At The Deseret News, Lois M. Collins interviews John S. McCain IV:
Honor is a very interesting concept of differing levels, from the personal level to national or even international. The concepts may be a little arcane, but they are important because they provide you with an ethos, with guidance into circumstances where there may not be a clear right thing to do — or circumstances in which it’s difficult to do the right thing.
There’s a very popular line: “Character is doing the right thing when no one’s looking.” I’ve come to hate that line, because I believe it is most difficult sometimes to do the right thing when everyone is looking. You see that throughout history and throughout your personal life. The idea of honor and character is simply doing the right thing by virtue of the fact it’s the right thing to do.
I speak about civility more often. It seems to be a little more pertinent. Whether that’s perception or reality, I’m not sure. But civility, especially interpersonal and political civility, are vastly important not just for bringing the temperature of discourse down. Without civility, it becomes easy to fire back and forth as opposed to, in a political sense, legislating.
You have to cooperate to legislate. If you can’t respect the person across from you or you can’t speak to them, you certainly can’t cooperate. Then you don’t get anything done, which is why you see almost political paralysis across state, local and national governments.
Civility is very near and dear to me.