Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where is America's Ethical Base?

We wonder what's happened to the America we imagined when we were children. I, like most people, really love my country. In some ways, it's gotten incredibly better. I dated the prettiest girl in college, but because she was Chinese, I didn't have a lot of competition. Today I wouldn't meet her expectations. African Americans were really mistreated openly, but a lot of that has changed for the better. I taught a lot of African Americans and Latinos in college and my life and the country's zeitgeist is better than it was before.

However, every time I gave a test, I knew 70% of the class had cheated before. Bankers used to be boring people that mostly tried to do the safe thing. Now they are people who would sell out their clients if they could make a buck. Investment bankers come from the top 5% of business school graduates, so they seem to be the best at manipulating the truth.

As I've said before, British political philosopher, Walter Bagehot, said in the 19th century that you could tell a lot about a country by the people they admired. John Corzine is the best example of how our ethics and morality have deteriorated. He was elected senator then governor of New Jersey, before he went on to lose $1.2 billion from restricted accounts used in trading for the fiduciary agent itself.

He's learned the American trick of fake humility when caught with a hand in the cookie jar. He clearly must have never had an ethical base, because anyone with any empathy wouldn't have done that to the small farmers and others who've suffered. Rumors have it that Obama planned to replace Geithner (who's wanted to leave for a while) with Corzine. It's hard to blame all our problems on the tea party when some Democrats have no ethical base. And that's true because Americans have placed money above ethics, empathy and inalienable values.

America, practically alone among nations, does not teach values in our school systems. We don't spend a lot of effort in our schools to explain ethics. The teachers union is a bunch of people who try to protect their tenure. Laws that require political correctness eat away at American values. We wait for the financial system to recover, but if those who are expected to play by the rules have no intention of doing so, then things will only get worse.

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