If you are as disappointed as I am concerning the lying, vote stealing, ballot box stuffing, sexual misconduct revelations, high level theft by state officials,  etc. that have become part of our country, this might help answer our disbelief.

According to Education Portal website, in 1940 only 20 percent of college students admitted to cheating. Today 75 to 98 percent of students admit to cheating. They are cheating not just to pass a test, but to enhance their chances at better jobs or better colleges. Even if you take into account that students today may be just more willing to admit cheating, that in itself is a scary progression from 1940.

During an NPR discussion on cheating, one young man called in to protest that his cheating was not a factor in his character. He said that he and others cheated because they had to in order to get into the best law schools, medical schools, or the most respected universities. His claim was that cheating in this case did not mean that they were immoral. They were moral people with integrity.  Why? Because they needed to cheat to get what they wanted.

In 2010 NPR hosted another discussion concerning cheating. Here is part of the synopsis published on NPR.org:  “Don McCabe, a professor at Rutgers University Business School, has written extensively on academic dishonesty, cheating and plagiarism. He recently conducted a survey of 14,000 undergraduates over the past four years, in which about two-thirds of students admitted to cheating on things like tests, homework and assignments.”

The NPR synopsis continues, “Dr. Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, thinks the No. 1 rationalization for cheating is a heavy workload. He tells Conan that that sort of thinking can set cheaters up for a lifetime of cutting  corners. ‘Unfortunately, if you adopt that kind of convenience rationalization when you’re in college, it will carry over as part of your character into later life,’ …. McCabe and Hanson agree that while students at all levels resort to cheating, it’s those at the top and at the bottom who tend to cheat more….’The top’s cheating to thrive, the bottom’s cheating to survive.'”

Today, we are beginning to reap the consequences of that attitude. It doesn’t matter what you do as a politician because you are doing it “for the country.”  It doesn’t matter what you do in your business or private life because you need to do it to satisfy a personal want or need. “The end justifies the means” is in full swing in our country.

Let’s face it, the thief from the “bad” part of town probably has more integrity than some of the respected “uptowners”.  The gas station robber knows what he is doing is unacceptable, but it is his code, and we can recognize him and his motives. Meanwhile the whitecollar driving the BMW may have no qualms about his methods to achieve business success or that million dollar house–because he believes his integrity and morality are intact as long as he has a good reason for acting without integrity or moral consideration. If he has to lie or cheat, it is alright as long as it either benifits him or it supposedly benefits us.

Our country’s moral decay and loss of integrity continues to expand, even in those that we want to honor and respect as leaders of our nation and communities. The question is, how do we keep the slide of morality and integrity down the “slippery slope” from increasing in speed and, like an avalanche, gathering and destroying everything in its path as it heads to its own goal–the bottom of the slope.

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