By Alden L. Benton
Promises are important in every society. Anytime two or more people need to accomplish a task or engage in commerce, promises are integral to the arrangement.
Promises take many forms and range from God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Old Testament to His promise in John 3:16 in the New Testament. On another level, there are promises we make to our children, our spouses, and our elderly. In the broader society, promises are represented by contracts, laws, and, ultimately, the Constitution.
Without these rules, these agreements, society would soon cease to function. From deciding which side of the highway we will drive upon, who will have the right-of-way, to the guarantees of a contract and the prohibitions, the minimum moral code, embodied by the body of statutory law, society would soon revert to chaos without them.
This is the essence of ordered liberty and of a moral society. Ordered liberty imposes a minimum order on the free will of mankind. It ensures a free society based on fundamental rights such as due process, property rights, contract rights and obligations, as well as a minimum acceptable moral and ethical standard.
When promises are broken and agreements abrogated, that minimum moral code has not been honored. Today, these obligations and promises are seen in relative terms. Put simply, this is chaos and it is breaking down the fabric of our society.
Signed for a mortgage you could never repay? Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter, we’ll make someone else pay. Don’t have a home because you didn’t pay your mortgage? It doesn’t matter, go take over an empty house the bank owns.
Promise your children something special if they behave? Stand by your words or they will never trust you again. Told your grandmother you’d visit her and begged off with some lame excuse? You hurt her more than you could ever know.
The issue for us all, individually or as a society, is integrity. Integrity is the unification of word and deed; of intent and action. As an old adage says, “I can’t hear your words because your actions are so loud.”
Integrity is a stand to which we must hold ourselves accountable and judge others by. It is a simple binary (one or zero) decision: they have it or not. Do they keep their promises, honor their contracts, obey the law (moral and legal), and, in the United States, respect the supreme law of the land – the Constitution?
No one is perfect, but we, both as individuals and as a society, must strive to attain and maintain personal integrity. Without it, we are nothing but charlatans and thieves.
Remember this every time you make, or accept, a promise. Remember this when you cast your ballot on November 6.
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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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