Thursday, November 30, 2006

More Words for the Dictionary: Lie vs. Mistake

It seems our liberal friends are having a hard time distinguishing between the words lie and mistake. This isn't really surprising, considering what they had to defend when Bill "I did not have sex with that woman...Ms. Lewinsky" Clinton was in office.

This was also on display when Bill O'Reilly asked Michael Moore at the Democratic National Convention what the word "lie" means. Moore sat there opening and closing his mouth like a big, fat fish.

But just for grins, let's have a refresher.

A lie is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. A mistake, on the other hand, is an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc. The difference lies (if you will) in the intent of the party.

So, if a doctor tells a woman her baby has Down's Syndrome when he/she does not, we can assume that, barring some particular malice on the doctor's part, that the doctor has made a mistake in his/her diagnosis (subject, of course, to a big, fat malpractice claim).

On the other hand, if the same doctor deliberately told the woman her baby had Down's Syndrome when he knew for certain that the baby did not, that would be a lie. See? It's all about intent.

I hope this clears up any errant usage of the term "lie." I realize it is tempting to mischaracterize one's opponents' arguments this way but that would be, in fact, a lie.