Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Today's Excerpt...

From the book, "(integrity) by Stephen L. Carter.
Explanations. The Rules about the Rules. Pages ix-14

"When I refer to integrity, I have something very simple and very specific in mind.

Integrity requires three steps: (1) discerning what is right and what is wrong; (2) acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and (3) saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong. The first criterion captures the idea of integrity as requiring a degree of moral reflectiveness. The second brings in the ideal of an integral person as steadfast, which includes the sense of keeping commitments. The third reminds us that a person of integrity is unashamed of doing the right.

...One reason to focus on that it is in some sense prior to everything else[.]

The rest of what we think matters very little if we lack essential integrity, the courage of our convictions, the willingness to act and speak in behalf of what we know to be right.

...No matter what our politics, no matter what causes we may support, would anybody really want to be led or followed or assisted by people who lack integrity? People whose words we could not trust, whose motives we didn't respect, who might at any moment toss aside everything we thought we had in common and march off in some other direction?

...Integrity is not the same as honesty. ...One can be honest without being integral, for integrity, as I define it, demands a difficult process of discerning one's deepest understanding of right and wrong, and then requires action consistent with what one has learned.

...We refuse to think in terms of right and wrong when we elect or reject political candidates based on what they will do for our own pocketbooks.

...But in order to live with integrity, it is sometimes necessary to take that difficult step--to get involved--to fight openly for what on believes to be true and right and good, even when there is risk to oneself.

...People living an integral life must be willing to say that he or she is acting consistently with what he or she has decided what is right. ...people of integrity are willing to tell us why they are doing what they are doing.

...--saying publicly that we are doing what we think is right, even when others disagree--is made particularly difficult by our national desire to conform.

...Integrity does not always require following the rules. Sometimes--as in the civil rights movement--integrity requires breaking the rules. But it also requires that one be open and public both the fact of one’s dissent and the reasons for it.

Corruption. Acts of Unintegrity.
…the search for right [is what] each of us must undertake. …If integrity has an opposite, perhaps it is corruption—the getting away with things we know to be wrong.

Corruption is corrosive. We believe we can do it just a little. Nearly all of us break small laws, laws governing everything from the [traffic and highway signs, such as the] speed at which we may drive to [ the illegal use of roads].

…one who engages in repeated acts of unintegrity may be said to living an unintegral life.

...What are our rules about when we follow the rules? What are our rules when we break them?"

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