Sunday, June 17, 2012

Doing the Right Thing

“You don’t want to be the outsider who betrays the institution; whistleblowers are always the weirdos,” Lessig said. “There are so many ways to rationalize doing the easy thing. And it’s really easy for us to overlook how our inaction to step up and do even the simplest thing leads to profoundly destructive consequences in our society.”

I asked Cory Booker, the Newark mayor, why he ignored his security team and made a snap decision to run into a burning house to save his neighbor. He said his parents taught him to feel indebted to all the people who had sacrificed for his family. And he recoiled in law school at the idea that there was not always a legal obligation to help the vulnerable.

“We have to fight the dangerous streams in culture, the consumerism and narcissism and me-ism that erode the borders of our moral culture,” he said. “We can’t put shallow celebrity before core decency. We have to have a deeper faith in the human spirit. As they say, he who has the heart to help has the right to complain.”

Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

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