The Insufficiency of Honesty
As Stephen Carter begins the essay, he begins the discussion with integrity. Although the essay is based on honesty, integrity is built up of multiple characteristics, including honesty. Carter begins to discuss how being honest does not necessarily mean you have admirable integrity. Being honest can lead to hurtful comments that do not refer to integrity. Carter explains, “[integrity] requires three steps: discerning what is right and what is wrong; acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right and wrong” (Carter 338).
The main reason Carter incorporates integrity into his essay is to display how honesty and integrity are two different things. To have integrity you must be honest, but to be honest you do not need to have integrity. If you were to look honesty up in the dictionary you would see that the definition says “the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness. ” Doing the same with the word integrity, you would get “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness or moral character. ” Carter excludes these definitions in his essay, because they are extremely vague.
In order to help the reader grasp a true meaning of what integrity and honesty are, he leaves the definition out. By leaving the definitions out he was able to go into great detail on these words and really read in between the lines of what this simple explanation means. He uses examples and compare and contrast in order to get his point around. By explaining his views on integrity and honesty, Carter is able to relate the responsibilities and expectations of Americans to how they are truly acting upon situations in their every day lives.