America’s Best And Brightest Without a Moral Compass
The old adage “Those who can do, do. Those who can’t do, teach” traceable back to George Bernard Shaw and more recently, Woody Allen, of course is full of exception. The adage mostly justifies why the salary of teachers is so low relative to the importance of their work. These words might be better applied to the current crop of elected officials who populate Congress.
For the past 30 or 40 years, there has been a self congratulatory chorus by American Universities. American MBAs have long been considered the best prepared business people in the world. Lawyers and engineers have been likewise considered exceptional. Doctors and Accountants also clammer to be recognized at the top of the list.
But every so often, however, events unfold and we are left with the shocking question, how could that person (or persons) done such and such? One is struck with the idea that this generation has risen without a hint of ethics or a moral compass. How is that possible?
David Brooks, NYT columnist, points to a lack of reliance on historical bastions for ethics and morality, namely churches and reinforced by family. Others emphasize the higher education process has become too narrow in its mission and has forgotten about the well educated person. Who knows?
Another place to check out these hypotheses is elected officials in Congress. Here are men and women who speak elegantly of religion, moral values, and America’s exceptionalism. What type of example do they set?
Elected members of Congress lay somewheres between teachers and lawyers/engineers/business degreed people in terms of what type of renumeration they can demand. Receiving almost $200,000 a year is a lot more money than a teacher but a lot less than what successful professionals can receive. But Congress members can never be considered dumb. They have found ways to do better.
Congress member enrichment schemes are clever and numerous. These schemes involve the Congress doing something for someone and then the someone sending money somehow and some way back to the Congress member.
One famous example involves defense spending where the newest, most sophisticate, and not surprisingly most expensive planes or ships are constructed of parts made in all 50 States. There is no reasonable chance of this occurring naturally but it s sure way for all Congress members and their supporters to gain lucrative business and in turn buy services from third parties who can innocently reward the Congress person’s campaign, Congress person’s law firm (or business) or as a reward, even hire Congress member’s family members.
In an unbelievable Supreme Court case announced yesterday, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s jail sentence for fraud was reverse. No one questioned the facts that the Governor has received over $150,000 in “gifts” from a business man who was seeking the Governors help in arranging certain meetings and events. The Supreme Court ruled existing law did not preclude this type of behavior! Where is their sense of ethics (why should a Governor get this access to “gifts” and no one else, or why should this business man get help his competitors did not receive) or morality (where is the boundary between friendship and buying favors? Where has ethics and moral compass gone?
Congress members and State Governors have realized that as Government spends trillions, there is a wonderful chance for each member or elected official to divert a little into their own pockets if they forget about ethics and morality.
It appears that in this regard, these elected officials are truly exceptional and wonderful products of their institutes of higher learning.