Honesty is a subject about which I hold strong views, even though it’s an unpopular subject these days.

Honesty is a very important quality to have; it is also a very important practice to keep on a daily basis through out one’s life. My thoughts are strong on this subject whose practice, it seems, has never been more necessary than it is now.

Why should our public servants, responsible persons in business, commerce and industry, and everyone else have and practise this quality? Can every normal person effectively have and practise this quality irrespective of their social and economic standing? What are the benefits of having and practising this quality?

Honesty should be practised because it is necessary for the enjoyment of fairness by all parties equally, who are committed in any transaction involving the exchange of property or the offer or use of services.

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Yes, every normal person can effectively practise honesty irrespective of their social and economic standing. Normal persons who do not practise honesty choose not to practise it.

The benefits of practising honesty fall within a wide range. Some of these benefits have national social and economic implications; and some are more private and personal in nature. Some of these benefits are mentioned below in more detail.

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Those who are in public life, or hold responsible positions in business, commerce and industry should be very careful to practise honesty in their respective fields.

The practice of honesty as private citizens is important for the reasons mentioned above, and because this is the pool from which public servants and those in responsible positions in the private sector are drawn. At the private level, we have all, at some time, experienced a sense of deprivation of justice and property at the hands of dishonest persons. Petty thieves, muggers and burglars also remind us of the need for honesty in private life.

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 The benefits of practicing honesty include: Fairness: The practice of honesty ensures fairness of behaviour in situations which involve: the collection, storage, or distribution of goods, and the provision of or the benefitting from services.

Example: An international lending institution once said that a certain kleptocratic country could repay its national debt in full, if its leaders returned the country’s money that they stole and deposited overseas.

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Under colonial rule, the country was well run and had a very promising economy. Following independence, the country became a notorious kleptocracy. This resulted in its having to incur a huge national debt which unfairly fell on the backs of the mass of the people.

During this period, the cost of living increased greatly and the standard of living decreased to an even greater extent correspondingly, among the mass of the people. The small ruling elite and their senior civil service supporters enjoyed a degree of unfair opulence at the cost of the unfair suffering of the rest of the population.

After conviction and sentencing to prison, following a court trial, such dishonest politicians and other public figures should be required to write a piece titled, “Honesty: My Thoughts.

 

Economic prosperity: The practice of honesty in situations involving economic activity contributes to the economic prosperity of those involved by allowing them full access to their fair share of goods and services. The relationship between honesty and economic prosperity is well known but often overlooked for the sake of expediency. The story that is mentioned after the word “Example” above, indicates some of the economic deprivation that can result from the absence of honesty in public life.

The connection between financial dishonesty and failure at the micro economic level is also well known. Most of us know of a case where a business failed due to the absence of the practice of honesty in some aspect of its financial activity. Such failure to practice honesty has resulted in instances of investors loosing large sums of money and experiencing financial ruin.

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 Political stability: The practice of honesty in the political economy helps to prevent persons from being unfairly deprived of their fair share of opportunity for socio-economic advancement. It also helps to allow them full access to their fair share of goods and services, according to the capacity of the economy to produce them. These conditions foster a sense of understanding of and sympathy with the efforts of those in power. This in turn helps prevent the growth of dissent, social unrest and political disruptiveness.

Spiritual growth: Constant practice of honesty, which is the eighth commandment in the Bible, as well as the practice of the other nine commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), will contribute greatly to our spiritual growth and development.

 

Honesty always serves the fair advantage of all concerned. Dishonesty always serves the unfair advantage of the few and the unfair disadvantage of the many. The choice is clear whenever there is a requirement to choose between honesty and dishonesty by persons in the public sector, those in responsible positions in the private sector, and private citizens.

By Edward Fagan

This is an original creative composition written by Edward Fagan. (It is based on a personal experience.)

Arrest and the accusation

Arrest of Earl is not on his mind as he drives the truck to the junction and stops. Earl is driving on a road which runs adjacent to one which is busy with traffic. He patiently awaits the clearing of traffic on this road. Earl does not know an arrest awaits him following these few moments he spends at this junction.

His three passengers and fellow workers, two male and one female, and himself talk and laugh until the road clears.

The road finally clears and Earl exits from his stationary position while turning right onto the adjacent road. A female shouts something and flares her right hand in an angry manner. She does this from a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. This female thinks he failed to stop at the junction. She, therefore, suggests this in her statement, and hand gestures intended at Earl.

Earl slows to a stop “I stopped at the junction Mam.”. She stops and disagrees “No, you drove straight through onto this road.”. Earl repeats his position a few times. He does this in response to her accusing him several times of not stopping at the junction.

She leaves her vehicle and walks to Earl’s and shows a police badge. “Switch off the engine and come out of the vehicle.”, she orders. Earl complies. “I’m Police Constable Lia Connell.”, she says, in a stern and somewhat angry tone. She’s young, perhaps in her mid to late twenties, and perfectly beautiful.

Arrest of an innocent man

“You failed to stop at the junction and that’s an offence.”, she says. She is violently poking her finger in Earl’s face and toward his eyes. Earl disagrees, “I stopped at the junction and exited after the road cleared.”. He then says “Do you see how dangerously close to my eyes your fellow officer is poking her finger?” “She’s not touching your eyes though.”, the other officer responds.

Constable Lia Connell opens a book and looks at Earl in an angry manner, “What’s your name?” “Earl Farley”, Earl answers calmly. She writes it in the book. “You failed to stop at the junction, why are you denying it?” Earl is surprised and upset at her behaviour. She demands to get a confession of guilt from him, and he wonders why. She even forgets, or otherwise refuses, to take his address.

“I stopped at the junction before driving onto this road.”, Earl insists. “OK fine! Arrest and handcuff him!”, she says angrily to one of her two male passengers.

A policeman handcuffs and places Earl in the unmarked police vehicle. Earl is surprised at his arrest; but he does not know what is yet to come. He sits in the rear between the two male passengers. It is 03: 00 p.m.

Arrest and the journey of brutality

The police speedily drive off Earl to the police station with the vehicle’s siren blaring and its beacon flashing. Earl sits with handcuffed hands in lap. There is silence in the vehicle. The phone in Earl’s top pocket rings. He attempts to answer it, so he takes it out and presses the answer button.  It is Earl’s boss and he hears the vehicle’s siren and suspects that Earl is under arrest.”Don’t let him answer that phone!”, Constable Connell angrily states. Earl does not expect what happens next.

Simultaneously, the outer hands of both male passengers grab Earl’s throat and start to choke him very tightly; while their inside hands tightly grab his handcuffed hands and start to take away the phone. He’s in intense pain and unable to speak. They also completely restrict all of his body movement by very forcefully pressing inward toward him. The police prevent him from speaking to his boss on the phone.

The two men who choked Earl take him to an interrogation room at the police station. The choking shocks and sickens Earl. “Why did you arrest and choke me?” he asks. “We can do you anything without having to answer any questions you ask us.”, answers John Bailey. He seems the more wicked and conceited of the two men.

Arrest and retention in a cell 

Sergeant Alvin Springfield gets Earl’s name from constable Lia Connell and calls Earl.”Earl Farley”, he calls, “I’m Sergeant Alvin Springfield. Can I take a statement from you or have you answer some questions?”. “I prefer not to give a statement or answer any questions. I thus wish to exercise my right to remain silent.”, Earl politely says. “Well, if that’s your position, I have to accept it.”, The Sergeant says. He slowly closes his notepad, gets up and leaves the room.

The police place Earl in a holding cell during the afternoon. They later charge him with failing to stop at the junction, and refusing to give his name and address. The police then give him a date for the first court-hearing of these charges, and release him on bail. They release Earl from the holding cell during late evening, 09: 30 p.m.

Arrest and court hearings

Earl visits a leading ear, nose and throat specialist on the day after his release.  The medical examination, expectantly, reveals throat and neck injury caused by the police choking him.

Hearing of the case continues for several months. Earl represents himself and is glad for the opportunity this gives him to question the police concerning the incident.

During one of the hearings, Earl questions Constable Lia Connell. “Constable Connell, did you enter the main road from the junction above the one from which I entered it?” “Yes I did.”, she replies. “Are you aware that there is an outward bend in the stretch of road which lies between the two junctions?” “I do not remember it.” she says. “Are you aware that this outward bend completely blocks the view of vehicles exiting both junctions from each other?” She hesitates, then slowly answers, “No, I’m not very familiar with the roads in this area.”

Arrest and court hearings continue

At this point Magistrate Robin Simpson makes a comment. “I may say something here,” he says, “I know this road very well, having grown up in the area. Motorists at one junction simply can not see vehicles at the other junction. It is therefore impossible for someone at one junction to know, by seeing, what someone at the other junction does.”

Earl continues his questioning, “Where was my vehicle when you first saw it?” “Your vehicle was on the main road.”, she answers. “Did you see my vehicle at or driving toward the junction, at any time?” “No, I did not.”, she replies. “I have no further questions to ask, your honour.”, Earl declares.

Earl calls his three passengers as witnesses during this same hearing. They confirm his claim that he gave his name when asked to give it. These three passengers also stated that Constable Lia Connell never asked for his address. They were consistent in their answers to questions from both Earl and the prosecution.

At this point during the hearing of the case, Magistrate Robin Simpson asks the prosecution a question. He asks them if they have any further questions for any member of the defence. “Your honour, the prosecution does not have any further questions for the defence.”, answers a member of the prosecution team. Magistrate Simpson adjourns the case for a week.

Arrest and establishment of truth

A week later, hearing of the case resumes. The prosecution give a brief summary of their position in the case and Earl does the same. Finally, Magistrate Robin Simpson states his position in the case., “Why is Mr. Farley accused of not stopping at the juncture? Why are the police accusing him of refusing to give his name and address? The police arrested and placed him in a cell at the station, why? He certainly did not commit any arrestable offences.”

He arranges some papers on his desk and pauses for a moment. “The police brought three charges against Mr. Farley that are not justified. Mr. Farley did not commit any of those three offences brought against him. The police should not have arrested him; his arrest was therefore unwarranted.” He turns his head in Earl’s direction and looks at Earl rather calmly. “You are therefore free to go Mr. Farley.”

By Edward Fagan

Refugee entry into certain countries should not be allowed under any circumstances.

Refugee entry should be made illegal by the United States and other western nations. These countries should only grant asylum to members of the Peshmerga and other ethnic Kurdish groups, and members of the Syrian and other regional Judeo-Christian communities.

It is important to note that all persons fleeing Syria and neighbouring countries are not refugees; many are mere opportunists seeking to take advantage of a situation that allows them a chance to settle in a country that offers an easier way of life and a higher standard of living.

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There also is the prospect of ISIS supporters posing as refugees, and joining the refugee mass and entering unsuspecting countries to carry out attacks later. There have been suspected cases of the occurrence of that situation, even recently, in Europe.

There also is the possibility that in the future, some of these same so called refugees or their offspring might become radicalized and take up arms on behalf of ISIS in the country where they have settled.

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What then is the alternative to allowing entry to those fleeing the crisis, and granting them temporary or permanent settlement? The United States and other western nations could encourage the Muslim countries in the region to accept the refugees into their countries for temporary or permanent settlement. This encouragement could be at all levels and could include linking the acceptance of refugees by the Muslim countries of the region to the granting of aid to those countries by the United States and western nations.

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When the Muslim countries agree to accept the refugees, the United States and other western nations could then commit the money and other resources they currently use to settle refugees within their borders, to be donated as aid to those Muslim countries who agree to accept the refugees. That aid could then be requested by those Muslim countries who accept the refugees, according to the needs of each country, in the form of money, shipping, air transport, personnel, technical and military assistance, various types of equipment, information technology, data, advice and other forms of assistance that might be considered necessary for the safe and trouble free transport of the refugees to, and settlement and temporary maintenance of the refugees in, those Muslim countries who accept them.

By Edward Fagan