This historic quote came from John Adams’ summation to the jury during the trial of the British soldiers accused of murder in the Boston Massacre. Adams was actually representing the soldiers.
I was reminded of his quote when I read a post on the Ethics Alarms blog, a site by John Marshall that I refer to frequently for excellent commentary and insights on ethical issues. There is also an excellent treatise on the ethical dilemmas faced by Adams during the trial posted at the Legal Ethics Forum.
Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.
Facts are indeed stubborn, but they can be reported inaccurately. It is even possible to technically tell the truth and still be deceptive by the way in which we “spin” the facts.
However, someone with a reputation for accurately reporting facts, especially if they are willing to tell the truth to their own hurt, pumps huge amounts of trust into any relationship. And as our Coactivity Maxim states:
The power for effective change rests within our relationships…