Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Repair the broken windows and the rest will follow.

The local news tonight covered a story about some Carleton University students who had figured out a way to obtain laundromat services for free. A lot of them took advantage, which isn’t all that surprising really since I don’t know any university student who wouldn’t try to get something for nothing if they could. Not only are budgets tight, but let’s face, there’s a thrill associated with doing something you know is wrong and getting away with it, or “putting it to the man” in 60’s vernacular.

But what was surprising to me were the number of students prepared to go on television and say publicly, yeah, I defrauded the University (or the laundromat franchisee) and I have no intention of paying up.  They are basically admitting that, yes I stole some money, and no, I’m not going to pay it back. (The amounts aren’t trivial, in the hundreds of dollars for some students. The University is however going after the money, for which there is now mucho howling and whining from the perpetrators about how unfair that is.)

Is this the same sense of entitlement at play that says it’s okay to download stolen, or pirated, movies without paying for them? broken-windowOr music? Or 3rd year term papers?

I don’t know, but when I see our prime minister stand up and defend illegal funding actions as “accounting disagreements”, or justify tampering with signed government documents as “administrative issues”, it becomes significantly more difficult for society to take a moral stance and challenge the ethics of those who see nothing wrong with such behaviour.

We have a lot of broken windows to fix.


rww said...

Maybe they see universities charging students an extra fee to give them their actual degree that they have worked hard for and paid thousands of dollars in tuition to earn just because they can get away with it and they base their sense of ethics on that behaviour.

Canajun said...

@RWW - That's not a justification. You may think your corner store is charging too much for an item; that doesn't give you the right to simply take it.

Aaron Johnson said...

Regardless of what they feel is fair/unfair, stealing money means you must payit back