Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

KFC & Coke with the New York Yankees! Honestly?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In an earlier entry, I had opined about why someone might want to work for Huntsville Hospital. As I had also noted, a related search term that led to this blog – “Why do you want to work at Huntsville Hospital” – was my source of inspiration for that particular entry.

In this entry, what I would like to do is to further define some standards and terms used to describe honesty, and then ask some critical questions about behavior those terms may describe.

Doubtless, there are numerous terms that can be used to describe one’s particular ability to tell truth. Among them are honesty, veracity, forthrightness (I really like that one), candor, accuracy, fidelity, constancy, certainty, factual, actuality, original, reality, verity, veracity, indisputable, uprightness, candid, and more.

And yet, for all the words that we use to describe truth, the question often remains whether we are truthful when we are not always forthcoming with ALL information.

For example, is it absolutely necessary to give every minute detail of every event in order to be truthful?

To answer that question, let’s consider the question “Which Major League Baseball team has won the most World Series?”

Perhaps the most straightforward answer would be “The New York Yankees.”

Another truthful answer would be, “the only team with 27 wins.”

Another truthful answer would be “the only team to have appeared in the series 40 times.”

Another truthful answer would be “the only team to have won five consecutive series.”

Or, “the same team that won every series from 1949 – ’53.”

Yet another truthful – albeit lengthy – answer would be to give details of the games 27 years of wins by the Yankees.

Those are all truthful answers, some more detailed than others.

And, so how does this baseball analogy relate to honesty? Honestly, it may not relate very well, but it serves a purpose, which is to identify that by answering facts one can be truthful without being deceptive. What if, for example, you couldn’t remember the name of the team, but you could remember the aforementioned facts? Would it be dishonest to say that you don’t know (or recollect) the team’s name, but that you did know those certain facts?

Why, of course not!

What about secrets?

National security depends upon secrets. The success of some businesses depend upon one or more trade secrets, which has legal definition under 18 U.S.C. § 1839(3) (A), (B) (1996), and has three parts: (1) information; (2) reasonable measures taken to protect the information; and (3) which derives independent economic value from not being publicly known.”

For example, certain recipes – such as the one for Kentucky Fried Chicken‘s (aka “KFC”) “Finger Lickin’ Good” (Original Recipe) chicken which is made with a “Secret Recipe of 11 Herbs & Spices.” Of the recipe, the company writes: “Today, the recipe is protected by some pretty elaborate security precautions. One company blends a formulation that represents part of the recipe while another spice company blends the remainder. As a final safeguard, a computer processing system is used to standardize the blending of the products to ensure neither company has the complete recipe.”

The recipe for Coca-Cola is another example of a trade secret. There may be no more high guarded industrial secret the world over, than that of the recipe for Coca-Cola. (Although, there are some voices that have identified some possible historic recipes, the most recent being this one.)

Would it be wrong for the men who knew the recipe for KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” chicken, or Coca-Cola‘s formula to “tell all”?

Most reasonable people would say “yes” to that question – that it would be wrong to reveal the secret.

Why?

Damage.

Plain and simple? Someone, or group of people, would be damaged.

How would that damage be assessed, or what would be the nature or extent of that damage? Primarily, it would be financial loss. A man has a right to profit from his labor, and from his invention. If “Man A” uses “Man B’s” invention – which is the labor of “Man B’s” hands – without “Man B’s” authorization, “Man A” is, in essence, stealing, or committing theft.

The heart of theft is that “Man A” profits from another “Man B’s” labor, and does so dishonestly – that is, with the express purpose of disregarding what may happen to “Man B”, and with the intent to defraud. In other words, it is not accidental – it is purposeful, and intentional.

There are so many things in life that can be related to money, and yet, money is by no means a “be all, end all” to anything. Again, as I have written previously, money has no intrinsic value, save to represent something for which it can be exchanged or traded. And that thing or those things for which it is, or can be traded or exchanged has a value that is ascribed to it by a largely democratic, or populist process.

However, there is such a thing as intellectual dishonesty, and cheating on tests. One cheats on a test because they want to pass the test – whatever type test that may be. Intellectual dishonesty – according to some – is the advocacy of a position known to be false or misleading, or one in which “due diligence” has not been performed to asset or verify claims made.

In such as case – advocacy of a position known to be false or misleading – dishonesty is an attempt to obtain something for oneself against the wishes of another. It is a selfish, and self-centered act.

And yet, here we have come, having worked our way through honesty, by way of baseball, food and industry, having mentioned theft as a common denominator to, or root of dishonesty.

Perhaps I have not made a good case, or taught a good lesson on honesty or truthfulness. In which case, I suppose, perhaps I have made a good lesson on the evils of theft. There again, I may continue.

I think I shall continue.

So until next time…

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