Dishonesty is an enemy of individual rights and liberty. Whenever we are discussing matters related to individual rights and free will, or to a private contract, or to the Social Contract which establishes a society and how it is to be governed, any deliberate attempt to deceive another individual represents an attack on that person’s free will, which is a violation of Natural Law. This point is actually very easy to understand, but it is dependent upon whether or not you understand the relationship between our free will and our right to contract (if you haven’t read The Natural Right to Contract and The Social Contract, you should do so before continuing with this post).
If you will remember, our Natural right to contract is dependent upon two key elements. First, the terms of the agreement must be within the limits of Natural Law, and second, each Party to the agreement must willingly agree to be bound by the terms of that agreement. However, even if the agreement lies entirely within the limits of Natural law, if just one Party to the agreement intentionally misleads or deliberately deceives any other Party to the agreement, that person is making an attack on the free will of all those being deceived. Since the validity of a contract is dependent upon all Parties freely agreeing to be bound by it, it is essential that all Parties be fully informed of every detail necessary for them to make a fully informed decision. If any information related to that decision is kept from or misrepresented by one Party to the agreement, the Parties being deceived have been prevented from being able to make a fully informed decision. This is an attack on their free will, and thus, a violation of Natural Law.
It is essential that we understand this point, but we must also recognize the many forms that deception may take. Lies are only the most obvious form of deception, but there are many other ways a person can deceive. A person can make an attack on the free will of another individual by: telling a half-truth, withholding details, presenting details in a way that is misleading or easily misunderstood; making or false statement; citing a reference that does not support their point; taking or reciting things out of context; using equivocation; or even remaining silent about something one even thinks is pertinent to an agreement.
This is also why it is absolutely imperative that we hold our leaders to a strict accounting of honesty. If we elect people to represent us who have proven they cannot be trusted to tell the truth, then we are violating the Natural Rights of every person in our community by voting to choose a representative who we know is likely to keep important information from them. Because a free and self-governing people requires accurate information by which to make our individual decisions as to how to vote, and thus, keep to our duty to each other as part of the Social Contract, anyone party to a deception that limits the ability of others to fulfill their duty is as guilty of deception as the person committing it. In other words: if I vote for a person when I know or even have good reason to suspect that person will deceive my fellow citizens, if, after that person is elected, they deceive just one person as part of their actions as an elected official, I am as guilty of deceiving that person as the person who committed the deception.