Is it ever alright to lie?
Argument 1: It is never acceptable to lie
It is perhaps one of the first rules we are taught as children to never lie. All major world religions have it as a key aspect of their teachings. Once you have decided that it is alright to lie, it becomes very difficult to establish when you should or should not lie in the future. It also becomes habitual. Even if you believe you are protecting someone by lying, in the end, it is the truth that is most important. One example is author James Frey who wrote One Million Little Pieces. He first claimed the book was totally non fiction but then later admitted he had lied and that parts of the story where fictional. If we allow lies to occur, then how do we determine what is fact? If it is acceptable to lie in writing and claim the stories are fact, how do we know if books about human rights offenses or even geography are fact? Therefore, no lie is acceptable. Honesty is vital, in order to distinguish fact from fiction.
Argument 2: Sometimes, it is better to lie than tell the truth.
While it should not be a precedent, sometimes lying does less harm than telling the truth. By protecting a belief, it is acceptable to lie. For example, telling a child that the Tooth Fairy or Santa Clause exists. Or, telling someone they look attractive when the do not or telling some one their cooking tastes good when it really does not. Honesty can be offensive and many people do not want to know the whole truth. Also, you can physically protect someone by lying such as lying to the Chinese police in Tibet in order to avoid Chinese Prison and torture. Or safely getting people to leave an unsafe area and avoiding panic by lying. Therefore, while the truth is usually best, sometimes it can cause more harm than good and you should lie. If the context of a situation is to genuinely avoid any unpleasant feelings that may arise out of the "recipient" of the lie, then a white lie can be permitted.