Definiendum : honesty

Honesty is such a lonely word.

Billy Joel

honesty /ˈɒnəsti, ˈɒnisti/ noun

Lucian of Samosata says that a good historian should “call a fig a fig, and a trough a trough” (τὰ σῦκα σῦκα, τὴν σκάφην δὲ σκάφην ὀνομάσων).  This expression prefigures some idioms of modern European languages, as “call a spade a spade” (English), “appeler un chat un chat” (French), or “llamar al pan, pan y al vino, vino” (Spanish). Living languages convey living traditions. In the modern Olympic games of the last three decades, people call Taiwan “Chinese Taipei”.

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Cairo 1943
美國總統羅斯福、土耳其總統İsmet İnönü、英國首相邱吉爾,開羅,1943年12月5日。Photo: U.S. Army photograph.

What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world, as against force and selfish aggression.

Woodrow Wilson, 1918


美國國務院將這段歷史的相關一手史料,彙整、加註而編成總共九百多頁的Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943(以下簡寫為FRUS, Cairo and Tehran。其中不僅有當時被列為最高機密的公文、紀錄,甚至包括蔣宋美齡寫給羅斯福總統的信件。只消大略翻閱這份資料,讀者即可發現,老蔣的戲份相當有限,就連他人在開羅的那幾天,許多會議也沒有任何中國人參加。簡言之,臺灣的歷史教科書上之相關敘述連「冰山一角」都談不上。

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Hardly a state offers such developed rights of codetermination to its citizens. The long democratic tradition, the comparatively small size of the country and its population, a high literacy rate and various media offers are decisive for the functioning of this special form of government.

Federal Chancellery, Switzerland

Using recent interview data from 6000 residents of Switzerland, we show that individuals are ceteris paribus happier, the better developed the institutions of direct democracy are in their area of residence.

Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer, “Happiness, Economy and Institutions”, Economic Journal 110 (466), 2000, p. 918.



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The Purposes of the United Nations are […] to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace […]

Charter of the United Nations, 1945


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