Wednesday, 2 April 2014

An Ingsoc Easter

By a strange convergence of events, April 20th this year will not only be 420 and the birthday anniversary of Adolf Hitler but also Easter. As is the usual custom, parents will be telling their prepubescent children about the Easter Bunny and how he (or she or it) brings plastic Easter eggs filled with candy. In such circumstances, parents must admit that the Easter Bunny is a classist as the children of engineers and small businessmen will get Cadbury eggs while the children of the working classes will receive those queer, orange-coloured peanut-shaped marshmellows sold by the bulk at most supermarkets. Of course, one can say the same about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Republican Party.

Nonetheless, a moral question arises: is it right to lie to children about the existence of the Easter Bunny? Some will say that since this is not a lie done for personal gain, it is perfectly moral. However I believe that we must ask the opposite question-that whether the lie is absolutely necessary in that particular case. After all there are certain situations where lying is permissible and even the right thing to do-for example if a murderer asked where a potential victim was.

By this standard, I believe that there is absolutely no justification to trick children into believing in the existence of a fictional Easter Bunny who brings them candy. In the usual case the children will find out by themselves in the nonexistence of this entity and sow the first seeds of distrust of their parents (even if only subconsciously) in their hearts and minds. In addition this does not set a good example for parents who presumably would want to encourage honesty in their children. To a child who finds out about the mythological nature of the candy-dispensing creature, it may seem that their parents are delibrately engaging in doublethink by teaching them the virtues of honesty while telling them wholesale fictions.On a more pragmatic level, telling the truth that the parents themselves bought the candy will direct the children's gratefulness towards their true beneficiaries. Hopefully more parents

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