Friday, December 12, 2008

The Cheating Culture

The Cheating Culture Add Image
David Callahan

The main focus of the book is that a winner take all society fosters a dishonest society. This book is full of example after example on how cheating is rife throughout our society, in sports, business, sports, education, law, and in the medical field. You come away with a depressed feeling about our world because you can see exactly what he is saying in the news, but more often than not you can probably recognize the same things a lot closer to home.

This book was extremely easy to read and very clear. No principle is put forth without using several examples, which I like. The weakness lies in his personal politics and his readiness to blame everything on the conservative movement. While he does make several good points, it is a shame that his biases undercut his overall message. Yes the unrestrained politics of the right have led to several moral problems in our society, but that is not to say the left get a free pass on the blame. It goes back to my problem with partisan politics as a whole.

One point he makes is that I could walk into a bank with a gun and rob it of say $1000. If caught I would be spending a lot of time in a very rough prison paying for my crime. Now if I was a higher-up in said bank I could bilk it out of 100 million dollars through fraud and spend less time in a easy prison. Then after a small fine (in relation to what I stole) I would still walk away with tens of millions. When people get life in prison for misdemeanors (due to the 3 strikes law), how is this fair? How does this promote a more honest and equitable society?

It is funny that his weakness in attributing all the bad to the conservatives, he touts the former Democratic Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, as one of the true heroes of our time. The author unfortunately through his biased blindness didn't see that bad people come from all political stripes.

Overall it was worth the read for the wonderful examples, but it had the opportunity to be a much better book if not for the political rant the author insisted on infusing in the later chapters. For example, President Bush stole the election through dishonest means (i.e. he cheated) and his brother got away with massive fraud (which he probably actually did), but yet not one mention of the Clintons, especially Senator Hillary Clinton's amazing investing skills or how President Clinton basically got away unscathed for all his doings in the White House. The double standard was extremely disappointing.

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