No one really expects people to live by their own advice – the priest who seduces young boys, the animal rights activist wearing a snug leather jacket, the fiscal conservative getting yet another pork barrel project for his district, the population control advocate with six children, the environmentalist with a private jet – this has become such a part of modern life that we almost look on the idea of matching words and actions as something touchingly naive – much like the idea of the gentleman himself. Yet walking the talk is very much at the essence of being a gentleman.
Because a man expects to have to match his words with his deeds, he is careful about what he says. For this reason, rarely do you find gentleman among the politicians, preachers, activists, lawyers, journalists, or others who make their living extolling grandiose moral crusades which they, personally, have no intention of following. The first test of any advice to others – which I very much hope I have followed in this book – is, “would I do that myself?”
For the same reason that a gentleman pays his debts – because he has said he would – he also follows his own advice. At the root of his conduct is the idea of sincerity; that he says something because he believes it, not to advance some agenda.