Sort of musing here. In continuing with watching old episodes of the TV series, “Northern Exposure”, yesterday’s main plot depicted in two different scenarios was about doing the right thing. In one case it was acknowledging being bested in what would have been a lucrative business deal and the other was temptation to cheat on income tax. There were of course the usual rationalizations about why it wasn’t really cheating even though the “savvy” businessman was certain he had included a provision in the deal that would benefit him in the future at the expense of the other individual. After all, that was just smart business. The fact the other individual slipped in a different provision far more in his favor was – well, that was “unfair”. On the tax side, hey, the government gets plenty of our money and it was a small amount in question they would never know about. In both situations, the right choice was ultimately made at a financial cost to the individuals, plus a severe blow to the pride of the wealthier businessman.
The expression exists that, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking”, and sounds good in principle. Let’s take traffic violations as a simple example though. An individual is behind someone driving 5 miles per hour under the posted speed limit and no way to pass. The slow driver is in fact obeying the law. And yet, the odds are the individual behind will be irritated going into anger depending on how long the situation lasts. Well, “everyone” knows the posted limit isn’t really the limit. And yes, drivers stopped are often let off with a warning depending on the circumstances and the officer involved. In many cases, unless it’s something like a school zone and it is less than 5 miles an hour over, a stop won’t even occur. One logical reason is speedometers can vary, and in reality, if there is no sign of other careless driving, an officer does “look the other way”. On the other hand, that doesn’t always work out and once the ticket is issued and the fine (often hefty) paid, there is usually great indignation on the part of the ticketed driver.