Is it ever okay to lie as a Private Investigator, Process Server or other security professional?
I say there are times when it is legal and ethical to do so! We call that using a pretext or “pretexting” or “permissible deception”.
Usually we do that as a pretty much last ditch effort to gain some piece of information (like a skip’s address) when nothing else is working. Or to serve process on a deadbeat dad who refuses to pay his court ordered child support.
What is lying?
Lying is misleading a person who has the right to know the truth. The key here is if the person “has the right to know”.
The requirement to reveal the truth is not unconditional.
If the person doesn’t have a right to know, he or she may not be entitled to the truth.
A drug dealer has no right to know the guy buying drugs from him is an undercover cop.
The drug dealer has sacrificed his “right to know” by committing a crime.
If an angry mob comes to your door asking if you’re hiding a person they hate, you can be “deceitful” and not tell them the truth. They do not have right to know because they intend to harm this person.
But, Immanuel Kant disagrees with me. (That’s okay, he was wrong about a lot of things.)
In Kant’s 1797 essay “On a Supposed Right to Tell Lies from Benevolent Motives”, he argues you can’t “tell a falsehood to a murder” even if he is seeking an innocent victim hiding in your house!
Fraternal Love for the innocent victim hiding from the mob or murderer demands you do not reveal the truth to the mob.
Love is the perfection of the law. “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
Committed to your success,
& Best Selling Author
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