Let's say you have a culture which is pretty much like ours, except honesty is the highest virtue. In particular, being honest about something is always better than being dishonest, no matter the consequences.
- It has been like this since the beginning of time as long as the people are concerned. They have thought this way for two millennia to say the least.
- Honesty does not mean you have to answer every question. That virtue is called openness, which is seen as related to honesty. Openness is the equivalent of kindness. Although people think highly of it, it does not necessarily need to be followed.
- For example, people would be fine with the NSA's activities since it is about the public being open for the most part, but would find it hypocritical that it is so secretive itself.
- Honesty extends beyond simply not saying things that are technically false; it is a whole philosophy. Anything misleading is seen as wrong.
- People are considered enlightened when they can be completely honest with their own being and society. Moral figures try and encourage society as a whole to be honest with itself.
- There are doctors in honestology who study honesty for a living.
- Where as we have philosophical problems like the Trolley problem, they have problems like the malignant hearing aid (if someone had a hearing aid that causes everything heard to be the opposite, should you lie to that person so they hear truth?) and liar in a forest (if someone lies in a forest and no one hears it, is it still wrong?)
- Advertising is seen as dubious at best, as it often violates both honesty and openness. Advertising is seen as similar to how we view usury.
- Punishments in society are no more or less harsh than our own. Also, just because honesty is the highest virtue doesn't necessarily mean the lying is punished the most severely of any crime. It is punished rather severely as far as crimes go though.
- That said, honesty is always considered morally the best regardless the situation, even if it means the loss of your life or others (whether you should be open is debatable though.)
- In the past they would cut out your tongue.
- Serial liars are considered criminally insane.
- Stories often involve a villain coming into town and spreading lies. The hero is then essentially a detective, figuring unrevealing the complex net of lies, and finally revealing the villain and cutting his tongue out. The other type of story is where a society is lying to itself on some issue, tries to reveal it, is considered a liar, and then has to fight society.
- More sophisticated stories in the modern era have the villain somehow become mute due to his own lies indirectly; that way, the hero does not have to do it.
This society seems pretty good. Particularly, society being honest about itself would go a long way to solve a lot of problems.
What problems would a society like this have?