The word “integrity” comes at us from every angle, context, setting, and venue. An Atlanta apartment complex is named “Integrity Heights.” A car dealer states on its outdoor signage, “We sell integrity.” A mortuary declares “We offer integrity when you need it the most.” A U.S. Senator describes a supreme court nominee as “a man of integrity” During the recession, in a letter to the Wall Street Journal, one citizen wrote “Wall street was where integrity went to die.” I could go on.
But ask for definitions of it and a dozen are forthcoming. In the abstract, the cardinal virtue of integrity is thick with meanings. Albeit, we know it when we see it. Furthermore, when have you heard, or read, of its rules of practice, motivations, impediments, its everlasting benefits and returns, or its legitimate rules of compromise?
Integrity: The Indispensable Element sets forth the missing links. It bridges the gap between the virtue in thought and action. Part One pares it to its fundamentals, drawing upon authorities of the ages. Part Two consists of profiles and incidents of integrity. Here are a collection, of men and women who demonstrate what it means to stand by convictions, often at great personal cost.
The sketches are drawn from literature, business and commerce, the arts, politics, statecraft, and the Army. Two examples. Pablo Casals, the great cellist, though he and his family were in dire circumstances in occupied France during World War II, refused to play in Nazi Germany. This followed the German offer to satisfy all his material needs—food, coal, hospitable living accommodations. A Nobel prize-winning author said of Casals, “Here was a musician who came to the rescue of humanity’s honor.”
The other example is taken from Army life, the unimpeachable character of General George C. Marshall. When he retired in 1947, following an extraordinary career of achievement, publishers in great numbers made offers for his memoirs. The Saturday Evening Post offered $1million, a huge sum at the time. He declined all proposals. He said, “The memoirs would require me to comment upon those who served under me and may cause pain on the part of some who did the best they could. Besides,” he added, “my country has fully compensated me for my services.”
The book was published by Alliance for Integrity, LLC, Dublin, Georgia, 2010. Other information is on the website.