Professor Janet Smith asks does everyone have the right to truth? it always a violation of justice in a postlapsarian world to deprive some people of the truth? 

Professor Janet Smith asks does everyone have the right to truth? 

Evildoers sacrifice many of their rights. For instance, we deprive prisoners of their freedom of movement. When the community is under attack and resources are needed, private property can be taken to defend life and property. And, of course, the person poised to murder forfeits his right to life, which is why a policeman can fire his weapon with the intent to kill. Why, therefore, should we imagine that everyone enjoys an inviolable right to truth in all communications? Isn’t giving the truth to a Nazi like returning a loaded weapon to a madman? Does he have any right to the truth?

By her analysis, something analogous holds for communication. In a sinless world our words and gestures serve only to convey the truth, but in a fallen world they promote civility, encourage, console, and on some occasions stymie the evildoer and protect the innocent.

Following her debate with Fr Gregory Pine OP on Pints with Aquinas, Janet talks to me about her position:


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