Brett Kavanaugh, Wikipedia

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot dis­tin­guish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love,” says Father Zosima in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Kara­mazov.”

In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearing, I’ve found it hard to have any­thing to say at all. There is nothing fruitful in con­tributing to the noise about who is lying or whether Kavanaugh should be con­firmed. In a sit­u­ation where the truth may never actually be known, and the web of lies is woven so thick that we cannot unravel it, maybe our con­clusion should not be an opinion we have decided to believe. Perhaps all we can take for certain from the Kavanaugh hearing is some­thing that we already knew, but perhaps forgot: the simple truth that lying is evil.

In each iter­ation of how the sit­u­ation could have gone, we are left with the con­clusion that someone must be lying. Christine Blasey Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted sexual assault. Did Kavanaugh assault Ford, and are he and Mark Judge, an alleged witness to the crime, lying? Is Ford lying about the assault occurring? Is it true Ford was assaulted, but the trauma and years since the incident make her claim that she is “100 percent sure” it was Kavanaugh not com­pletely true? Are Ford’s named wit­nesses, who have defended Kavanaugh, lying for him?

Some of these ques­tions are easier to propose answers to, but the sheer variety of the­ories pro­vided to each suggest that no one is willing to come to a common con­clusion. Someone is lying, but no one can agree who it is.

What we may notice most of all is how neatly the opinion of who has lied falls across party lines. We may be sickened by the dis­honesty on both aisles of the Senate floor or the media outlets who cannot agree on the “facts,” but we also must be cau­tious of the lies we tell our­selves. Do we tell our­selves that Kavanaugh is guilty to justify a Democrat taking his seat? Do we tell our­selves that Ford is lying to support a Repub­lican con­fir­mation? Hope­fully the answer is no. But we should at least be honest with our­selves.

“Above all, do not lie to yourself,” says Dos­to­evsky. All we can learn from this sick­ening mess is the simple lesson not to lie. A lie has the potential to ruin an innocent man’s rep­u­tation and harm his family, or the potential to let a man receive great power despite doing an unspeakable evil to an innocent woman.  And it has the potential, as Dos­to­evsky says, to make one unable to find the truth in oneself or in the world.

That last con­se­quence is not restricted to those among Ford, Kavanaugh, the Senate, and the media who may be lying. It applies to all of us, all the time, when we refuse to seek the truth.

“And having no respect he ceases to love,” Dos­to­evsky con­cludes.  What an awful fate that is. If we ought to agree on any­thing as we move forward, it is this: what a hor­rible thing it is to lie.

Haley Hauprich is a senior studying English.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    it’s pretty clear that Mr Kavanaugh lied about the words he used in his yearbook —

    • Jen­nifer Melfi

      He was sworn in to make these state­ments… so that’s perjury right? I would guess even hardcore fundies would not want a supreme court justice who has com­mitted perjury before the senate??? I just don’t know anymore in this world where “con­ser­v­a­tives” support the reality tv star who dates adult film actresses and sup­ports the Rus­sians.