Tuesday, March 07, 2006

To Pay or Not To Pay; That is the Question

I have a question for both of my readers and perhaps anyone else who is passing through.

It seems to me that it is quite easy for someone without integrity to influence someone with integrity to behave in ways that are less than honest since there is much to be gained from not being honest.

However, it is much more difficult for someone with integrity to influence someone without integrity to start behaving in a more honest way because there is often a cost associated with being completely honest.

Perhaps my hypothesis is wrong. But if I am right, does anyone have any thoughts on how someone can be influenced to pay the cost of integrity?

4 comments:

Buz said...

The biggest problem is that a person without integrity must see a reason to have integrity. When I was a kid, your parents, your teachers, and most everyone around spoke of, and lived (for the most part) a life of integrity. It became ingrained in you that was how it was done. Society reinforced the need for it.

Society no longer sees a need for it, so the only way to reveal the need will be when people see what happens when there is no integrity at all and begin to pine for the "good old days when a man's word meant something". Maybe a couple dozen more Enron-type frauds, and an impeached congressman/judge/president, and some more major economic collapses due to corporate misconduct and the light will start to go on ...

Buz

David M. Smith said...

Hi Buz,

Perhaps it is a societal pendulum that needs to finish a swing in the wrong direction and start back in the right direction. However, it’s not possible to really know where we are at on the swing. We may still have a long way to go before we start back in the right direction, and we many never start back in the right direction.

I am sure you are right, but it is kind of a chicken and egg thing; individual integrity needs the support of societal integrity and societal integrity needs the support of individual integrity. It seems to me that God needs to raise up a few leaders who have individual integrity in order to influence societal integrity. The Pastor/Politician or Politician/Pastor isn’t getting the job done.

Buz said...

As I see it, it is a "home" problem. I believe that children pick up the characteristic of integrity primarily from their parents. Since so many parents are working and leaving the rearing of their children to the day-care centers, it is something that is not being learned. Not that day-care centers don't try and teach it ... it is not something that kids learn in that type of environment. Kids learn it (1) from one-on-one time from adults, and (2) primarily from a male adult. In day-care, kids spend time with other kids, or when they are with adults, it is not one-on-one, and (2) most day-care providers are female.

I forget who said it now, but someone said that society was like an organism and that the family was the individual cell in that organism. When something hurts the family, it eventually hurts the society as a whole. Which might be one of the reasons why the bible says that "God hates divorce". It destroys families ... and eventually societies.

Buz

David M. Smith said...

Hi Buz,

I think the “home” problem you describe is one of the reasons many of the children of our generation grew up to have less integrity than their parents. However, in general, the problem I described in my original post still exists. Nowadays, if the parents have little or no integrity, the lack of integrity will be passed to the children. “In home” or “out of home” will not really matter. Do you think adults naturally have more integrity than children?

Even the average member of a church and the children of the average member of a church are prone to integrity problems because society rewards people who cheat a little, steal a little, and lie a little as long as they don’t cheat, steal, or lie too much.