Author’s note: The following is a section on the virtue of honesty from chapter 6 of my book Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It (Richmond: Glen Allen Press, 2002). The book is an introduction to Ayn Rand’s morality of rational egoism.
Honesty “is the refusal to fake reality—i.e., to pretend that facts are other than they are.”1 It can be described as the flip side of rationality: Whereas rationality is the commitment to think, judge, and act with respect to the relevant facts, honesty is the commitment not to do otherwise.
Since reality remains what it is regardless of any efforts to ignore or deny it—since facts are facts and cannot be wished away—the consequences of recognizing reality can only be positive, and the consequences of evading it can only be negative. The following examples will bear this out. . . .