Uncategorized

Ethics are optional?

A line graph of Enron's stock price (in USD) from April 23, 2000 to January 11, 2002. Data compiled from Enron Securities Litigation Web Site
A line graph of Enron’s stock price (in USD) from April 23, 2000 to January 11, 2002. Data compiled from Enron Securities Litigation Web Site. Created by Nehrams2020 and licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

Yes, that’s always been true, and more true for some than for others. Popes who fathered children. CEOs who raided stock before departed for bigger and better things, leaving 401k plans in the dust.

But college professors who are “proudly unethical,” writing essays for students?  Yup, it’s going on right now.  Thanks to a recent Gawker article, I got another lesson in what other people think.

The article itself isn’t that amazing.  Like I said, there have been plenty of unethical people throughout history, and it kind of makes sense for academics to write academic papers.  Logical.  But totally, totally wrong.

The point is that there is a company in Montreal that hires unemployed college professors (are they “college professors” is they aren’t employed by a college? I suppose that’s another essay…) to write papers for students for money.  No attempt at teaching.  Purely a paper-writing mill.  The website itself acknowledges that it is unethical for the professors to be writing the papers, but, according to them, that’s okay.  “…because the academic system is already so corrupt, we’re totally cool with that.

Quick point – I’m not sure how they find the system corrupt.  There is no definition of how a college is corrupt.  Sure, I can see it when the administration raids the funds of the university to furnish their own home, but that really has no bearing on the actual quality and standards of the college itself.  (And I’m not going to go into the argument about whether or not grade inflation exists.  It does.  But, if anything, that is in the students’ favor, so don’t complain.)

But back to the point at hand.  The most interesting point about this article is actually the commentary from the people who have read it.  Some people think it’s cheating and therefore wrong.  Or they see it as double-cheating – you’re paying for an education and then cheating on the work, which means you’re also cheating yourself out of the money you’re spending on a supposed education.  My favorite one, however, is from someone who says:

“…if I was an unemployed professor…I’d rather sit at Starbucks writing some Johnnie’s 101 paper than work at Subway, rake leaves or any other d***sucking job.  THIS IS THE FUTURE. GET IN WHERE YOU FIT IN.  ETHICS HAVE BECOME AN IDEA, NOT A REQUIREMENT.”

Hence the title of this blog.  Ethics are optional, as per this anonymous poster who goes by the name “SadDaveKrieg.”

Well, hell, if ethics is optional, why am I paying my bills at all?  Why work?  I can forge forms showing I have a disability.  I mean, obviously, I don’t belong working at a – gasp! – Subway! Only the lowest of the low would do that.  And…bigger gasp…raking leaves! Manual labor? For someone with a degree?  Now that’s even worse than having ethics!

Seriously, what is wrong with this world when we think we’re entitled to do something “where we fit in.”  Who determines where we fit in?

And, keep in mind, I write this as an underemployed college professor who works part-time at two colleges to earn less than a full-time professor but has to teach more classes and has less support.  And I still would rather hang on to my ethics and not be “where I fit in.”  And if I had to work retail, I would.  And if I had to rake leaves, I would.  Because I’d rather have a job “below” me than discover that I compromised what I’d learned and what I believed in.  I have to wonder if “SadDave” has a college degree, and how honest he was in getting it.  And I also have to wonder…did “SadDave” ever take a critical thinking class, or perhaps one on ethics?  Because obviously he deserves his money back on both of them if he did.

Uncategorized

Ethics? What are those?

The Cardsharps by Valentin de Boulogne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Cardsharps by Valentin de Boulogne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Is buying a book review any different than buying a research paper?

On one hand, yeah, it’s totally different.  It’s a book review!  It’s not being submitted for a grade.  But…those seem to be the only differences.

In both cases, it’s someone lying.  Someone misrepresenting the truth.  Someone attempting to fool a reader.  Someone trying to pull the wool over someone else’s eyes.

Where does this cheating come from?  Because, let’s be honest, it is cheating.  It’s an attempt to fool someone into believing something that is not true and for someone to take credit that isn’t theirs to take, whether it’s taking credit in a class or taking credit for a “good” book.

Book reviewers charge more for better reviews, and people who write papers are happy to do so for whatever grade or standard the paying student wants.

How crazy is it that people think these things are okay?  What has gone wrong with the world?  Or has it not changed, only changed mediums?

Think back to the days of snake oils and confidence men.  We have movies (The Sting) and musicals (The Music Man) that actually teach us that this trickery is a skill and requires charm and confidence.  It’s all positive attributes.  Something to be admired.  Good business sense.

And it is good business sense!  Selling book reviews is lucrative as is writing papers for students.  So does that make it okay?  Again, I say no, and from the outraged generated from the fake books reviews and the article written by one of the (anonymous) paper writers, it’s clear that I’m not alone in my attitude.

So where did our ethics go?  Or did we never have them?