Cheaters always prosper

By By Nicholas Pappas

By Nicholas Pappas

We’ve all done it. Eyes wander to filled-in Scantron bubbles. A summer spent battling online Orcs becomes a season of “studying abroad” on a rsum. A terrible slice into deep rough turns up with a miraculous lie.

We are a nation of cheaters.

It was big news when Barry Bonds chased down the home-run record. Whether it was the color of his skin or the stench of his attitude, many people rooted against him. He is a cheater. His record deserves a large, pointy asterisk.

It doesn’t stop there. Now the same scheming comes from Rick Ankiel, the St. Louis Cardinal who purchased 12 months’ worth of human growth hormone from a Florida pharmacy from January through December 2004.

And let’s not leave out the recent cheating by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. A man with an attitude arguably worse than Barry Bonds doesn’t get suspended for even one game. Pacman Jones sits at home and begins a career as a pro wrestler, and Bill Belichick walks sidelines with a light conscience and a heavy hand — weighed down by three ill-gotten Super Bowl rings.

I don’t see the problem. Let’s stop pretending we are a nation of moralists. Sports have always been a microcosm of society. The religious right wants all our elections to focus on values and personal responsibility, yet many of them are committing felonies at tax time, lying to insurance companies or misleading their investors.

The difference is simple. The worth of a man is no longer measured in terms of good deeds or kindness, unless that kindness can be turned into dollar signs. We have two moral compasses — one that dictates how dirty our sex is and how damaging our drugs are, and another very different ethical guide that focuses on business.

When profit and pocket money are the only measures of success, fairness goes out the window. It’s increasingly tempting to leave your ethics at home. An extra home run can be the difference between a $5 million contract and one worth $20 million. A CEO will inflate earnings reports to please Wall Street — and increase their personal stock options by millions while leaving their workers to pick up the pieces.

So leave Barry Bonds alone. He’s no different from anyone. The only way to make it big in this game called the American Dream is to take a few extra dollars from the Monopoly bank.

Business ethics is an oxymoron. My advice to the students at the U is to cheat as much as possible. We should have a business class on cheating — and it should be required. Assignments could focus on ways around tax code, paying off politicians and finding new and innovative ways to take money out of your employees’ pockets.

No papers will be accepted unless they are purchased from an online source and grades will be given based on how well pre-made cheat sheets are hidden. Any student who doesn’t get an “A” is encouraged to bribe and/or blackmail the teacher.

It’s time we started learning ways to actually succeed in capitalist America. I’ll be the first one to register — as soon as I find a way to steal the tuition.

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