Integrity in LIfe and Politics

Integrity is the quality of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.[1][2] In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or earnestness of one's actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy.[3] It regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that people who hold apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter those values.

The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete.[1] In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character.[4]

In ethics, a person is said to possess the virtue of integrity if the person's actions are based upon an internally consistent framework of principles.[5] These principles should uniformly adhere to sound logical axioms or postulates. A person has ethical integrity to the extent that the person's actions, beliefs, methods, measures, and principles align with a well-integrated core group of values. A person must, therefore, be flexible and willing to adjust these values to maintain consistency when these values are challenged—such as when observed results are incongruous with expected outcomes. Because such flexibility is a form of accountability, it is regarded as a moral responsibility as well as a virtue.

Politicians are given power to make, execute, or control policy, which can have important consequences. They typically promise to exercise this power in a way that serves society, but may not do so, which opposes the notion of integrity. Aristotle said that because rulers have power they will be tempted to use it for personal gain.

In the book The Servant of the People, Muel Kaptein says integrity should start with politicians knowing what their position[ambiguous]entails, because the consistency required by integrity applies also to the consequences of one's position. Integrity also demands knowledge and compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the written and unwritten rules. Integrity is also acting consistently not only with what is generally accepted as moral, what others think, but primarily with what is ethical, what politicians should do based on reasonable arguments.

Important virtues of politicians are faithfulness, humility, and accountability. Furthermore, they should be authentic and a role model. Aristotle identified dignity (megalopsychia, variously translated as proper pride, greatness of soul, and magnanimity) as the crown of the virtues, distinguishing it from vanity, temperance, and humility.

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  • Gabrielle Skuja
    published this page 2024-03-16 14:57:08 +0930