I’m going to make one more observation about the Cain controversy to make a larger point. I’m not making an observation specific to the Cain controversy. My point may or may not be applicable to Herman Cain.
It may seem self-evident that the innocent have nothing to hide. Nothing to fear from the truth. Truth is their friend. Truth is exculpatory.
Conversely, if you’re caught in a lie, that’s evidence that you’re guilty. The innocent have an incentive to tell the truth while the guilty have an incentive to lie.
However, life in a fallen world is more complicated. The innocent are motivated to tell the truth if the system protects the innocent and rewards their candor. If, however, the innocent have reason to distrust the system, then they have a disincentive to tell the truth.
Take campus speech codes. Suppose a student makes a factual, but politically incorrect statement that violates the campus speech code. The student is technically guilty. Yet he’s guilty of violating an unjust policy. A policy that rewards politically correct lies while punishing politically taboo truths
He is innocent of actual wrongdoing. He said nothing intrinsically wrong. Indeed, he stated a fact.
But he now has an inducement to deny what he said, not because what he said was wrong, but because, even though what he said was right, that will be wrongly held against him. When saying or doing the right thing is inculpatory, the innocent have an innocent reason to dissimulate. Put another way, if the game is rigged, is it honest or dishonest to play by the rules?
For the moment I’m not discussing the morality of dissimulation under these circumstances. But just pointing out an easily overlooked facet of human psychology. If fessing up gets you in trouble, even though you did nothing wrong, then that creates a dilemma for the accused.