Americans say they value integrity, but not in themselves

Telling lies. Photo by Zanzo via flickr

MISSOURI, Aug 1, 2014 — American claims to be a nation that demands integrity. Yet a close examination raises questions about that claim.

We say we want our politicians to be honest, but we don’t really expect them to be. We say that we have a nation of laws, but we often break those rules and then try to justify them. We tell “white lies” and “mislead” each other, or lie by omission.

The book, “The Day America Told The Truth” by James Patterson and Peter Kim provides startling insight into what Americans really believe and how they act.

Patterson and Kim found that there is no moral authority in America. “Americans are making up their own moral codes. Only thirteen percent of us believe in all the Ten Commandments. Forty percent of us believe in five of the Ten Commandments. We choose which laws of God we believe in. There is absolutely no moral consensus in this country as there was in the 1950s, when all our institutions commanded more respect.”

Second, they found Americans are not honest. “Lying has become an integral part of American culture, a trait of the American character. We lie and don’t even think about it. We lie for no reason.” The authors estimate that ninety-one percent of us lie regularly.

Third, marriage and family are no longer sacred institutions. “While we still marry, we have lost faith in the institution of marriage. A third of married men and women confessed to us that they’ve had at least one affair. Thirty percent aren’t really sure that they still love their spouse.”

Fourth, they found that the “protestant [work] ethic is long gone from today’s American workplace. Workers around America, frankly, admit that they spend more than twenty percent (seven hours a week) of their time at work totally goofing off. That amounts to a four-day workweek across the nation.”

The authors conclude by suggesting that we have a new set of commandments for America:

  • “I don’t see the point in observing the Sabbath (77 %).
  • I will steal from those who won’t really miss it (74 %).
  • I will lie when it suits me, so long as it doesn’t cause any real damage (64 %).
  • I will cheat on my spouse; after all, given the chance, he or she will do the same (53%).
  • I will procrastinate at work and do absolutely nothing about one full day in every five (50%).

We may say that we are a nation that wants integrity, but apparently a majority of us lack it in our own personal lives.


However that’s from a time and place I am from-

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