why would you lie?

They invented a pill that makes it impossible to lie. It actually took several years before it really caught on. At first it was a weird novelty with a tiny niche market. Then some of the bigger corporations started pushing it, and soon it was a big trend--people would take it for themselves, buy it for their loved ones, and then, they assumed, they were returning trust to the world.

Then the government got in on the game. There were tax incentives for people who were on the truth pill. It became an invaluable tool in court. That's where it started slipping. Soon it became legal to compel witnesses to take the pill before testifying. Since you could still remain silent, it became legal for police to use it as an interrogation tool.

Eventually the mandate to be on the truth pill was universal. It was seen as an obvious public good, and anyone who stood opposed must have had something to hide. That was the reasoning behind it. Protests were held, but they were stamped out quickly, and opposition, such as it was, went underground.

The remarkable thing was it didn't really work. It stopped you from saying anything that was untrue, but it didn't actually compel people to tell, as the courts would have it, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. People could still fail to mention relevant facts, and, while stating no direct falsehoods, paint a completely misleading picture in the minds of others.

The lawmakers were hoping for a reduction in crime, and an honest, freer society. What they got was chaos. Crimes of passion skyrocketed. Police went reckless in their investigations. This led to widespread rioting. But they still promised us that this was just a step in the right direction. By the time our grandchildren were coming of age, they said, we would live in a society that knew nothing of dishonesty. It would be fair and perfect and free.

But the regime didn't last long enough for their prophecy to come true. En masse, members of Congress and of the government resigned, and the pharmaceutical corporations manufacturing the pill were either destroyed or disbanded. The economy entered an unprecedented freefall, and soon there were protests that had nothing to do with the pills.

It wasn't long before it was all just a memory, and not much longer before it was hardly even that.

No comments: