Where’s the integrity?

Does President Trump know what integrity is?

Wiki gives us two definitions: [1] the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles [2] the state of being whole and undivided. While obviously meant to apply in different contexts these definitions have much in common.

Can President Trump tell the fake from the real? Does he realise that his conflicts of interest in business and family are eroding his credibility as a leader? Does he know what appealing to the lowest common denominator in humans’ results in?

I call integrity consistency of standards. You have to combine one thing with another to form a whole. You must bring people or groups with particular characteristics or needs equally into participation in or membership of a group or institution. In our social world we need trust to make things work for two reasons. First, there is as yet no algorithm or computer capable of wholly substituting for trust. Second, even when there is, the human persona is diminished every time an order replaces a judgment. By definition, therefore, trust is enhanced whenever we look for a judgment rather than an order.

A President who announces his political stance as one of cherishing America and then treats irresponsibly those who support and assist him in his efforts to do so is not someone with integrity. Think carefully before you fire your top sleuth, especially if he is investigating you. The action could be misinterpreted. Or, perhaps even worse, interpreted correctly.

Why is integrity so important, especially now?

We have always relied somewhat on role-models. Thank goodness there are still plenty of good ones around. The more powerful a person, the more we regard them as a suitable role model. That applies to everyone, especially to younger people and children. When in calm waters with things running smoothly integrity is important to make sure that you don’t become self-satisfied. All institutions eventually die from complacency.

Integrity is even more important when the waters are choppy, when those around you are uncertain and when it is difficult to see what the future holds. We are in choppy waters now. We don’t know what technology is going to do to the human species. Power struggles between rich and poor nations and between ambitious narcissistic politicians move faster and are more visible than ever before. The impact of printing so much money is unclear. The logical consequence is rampant inflation. We don’t even know if that will happen.

Humans stand on the brink of an entirely new sort of existence. If we steer soundly into this we will possibly keep some of the characteristics that make us so beautifully human, that make life worth living. If we don’t we will become automatons without sensitivity. Not just another species will have been lost, a whole culture of inginuity that makes us creators will disappear. To avoid this we need integrity at both presidential and personal level.

As the old mentor who taught me market research said: “The only thing that matters is your integrity of purpose. Keep that and you will be a great human being.”

I wish more people were saying it today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *