General rules of conduct for people, institutes and businesses that, for some unfathomable reason, happen to value integrity, and want to get rid of the culture of (self)censorship:
- Integrity means being open and honest always.
- We say the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (as we see it). Grasping the truth is necessary for informed moral and political decision making.
- We frequently ask ourselves: “Can we be open and honest about this?”
If the answer is ‘No‘, we need a valid reason. A valid reason differs from a fallacy by holding up when challenged by the question ‘Really?’. Fallacies include the promotion of self-interest and avoiding retaliation based on fear.
If the answer is ‘Yes’, then we say ‘OK, let’s do it’, implying we will actually be open and honest about it.
- A confidentiality agreement is a valid reason for not being open. Confidential information is kept confidential.
- We will no longer just say and think we are open and honest. We are critical about the level of integrity of ourselves and others until it shows, i.e. integrity is not just what we say. It is what we do.
- We never think we can’t be wrong.
- We never hide or twist the truth because of how others may respond to us being open and honest.
- We say sorry if we were wrong & appreciate being corrected.
- We are not paternalistic. Everybody has a right to decide for him/her self.
- We are not only open and honest about things that matter from our point of view. We also show integrity regarding others may find relevant from their point of view.
- We don’t take advantage in any way of people who are open and honest (from their own point of view). They get the benefit of the doubt, because integrity makes a person vulnerable enough in and of itself.
- Whoever is right, can get the acknowledgement for being right.
- Anyone who harms others solely because they have been open and honest is exposed to public disapproval of this harmful behaviour (just by being open and honest about it).
Regarding (social) space and time
- Everyone is free to participate in societal debate provided they show integrity.
- Employees also have freedom of expression in societal debate provided they make clear they are communicating a titre personnel, rather than as (an employee/representative of) a business or institute.
- We are not only open and honest now. Integrity also applies to (being truthful about and taking responsibility for our actions in) the past.
Regarding businesses and institutes (including universities)
- Businesses and institutes demand & cultivate open and honest internal and external communication.
- They provide a safe environment to be open and honest.
- They are resistant to complaints about employees communicating a titre personnel, and they are completely open and honest about such complaints, not only internally but also externally.
- They have appropriate, operational and effective procedures to settle differences of opinion, and they are open and honest about cases, motivation (reasons) and outcomes regarding challenges involving integrity.
- They have a zero-tolerance policy for improper arguments (e.g. fear) to waive a complaint/review procedure.
Why would we?
These integrity rules are necessary and sufficient conditions for a just and sustainable future.
Science & society, including in particular livestock farming, should be critical of her own integrity (so prove it rather than presuppose it), should have no fear of telling or knowing the truth, and should want to know, i.e. be ‘philo-sophos’, lover of wisdom & knowledge, much more so than being client-friendly or (bulk-)market-directed (see also this thread on Twitter).
Before you leave
I appreciated receiving open and honest feedback on what you think about these rules and how they could be improved.