This I Believe

Gregg, Eugene Stuart


And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Eugene S. Gregg is Vice President and General Manager of Westrex Corporation, a subsidiary of Western Electric. Well-known in financial circles for his extensive writings, he has taught economics in college and served world commerce in positions in and out of government. Here is Eugene Gregg.
A man seldom speaks openly about what he believes, because most beliefs are almost embarrassingly personal and somewhat as icebergs, lie largely under the surface. It is particularly difficult for a businessman to be
articulate about such things, since he deals mainly with the material and the concrete. Most of my business life has been spent in foreign trade, which requires getting on amicably with many kinds of people. I have traveled frequently to most countries outside the Iron Curtain, and in happier times to many of the countries behind this curtain. I have dealt with people of every race, color, and creed. Everywhere in my experience, people respond to tolerance and kindness and courtesy. I have found if one wishes to be respected, one must be respectful. Every individual has his peculiar dignity and is worthy of respect.
From these ideas stem my belief in justice, fair play, and liberty. From them, I derive the personal proposition
that I should do unto others as I would have them do unto me, and the social proposition that government should exist only with the consent of the governed. I believe in the individual as the ultimate source of authority in government and as the awesome arbiter between good and evil on earth. I do not believe a Caesar can ever be made a god. I believe man, while failing ever quite to achieve his noblest dreams of a better life, is still noble because he has such dreams. In searching myself to write this creed, I was not surprised at what I believe, but I have not been too well aware of why I believe these things.
To paraphrase an adage, ‘Scratch an American and you will find a religious man.’ When I scratch myself, I find that
I have been surrounded since birth by religious concepts which are always influencing, or trying to influence, me. These religious ideas have an ancient pedigree and began when God, according to Biblical history, first talked with man. When God called unto Adam, “Where art thou?” he in effect was saying that man has a responsibility to a higher authority. A little later in time, when God asked Cain, “Where is Abel, thy brother?” the responsibility for others and ourselves was clearly indicated. So much of what I believe really gets back to these two principles.
Much later, these responsibilities were stated in a clearer and more forceful way: “And thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind and with all thy strength; and this is the first commandment. And the second is like; namely this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
From these religious concepts, I have developed my ideas of integrity, truthfulness, and whatever humility I am able to achieve. Beliefs are so unsubstantial, and yet they get strength when they are related to something less fallible in man or any self-appointed group of men. There is a validity about true things which is outside our ability to alter. It would indeed be a fearsome world if truth resided only in man to distort or deflect. These are some of the things I believe and some of the reasons why I believe them.
That was Eugene S. Gregg, a New York City businessman, who has done much though the International Chamber of Commerce to promote world trade.