This article is part one of a twelve part series on the Scout Law, discussing virtues that we, as men, need to uphold in order to rebuild an affluent society.
“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” – George Washington
Since the dawn of mankind, honesty has been respected, sought after, and valued among people. Integrity has the Latin root “integritas”, the same root to the terms integer, intact, entirety, integral, and integrate. When we have trustworthiness or integrity, we are whole beings. Our conscience is at one with our actions. We feel better about ourselves and we carry a strength about us that others look up to. People around us look to men of integrity to be their leaders. In essence, in order to be the true alpha male of the group (AMOG), we need to be a man of integrity. Otherwise, distrust will breed a lack of loyalty among the followers around us, whether at work, among friends, or even within our family.
Abraham Lincoln was well known as a man of integrity.
Mary Todd Lincoln once wrote to a friend that “Mr. Lincoln . . . is almost monomaniac on the subject of honesty.”
The future president was first called “Honest Abe” when he was working as a young store clerk in New Salem, Ill. According to one story, whenever he realized he had shortchanged a customer by a few pennies, he would close the shop and deliver the correct change-regardless of how far he had to walk.
People recognized his integrity and were soon asking him to act as judge or mediator in various contests, fights, and arguments. According to Robert Rutledge of New Salem, “Lincoln’s judgment was final in all that region of country. People relied implicitly upon his honesty, integrity, and impartiality.”
To this present day, I feel like I fall short in being honest with my fellow man. I was fortunate that I could look to my father who is known to be a man who goes out of his way to be honest in his dealings with others. While I am not perfect, I can see the influence that that example has had on me. Had I not been so lucky, I suppose I could have looked elsewhere in society. Sadly, those examples are being drowned out by the plethora of media showing how to get rich quick by cheating and swindling.
Don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade
Today’s society is being crippled in that a person calling out degenerate behavior is usually shunned more aggressively than the person actually engaging in it.
Words are words, they may hurt feelings, but what they do is persuade some one sitting on the fence one way or another. Sitting there with disapproval, but afraid to say something because someone will take offense not only creates a discontinuity withing yourself, it allows a dishonest rhetoric to flourish. “We have been lied to” was the common rhetoric following shortly after Nazi Germany fell in WW2. People claimed they didn’t know about the gas chambers. Right now, we as a society are allowing dishonest behavior such as gay marriage, debt being shifted to the younger generation, and feminism propagate throughout.
A word about a disrespectful opponents
Not all people are worthy of your best behavior. People lie to you, lie about you, and lie on your behalf. Should those people deserve respectful behavior from you? Not at all. The Palestinian who sends a suicide bomber should not be subject to the Geneva convention. I suppose if we go to war with Australia, that would be a different story. In any form of combat, whether physical or verbal, the lowest common denominator should set the rules of engagement.
Do what you say, say what you do
On a more personal level, we need to have a deeper level of integrity. Instead of the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” attitude, we need to behave in the same manner as if our Grandma is looking over our shoulder. Not only will we feel more whole as a person, we will foster trust and leadership qualities among our community, and strengthen our entire society.