In an article in the New Jersey Law Journal Arthur D. Burger Muses over why lawyers lie. Reviewing a couple of instances where opposing counsel flat out lied in court in the face of documentary evidence he wondered
- “What are these lawyers thinking?” Even from a Machiavellian standpoint, how could they expect to gain anything from such easily rebuttable distortions?
Burger sought the advice of a professional
- So as a lawyer, I went to someone who I thought could explain this phenomenon. That’s right — a psychiatrist.
Not surprisingly the psychiatrist noted that lawyers and litigators in particular, “have generous helpings of narcissism.” Really?
- They will therefore use the psychological defenses of “rationalization” and “denial” to enable themselves to intentionally mislead — and even lie — if they believe that is the only way to win….they see themselves as justified , because they were acting for a “higher purpose.” …the power of rationalization can be enormous. It can even be seen in such horribly extreme examples as when the killing of innocent civilians by terrorists is seen as “heroic.”
Seems like the same arguments can be made about politicians. Something to keep in mind this election season.