How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

The Importance Of Having Integrity

Today I’m going to skip writing in detail about something that is clearly preparedness related, and touch on something completely different.

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 truthful.

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?

By now you’re probably wondering why I’m writing this. Well, wonder no longer!

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:

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.

Jack Spirko over at the Survival Podcast suggests we show our support for those under attack by buying a copy of Kellys book. And that’s what I’m doing. And you should too.

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.

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21 Responses to The Importance Of Having Integrity

  1. Thank you Rudy for speaking your mind on this topic. I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing more abhorrent to me than someone who is disingenuous. In my earlier years, I made a lot of mistakes (but at least I was consistent about it). Today I try not to repeat those same mistakes. I have striven over the years to be a man who can be taken at face value. Like me, despise me, I care not. You get what you get. I believe that a great deal of what is wrong with our country and society today is a severe lack of honor and integrity not only amongst our political leaders but with our population in general. This is an observation, not a judgement. I long to see a return to the days of my grandfather when a man’s word was his bond and a hand shake his contract. It may take TEOTWAWKI to heal the ills we suffer. Who knows? I hope and pray not. In the mean time, “Be who you are and do the next right thing.”

  2. Excellant Rudy. Hearing things like this is so frustrating.

    I went to buy the book and realized I already had it (which is excellant).


  3. This is very sad to hear about the trademarking of Urban Homestead and Urban Homesteading, and furthermore the Cease and Desist letters. I guess that is one way to subsidize the finances for your preparations.

    The singular idea that I have most liked about the self-sufficiency movement is the community. It is not possible for one household or even extended family to do it all. We need one another as part of the economy of making it work. Each and every book I have read about TEOTWAWKI shows people working together, maybe not at first but eventually. I think that those of us who have followed these practices for any length of time realize this and the sooner we join together the sooner there is normalcy to life.

    Shunning is likely a great idea. The little bit of devil in me says that each and every one of us should use the phrases Urban Homesteading as often as possible in our blogs and daily speech. the overuse of a work or phrase tends to give it a more generic meaning.

    I think I am tearing up for these California folks, could you pass me a Kleenex.

  4. I found it interesting that I came across your thoughts in this article as my husband and I have been discussing the disconnect that we as people have between what we profess to believe and the way in which we live our lives. As Christians, this is troubling to us. The Apostle Paul states in Romans 7:15,” For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” And he sums in up in verse 18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Integrity is congruency between belief and action. Politicians tend to lack integrity by nature, because they “spin” (or just lie about) their beliefs based on public opinion. True leaders possess integrity because “what you see (or hear) is what you get” and they “practice what they preach.” I have much more respect for someone who speaks his mind and follows through in his actions (even if I disagree with him) than I do for a waffler or a disingenuous pontificator. As Christians, my husband and I attempt to lead our lives based on the example Jesus Christ laid before us. Do we always succeed? Of course not. See Paul’s comments above. There’s that conflict between the old man and the new man. But we as Christians should strive to lead genuine lives with integrity, knowing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Thank you for your thought-provoking comments on integrity.

  5. I am horrified that it is even possible to trade mark common words. What is next? The Oakland Institute also has a book coming out with the words Urban Homesteading in the title that looks excellent. Will they be targeted as well? I guess we will all have to speak with our money and support those who have integrity.

  6. I always have believed that the truth about some one or a group should be exposed if there is harm that they are creating. Good job! I am very small sub contrator that works for general contractors and thier project managers and let me tell you the lack of integrity as been on rapid decline in the last 5 years. I have shook hands on $100k worth of work before and now with a contract for a $250.00 job you do not even know if you will get paid. I guess my point is that from what I am seeing it really scares me. Is this what the American people are becoming? Are we going to sue over a book title? A blog post? What is going to be like in another 5-10 years?

  7. II have a saying that I taught my children and grandchildren that deals with integrity, honor, and how it relates to behavior. “It’s not what THEY are saying, it’s what YOU are doing”. If someone else isn’t behaving properly (in this case that family) you do not have to participate in their bad behavior.

    It’s interesting to read the “news” accounts such as PRNewswire running on Yahoo’s news. They have deemed bloggers as non-reporters. “Whereas professional reporters substantiate their news before publishing stories and are careful not to make slanderous statements, bloggers have no editors and often demonstrate little or no interest in supporting their claims with fact. As a result, irresponsible or malicious blogging can cause harm to people and businesses.” So if I were a professional then I’d refer to this family as our creator each and every time I said or wrote Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader!

    The article of defense provides the exact reason that we true Urban Homesteaders (note no ®) are so disappointed with the behavior of THAT family. They did not register these words to avoid confusion on the part of the general public. They did this to promote themselves and try to make people think that they are responsible for MY way of living. Let me tell you, THEY had nothing to do with it!

    I went to their website about a year ago and did not care for it. I’ve never gone back, nor do I intend to. I shunned them then. I will continue to do so. It’s not what they are saying, it’s what I’m doing. I’m doing the right thing. I’m staying as far away from them as possible.

    Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader. Urban Homesteader!

  8. I am appalled at this. I have always held them in such high esteem and now it is completely shattered.

    The problem with their behavior is this – the intention is obviously about business. But this will only serve to destroy their business, which is the truth with integrity. When someone has integrity, people know they can trust that person and over time, people will naturally gravitate towards trusting what that person says, doing business with that person, and recommending that person to others.

    When you have someone who does not have integrity, these things will not be in place so while they may have a quick “flash in the pan” of success, there is no longevity there because they are not trustworthy. They will have to end up working HARDER to achieve the same result, whereas if they simple behaved with integrity and in a trustworthy manner, their efforts would compound and build upon one another.

    This goes for people, businesses, and pretty much anyone and anything. Any businessperson will tell you it takes a whole lot more work to acquire a new customer as opposed to keeping existing ones. A business with integrity will eventually build a huge following because their behaviors will help keep their existing customers in addition to word of mouth bringing in new customers.

    On the other hand, a business that does not behave with integrity will find keeping their existing customers an uphill battle, and finding new customers will continue to become more and more difficult because of that same word of mouth.

    I feel unfortunately, this family in CA that we are talking about is going to see their actions backfire on them in a similar way. Their lack of integrity in their actions will serve to drive away existing customers and the word has been spreading like wildfire in the homesteading community, which means they will need to work VERY hard to get any results.

  9. If you have integrity, nothing else matters.
    If you dont have integrity, nothing else matters.

    I do not know who said that, but they are the words that I live by.

  10. Thanks you for posting an article about intergity–this is the motto at our house
    Doing the Right Thing, at the Right Place at the Right Time!! This is what we try to live up to! If you make sure the 3 rights are there- you are on the right track!!

  11. As despicable as this business’s actions are, another factor is our ridiculous legal system that would let someone trademark a phrase in common use! It is almost as bad as companies being allowed to patent genes in plants and diseases.

  12. I have a Croatian acquaintence . She says that the integrity of her family played a great part in their survival during the war in Bosnia. She senses that things are not going well in her new homeland of America. Her advice has been to keep a low profile, be careful who your friends are, and have absolute integrity.–Granny

  13. Nice post. Interestingly, I have found that it is homesteading itself that has led me to consider the issue of integrity. Perhaps that is because it has been for me a path to greater and greater integrity. My integrity is not perfect, and that’s probably a sad truth in our complicated world today. But it’s been homesteading and the attempt at a more self-sufficient lifestyle that has allowed me to examine the things in my life that do not reflect my values, and to begin to change or at least minimize them. I think that’s a hard thing to illustrate about homesteading. It’s easier to point to canning jars, or fresh eggs, and talk about the calluses and dirty fingernails. The more intellectual, moral, and spiritual aspects are harder to capture, at least for me. Maybe that’s because I have a deep aversion to stuff that sounds hokey and trite. I don’t want to cheapen my own experience in that way, so I mostly remain silent on those issues.

    Anyway, no need to count me in for one of the books. I ordered multiple copies myself and plan to give one or more away on my own blog when they arrive.

  14. I haven’t heard of this family until the last few days and I investigated the claims, and looked at the ‘C&D’ letters to see for my own eyes before condemning anyone for actions that may have been acted upon by a more dishonest individual. Sadly, you have hit the nail on the head when you speak of integrity. Everything I have seen and looked up points to a family who want to benefit off the hard work and money of other urban homesteaders and than show their supremeness by claiming the term urban homestead as their own. Despicable!!! I’m also appalled at our government that would allow someone to trademark something that encompasses an entire community of people and a way of life that has existed for decades and decades.

    I come from a family of immigrants from China. My grandfather & grandmother taught me integrity. He came here from nothing: not enough food for his family, no schooling because he had to go to work at 9 yrs old. So when he was 16 he came to the USA, worked really hard as he was taught to and became a business owner. He had learned to speak English, owned multiple Chinese restaurants and was well respected in the community because of his honesty and integrity. If he knew you were in need of food, he would give it, free, because he remembered what it was like to be hungry and he had the resources to help someone else. It was just how he was. If people around you, and those who come upon you, can’t trust your integrity, then you are of no use to the community. I often long for the days when we could leave our home & car doors unlocked, and when you weren’t afraid to help someone on the side of the road. Integrity is so hard to come across it seems some days…

    I have only started to seriously consider turning my small suburban plot of land into something that will enable my family to be self sustainable. I am a practicing Christian and truth is an important part of our lives. I can only pray that others find a way to be more trustworthy with the integrity everyone can count on.

  15. I’m discovering this article a few weeks after you posted it.. I’ll be sharing it with others. Thank you for taking time to not only address such a valuable principle .. but for suggesting how we can spread the word. We’ll be giving the book you mentioned to family members with their birthday presents this year! So glad you let us know about it too! Keep up the great work!

    • it was initially, but they went back to the well and got them after all.

      The EFF has since taken them to task though, and it doesn’t look good for them…