Political Integrity

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Political Integrity

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  1. the quality of being honest and fair.
  2. an unimpaired or unmarred condition : soundness ;
  3. an uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic, or other values : utter sincerity, honesty, and candor : avoidance of deception, expediency, artificiality, or shallowness of any kind ;
  4. the quality or state of being complete or undivided : material, spiritual, or aesthetic wholeness.

So says Webster's Third New International Dictionary.

Integrity is pretty demanding. It requires 'uncompromising' adherence to a moral code or set of values, honesty, sincerity, and candor.

  • For a start, this means that a person with integrity has a moral code; and that they know and understand it and stand by it.
This needs a disclaimer. This does not mean that a person with integrity may never enter into a compromise. In government of a diverse society, the strain of competing interests will at times require an agreement that violates both sides of an issue to some degree. In such cases the parties to the compromise have not necessarily betrayed their moral code. The wise "governs not as he would, but as he can . . ."[1] Politics is often the art of intelligent and effective compromise, the wisdom of which must ultimately stand up to public scrutiny.
But that being said, a society that has powerful factions that are diametrically opposed to each other is going to have problems and deep divisions.
  • A person with integrity speaks, writes, and acts honestly, sincerely, and with candor.
This means that I may not make speeches in support of a principle but act to subvert it. That is deception. And I must be consistent. I may not respect property rights in one instance and ignore them in another. I must not be against, for example, tax benefits or political favors (cronyism) for the special interests of others and feign reluctant acquiescence when they benefit me.
  • An aspect of the definition of particular interest is the requirement for completeness. That means that I may not give you an incomplete story--provide some of the known facts and withhold others.
Integrity means respecting the cognitive ability of others and trusting them with the whole truth with no thought of persuading or deceiving by leaving out facts that are inconvenient.

Well. These are the characteristics that we intend for Civicwiki. We do not believe that will be a lonely position in today's political environment. There are surely many who would join us on that basis.

  1. Rudyard Kipling; The Amir's Homily, from Life's Handicap; MacMillan and Co (1891)