"Without H - I - H, We Have No Country, Or Freedom"
By Ron Ewart, President
National Association of Rural Landowners
© Copyright November 21, 2008 - All Rights Reserved
When the ratio of the elements "H", "I" and "H" keep getting lower in a society, with respect to the elements "G", "A" and "G", societal degradation begins to take place. As the ratio of "G", "A" and "G" climb to a significant percentage, the degradation accelerates. No, this isn't some trick chemistry formula that you forgot from high school or college, these are elements of character. The H, I and H are Honesty, Integrity and Honor. The G, A and G are greed, avarice and gluttony. We see no need in defining greed, avarice and gluttony, but to get a better handle on the definitions of Honesty, Integrity and Honor, it is helpful to provide their generally accepted meanings.
Honesty: is the human quality of communicating and acting truthfully related to truth as a value.
Integrity: comprises perceived consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles.
Honor: is the evaluation of a person's trustworthiness and social status based on that individual's espousals and actions.
Relationships between people and institutions are based on varying levels of trust. True trust is having faith in the predictability that a person or an entity will "honor" what they say, or deliver what they promise and act in an honest and open manner. If there is no honesty, integrity or honor, there is no trust in either individuals, business entities, or governments.
Paul Harvey often said on his radio broadcast that "self-government, without self-discipline, won't work". But the self-discipline must be in abundance in all venues. If either government, or the people, act undisciplined or irresponsible and lose their honesty, integrity and honor, chaos is the result. Chaos is what we are experiencing today because the ratio of the elements "H", "I" and "H" in both government, business and the people, have fallen below the threshold that allows self-government and thus freedom, to function properly.
There is an inescapable connection between honesty, integrity and honor, with freedom and liberty. America was founded on not only unalienable individual rights, but the inferred individual responsibility that came with those rights. That responsibility included the virtues of honesty, integrity and honor.
As a society, if we give in to greed, avarice, gluttony, drugs and other illegal behavior, cheating, or stretching the truth or outright lying and forsake honesty, integrity and honor, our freedom and liberty will evaporate into thin air. The lack of trust in people and institutions will follow.
Most of us instinctively know what is right and what is wrong. Thomas Jefferson said, "No man can acquire honor by doing what is wrong". However, way too many of us have forsaken honesty, integrity and honor in the pursuit of earthly pleasures by any means. If the accumulation of wealth is not accompanied by honest achievement, it becomes a false God. If it becomes necessary to sacrifice the virtues of honesty, integrity and honor in the pursuit of money for money's sake, the money is tainted and will bring dishonor. If politicians give in to the evils of greed and pay-offs for favors, the downfall of freedom and liberty is all but assured.
The bar of civility keeps dropping every year. Bad language has now become part of normal discourse, even on the airways. Bad behavior is rewarded with notoriety and many times with huge sums of money, or career enhancement. Many times failure is given a pass, while true achievement is belittled, or excessively taxed. Cheating on tests and making false insurance claims have become almost an accepted way of life.
When we look in the mirror, the vision we see can either be coupled with intellect and principle, or be corrupted by bias. The bias comes by ignoring the good within us and allowing the bad within us to become acceptable to our vision. If we accept the wrong vision, there is no way we can ever right a wrong, or reclaim a liberty. Government tends to mirror the "vision" that people have of themselves, as a culture.
This is not a message just about morality for morality's sake. This is a message of objective reality. If we ignore this reality, America, as a Constitutional Republic, has no chance to survive. The longevity of America's freedom and liberty is directly related to the ratio of honesty, integrity and honor, to greed, avarice and gluttony throughout the entire population.
Most of us are endowed with simple goodness. Honesty, integrity and honor are just a way to express that goodness. Without a foundation of goodness, the core of a nation will disintegrate. The cracks in the core are widening. America's core is in sad need of a massive repair job, but before repairs to the core can be made, we must, as a culture, if freedom is our objective, return to the principles of self reliance and responsibility; a responsibility that is embedded with honesty, integrity and honor.
Former President Ronald Reagan told us: "The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the 'little' choices of years past - by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, which was whispering the lie that 'it really doesn't matter.' It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away - the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity - or dishonor and shame."
It follows that, if we do not value honesty, integrity and honor as our true character, we therefore place no value on, or virtue in, freedom and we become enslaved by our own greed, avarice and gluttony.
Ron Ewart, President
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RURAL LANDOWNERS
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA 98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)
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