I read about something today that was pretty disturbing. Before I go into details on what it was, I want to touch on a core life principle that I feel is important to having a quality life.
Integrity – Without It, You Have Nothing
That principle is integrity.
Integrity is officially defined as a consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. Put a bit differently and certainly more simply, to have integrity is to be honest, be truthful, and act in a way that is consistent with your principles.
Integrity is what makes you a person worth being around. I simply refuse to be involved with people that lack integrity in their actions and behavior. And I know I’m not the only one out there that feels like this.
I actually believe that lacking integrity is worse than being an openly evil person. Monsanto, for example, is a company that pursues goals that are repugnant to me. But they are open about those goals, and they act consistently with them. This lets me decide whether to support them and their products with my dollars or not.
But saying one thing and doing something else is completely different. Think back to a time when someone professed one thing, and decided to act completely differently. Remember the sense of deception and betrayal you felt when you found out what really happened?
Having integrity means you stand up for what’s right in your world view. It means doing the right thing, even if nobody is looking. And it definitely means doing the right thing when people ARE looking.
Be consistent with your public and private values and beliefs. Don’t say something in public if you don’t believe it. Don’t contradict your words with your actions.
Always make the right choice, even when it’s not the easy path.
Choose your principles carefully, and stick with them.
Always do the right thing. Always.
Living a life of integrity will not always be easy. And sometimes it can be incredibly difficult. But living without integrity isn’t living.
I’m not perfect by any means, and don’t always do the right thing. Nobody does. But I strive for integrity every day, and you should too.
Why The Heck Are You Talking About This, Rudy?
There is a family in southern California that has created a large business around the concept of homesteading in urban environments. They do classes, and have a whole bunch of relatively high quality content.
They were a source of good information and how-to details for people who want to practice self sufficiency in urban environments.
You’ll note that I speak in past tense here, because this family has shown a crystal clear lack of integrity.
They were recently awarded trademarks for various commonly used words such as ‘urban homestead’ and ‘urban homesteading’ and have promptly begun sending cease and desist style letters to people using those phrases. They are threatening to sue, and are filing unwarranted DMCA requests.
In the last couple of days they have:
- Asked Google to delist Amazon.com links to a book by Kelly Coyne called ‘The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City‘
- Successfully got Facebook to delete the Facebook Page for the Oakland Institute of Urban Homesteading (they teach people how to can food at home, *gasp*!)
- Sent a C&D to the Santa Monica Public Library because they hosted a free event on urban homesteading.
- Sent a C&D to KCRW-FM because they used the term ‘urban homesteading’ in a blog post.
And that’s just a few of the more public things that they’ve done.
They claim they are doing this to protect the terms from corporate entities.
I say it displays a complete lack of integrity and respect for others and for a community they claim to have been a part of.
An Appropriate Response
The Amish have the concept of shunning. I believe that this is an appropriate response when people behave like this family has. You’ll note the distinct lack of links to their website or mention of their name.
I’ve just bought two copies of it, and I’m going to give away one of them to whoever leaves the best comment on the topic of integrity. If you end up being picked, I expect you to demonstrate your integrity and commit to spreading the word of what’s going on here, and to encourage others to support the people that are under attack from this duplicitous family. Use the book as a conversation piece. That’s what I’ll be doing.