimes. We also need to find out the truth in order to combat such crimes.
2.2.In relation to the preceding point, we also need to the truth for justice to be served. A loss of faith in the justice system will not placate the victims or oppressed who seek justice. Worse still, it could sow the seeds for chaos in society since people do not think they can settle their disputes fairly in court.
2.3.The truth lets us give credit where it is due. It is criminal or litigious to breach copyright laws, pass of other people’s work as a person’s own or even fabricate work that was never done. This is would go against the virtue of meritocracy where only the deserving should be rewarded.
3. Social Aspect
3.1.The truth is more important now that we are bombarded with information from the media (esp. tv & the internet) because the educated public want to decide how they should deal with developments around them. They do not want to be prescribed to. Again, the truth (no matter how hard it is to determine) is needed to help people make the best decisions on issues.
3.2.As internet communication, esp. anonymous online interaction, becomes more widespread, the truth becomes more valuable. Without more truth, superficial interactions over the net cannot proceed to become more meaningful relationships.Some people may call this a new phenomenon that should not alarm us. We just have to deal with this new condition.However, if we are forced to be cautious with the online strangers we meet, then we could very well be encouraging distrust to be a part of our “offline” culture as well.
4. Economic Aspect
4.1.Consumers do not want to be conned especially when there are so many products in the market. Some poor quality products could actually harm them.
4.2.The truth is better for business in the long-run instead of manipulating statistics in their favour.
4.3.The truth delivered in a timely manner to the public can prevent a crisis of confidence such as a sudden drop in spending due to uncertainty. This will have an adverse effect on or consumption-driven economy.
5. When can we accept untruths ?
5.1.In entertainment. We are fully aware of the fiction that we will experience. We also do not need the content from popular culture to make important decisions that affect us.
5.2.Of course, producers of entertainment will say that some realism or truth is what makes their work believable – and in demand.
Closing Comments : Has truth become less important than perception in influencing others ?
On the surface, it does seem that if any party is able to create a powerful, believable perception of something, then that party would be considered successful.
However, in the long run, the search for facts and truth could render the facade weak.