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Mistaking Honesty For Integrity Essay

849 words - 4 pages

In our society there excites a general feeling of distrust. We live in a culture of false advertising and as a result we don’t know who we can trust. People are constantly afraid that the government, corporations and media, are lying to them. Stephen L. Carter’s article The Insufficiency of Honesty, captured my attention because it addressed this issue at its core and left me contemplating the issue of integrity vs. honesty. Currently, there is an outcry for honesty. But in truth honesty is not enough and not quit what we are looking for. Honesty is often used to deceive, to induce harm and to avert blame. What people are really searching for is integrity. Carter’s article address the ...view middle of the document...

When someone uses honesty without considering the emotional ramifications to others, honesty becomes a weapon. This is done in many ways. For instance many people will choose to be honest “at the one time in life when it carries no risk” (Carter 75). Carter explains how a husband confessing to an affair on his’ deathbed is not an example of integrity. While he may have been honest, he lacks integrity because he is unwilling to accept full responsibility for his actions and has caused his’ wife unnecessary pain. It is easy for a person to be honest when they are not the recipient of negative ramifications.
When talking about integrity and honesty is important to talk about lying and nondisclosure. Strange as it may seem sometimes a person can have more integrity when they are not being completely honest. Carter gives examples of situations where this applies. Such as attorney-client privilege, market insiders, and priests not breaking the seal of confessional. Carter quotes his mother as saying “you don’t have to tell people everything you know” (75). I feel that to truly conduct oneself with integrity, first a person needs to consider the situation and its consequences. Even if you intend to speak the truth sometimes it is best to leave things unsaid.
Adding to the matter of integrity is the issue of questioning ones believes. Carter writes, that we have the “tendency to cling to our views even when we have not examined them”...

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