20 March 2009

Academic Honor and Capitalism

Apparently, cheating is on the rise. It isn't any surprise, when you look at Enron, Bernard Madoff, the use of the bailout money, the salaries vs. performance of what appears to be every major corporation that's having any financial problems whatsoever at this point. You don't cheat that big your first time out, and you don't get that good at, or that comfortable with, sliding things around enough to get that ethically out of balance, even if you're still on the light side legally.

If you're going to stop it from happening, you have to stop rewarding it.

Clearly, we have to work our way backwards. I really believe that, as with everything, the first thing to do is STOP it where it is. Take away the carrot. You can implement all the earlier interventions in the world, but you're never going to get people to believe what you think is best for them to believe by force. One belief is simply no stronger than another.

Academic dishonesty isn't any different from selling your shares the night before an unfavorable court ruling you know will crash your stock value. Lying is lying, cheating is cheating. All of it is about getting yourself further ahead by any means possible. In America, we call that "capitalism." All this whining and crying about socialism confounds me.

First of all, we are a million miles from socialism as practiced in Cuba, the old East Germany, North Korea, or China. There is no private industry in socialism. But theoretical socialist ideals of equality, universal health and education benefits, less class distinction and more focus on the collective are GOOD THINGS. Obviously, the actual practice of it has been beaten all to hell by the previously named countries, but American practice of capitalism isn't exactly a paragon anyone decent anywhere else in the world should be pushing to emulate either. Seriously, people, look around...I mean, now that the election is over and these words aren't just for hysterical button-pushing anymore.

Who are we?? First answer: If we're poor, nobody. If we're rich, some kind of damn deity. Look up our census data. www.census.gov Read the information on income, the medians, the lowest, the highest. Look at the poverty level, and the number of people in the family who are existing on those numbers, and then go up, up, up, until you get to where your income is, and you still don't think you have enough. Look at exactly what percentage of our population really does make more than $200,000, and recognize that it wasn't just part of the democrat propaganda. Look at the people waiting for the city buses, even with our supposed "defeats" of racial bias. Take the damn steroids away from pro athletes, for God's sake. Then you can talk to me about cheating, about how to get kids, adolescents, college students, and adults to stop thinking like common predators, how to convince them that there really is plenty for everybody.

Honor "codes" on college campuses have some chance of influencing some people, simply by virtue of pointing out honesty as a favorable quality, as well as by the community focus and involvement. But you can't fix the rearview mirror on a rusted out shell of a car sitting in the middle of a corn field and expect to drive it out of there.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Remember what your mother told you.