The Politician Integrity Rating Tool (PIRT) is but one tool on TheNewIQ.com website, which is devoted to helping upgrade internal exploration and public discourse about what integrity truly is and how to upgrade it personally, in our relationships, in our communities, in our businesses as a society, in leadership and in politics.
Media: Interview PIRT developer Dr. David Gruder. Visitwww.TheNewIQ.com/media for booking details and more about him.
Event Planners: Contact Dr. Gruder to have him speak about personal, relationship, societal, leadership, or political integrity at your next event.
Q: What motivated you to develop the PIRT?
A: I happened to be in the New York City area on 9/11/2001. Being there was a deeply transformative experience for me. Among other things it resulted in my writing A Declaration of Global Responsibility. You can read this document in the articles section on TheNewIQ.com website. In The New IQ book I chastise my own field of psychology for not incorporating into psychotherapy fuller attention to the reality that being a whole self is 1/3 personal authenticity, 1/3 connection with others and 1/3 impact in the world. Psychology has traditionally used its vast wisdom to help people with the first third of our 3D Self. More recently it has assisted people more and more in developing healthy relationships, which is the second third of our 3D Self. Psychotherapy has yet to have the guts to help people face and develop the third aspect of our 3D Self. I believe that my profession is inadvertently contributing to our cultural lack of integrity by having sidestepped helping clients come to grips with their drive to have positive impact in the world. They have partly avoided this in the name of not wanting to turn psychology into a political tool. But, there are ways to speak up in completely non-partisan ways on behalf of the third aspect of our 3D self. It is time that my profession did that more. My book, The New IQ (and by extension, the PIRT itself) is partly about trying to spark my field of psychology into stepping up to the plate.
Q: The PIRT is a fabulous idea - if you could just depend on people knowing the correct answers to the questions.
A: This rationale is very similar to the one many in the press use to justify not reporting the news in enough depth and completeness so citizens can make truly informed choices. This rational is partly responsible for the public having become dangerously susceptible to spin and propaganda. This susceptibility is a threat to democracy. American news reporting is the most shallow I have seen anywhere in the free world. Everywhere else I’ve worked outside the US that is a first world democracy provides far more in-depth reporting than the US. This is a national disgrace and a bigger part of why we have an integrity crisis than most people realize. The PIRT does not pretend to evaluate the “correct” answers to the questions. Rather, it challenges people to start thinking about integrity in a deeper way and to start demanding true integrity from their politicians. Consciousness-raising must begin somewhere. The PIRT is a tool designed to contribute to that consciousness-raising.
Q: Doesn’t the PIRT ask people to evaluate politician integrity based on incomplete and biased impressions of them?
A: People are definitely asked to judge candidates based on their impressions of them. This is why the PIRT very explicit says that the results do not necessarily reveal the “truth” about a person but rather the way a politician is perceived. It is also why the final two questions on the PIRT are about the evaluator’s own integrity. My dream is to have a dozen or more of the most reputable, balanced and non-partisan journalists who cover the presidential campaigns take the PIRT. Those composite results would provide some really reliable integrity portraits!
Q: But, even though you ask people to rate their own familiarity and objectivity, aren’t they being asked to judge some things about these candidates they have absolutely no way of knowing?
A: In today’s internet age, almost everyone has access to whatever information they need in order to develop a fairly good sense of these things… if they care to do that. The fact that not enough people have been interested in becoming fully informed is an important ingredient in why we’re in as deep trouble as we are today as a culture. Part of the PIRT’s purpose is to help raise people’s awareness of how much they are NOT paying sufficient attention to core candidate dimensions that transcend party affiliation, ideology, religion, stances on specific issues and narrowly defined special interests.
Q: Isn’t the best the general public can do is guess at the answers to these questions based on the mask a candidate is wearing for the public during a campaign?
A: Actually, one of the ten integrity dimensions the PIRT evaluates has to do with how real and transparent people see a candidate as being. The PIRT is designed to draw people into thinking more deeply about ten key dimensions of politician integrity than they have probably been used to doing. My hope is that, as a result, this tool will get people asking more specific and useful questions about integrity than they have known how to ask. My hope is that people will ask these questions of themselves, will pay more attention to them in their personal and work lives, and will raise them publicly more often.
Q: Voters typically have no idea how candidates who are members of Congress vote on anything other than the one or two key issues that seem most important to those voters. Won’t this cause theirPIRT results to be inaccurate?
A: Maybe yes, maybe no, but as I mentioned before, the PIRT can provide accurate results about a person's perceptions of a politician's integrity. But your question brings up an even deeper issue. The tendency you’re pointing out goes to the heart of one of the big problem we face today culturally. Self-serving attitudes and entitlement issues have reached epidemic proportions in our culture today. Democracy is suffering because far too many voters focus on their own legitimate personal interests at the expense of not paying equal attention to questions about what serves collective highest good. This trend partly explains why special interests have succeeded at hijacking so many aspects of our country’s agenda to meet their own self-serving and short-sighted objectives.
Q: So, are you saying that the PIRT is largely an educational device?
A: Yes, exactly! Completing the PIRT gets people curious about what integrity actually is. The PIRTclarifies aspects of integrity that many people have not known how to put into words. It also helps those who may tend to be more socially aware at the expense of neglectin their own development to begin reflecting more deeply about the more personal factors that not only influence politician integrity but their own as well.
Q: Do you have versions of this tool for other purposes?
A: Yes. I have versions for non-political leaders (businesses and other organizations) and for prospective and current employees. These accompany the Integrity Checkups, Integrity Training and Integrity Enhancement Consulting I make available to businesses and business organizations. Those who are interested in discussing these possibilities can contact me via TheNewIQ.com contact page. Also, The New IQ Integrity Makeover Workbook contains extensive self-assessments that go into even greater depth regarding personal and relationship integrity. Those self-assessments are great for helping professionals such as coaches, counselors, psychotherapists, and clergy to use with their clients.