Where do you draw the line?   This piece will philosophically roam a little I’m afraid because there is no set answer, just an amorphous mess that defies confinement if that makes sense.  If it doesn’t…. here is hoping it will near the end of this writing…  🙂

If you can’t guess what the image is in the heading, try imagining a horizontal volume control like what is displayed in most car radios these days.  On it we have unlimited choices across the realm of what we can hear and we choose where we want to draw the line….

I was reminded of this by a soon to be famous video about Seattle’s schools standing up to Kafkaesque craziness the wealthy and corporate America are foisting upon education.  The video starts out with a teacher giving this analogy….

It is as if a mechanic’s boss told his mechanic to put on an inferior brake instead of one the customer had requested.  The customer will not take off the wheels to inspect.  The mechanic says those brake shoes have problems, they fail. they could kill. The boss says, that’s just hype.  They work in China all the time.  Put them on…. 

Now look at the scale above…… In a child’s world of right and wrong we would all expect the mechanic to say “that was wrong” and refuse to do it….  So what if he loses his job? A child would say he should still not do what was wrong and cause someone’s death… But how many of you have had to do what the boss wanted because you were in no shape to state otherwise?

That is where the sliding scale begins to come in play….  If the mechanic refuses, and boss comes out and says, “leave right now, You were insubordinate and I just fired you”….  his spouse is going to say…”What, now we have no money.  Why didn’t you just put the damn things on!” His parents are going to say..” Kid, sometimes an adult has to make adult decisions.  It doesn’t matter what right or wrong is; it matters what right or wrong is for you. Sorry, can’t help you”.  His future job interviewer is going to say; “your former boss said he fired you for insubordination and you have a no re-hire attached to your name. Sorry, can’t hire you.”  And your drinking buddies are going to say;  “Oh as soon as you left, he got Jacobson to put those cheap brakes on anyway.  You lost your job for nothing…”  The arbitrator at your unemployment hearing is going to say  “We found the charges of insubordination substantiated; repeal denied.”…. No job. No money. Hungry family.

So standing up for what is right really doesn’t pay in today’s corporate controlled world, now.  Does it?  It is good story, but works lousy in real life.

So on the slider above, where would you fall?  Where would you be?  If you try to act like you would refuse to do wrong, you are probably a liar. If you swear you will always do the right and moral thing, you are naive, and probably also a liar.  If you insist you would stand up to that boss, you are a simpleton who really doesn’t know much about life, and don’t need the job to survive.

So on the slider unit above, if the far left is standing up for what is right and immediately refusing and the far right is willingly follow the bosses direction right away… which would be you?

Probably for the most part you would be somewhere in the middle, you will say so if you are being true to yourself… You would probably argue once, twice, or maybe three times against it, and you might agree in theory, but in work, not follow through with that agreement, or you might just say “ok boss”  and then still install the good brake pads.

But if you did, what about the next time.  What about the discrepancy in inventory? Sooner or later it will catch up to you… And then you’ll be fired.

Or you could decided that you follow orders and if your boss made such an order, all results would have to fall on him and not you, and if anyone was to be liable and get caught up if any harm came out of it,  it would be him; so you would follow his command and install the inferior parts…

If you are trying to figure out a way to win this, to come up with a perfect spot on this horizontal dial whether it is the far right, far left, center, middle right, middle left, sadly there isn’t a right way… For depending on which way you view the problem, both are right….  As you go to the right, you look bad from the left. As you go to the left, you look bad from the right.  If you are in the middle, you look bad to both, just not as bad as the others at the far end of the spectrum…

There is no way to win.

Except to have the boss never ask you to substitute cheap parts instead of ones ordered by the car’s owner….

That is the trick.

Now here is what we are being asked to do.

  • Lower our standards of education for all students.
  • Eliminate tuition for all veterans returning from Afghanistan.
  • 125,000 individuals and families put at risk of becoming homeless
  • 100,000 formerly homeless people might be removed from emergency shelters or other housing arrangements
  • Defer maintenance and leave highly necessary staff vacancies open.
  • Because rents are so high, many of these families may, quite literally, find themselves out on the street.
  • Significant cuts, including ones that deliver hot meals to the elderly and another that helps pregnant women.
  • Cuts to the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children known as WIC, which provides food and baby formula for at-risk families.  775,000 low-income women and their children might lose access to or be denied that aid because of the mandatory cuts…
  • Cuts to programs that aid children with special needs; job-training programs that help unemployed people find a new career; foreclosure prevention services; and programs that help 150,000 veterans every year make the transition into the nonmilitary work force.
  • Reduction in jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed..
  • Cut 20% of every military person’s pay.

And why are we being asked to do this?   So the financier’s of the Republican Party like the brake business owner, can make more money……

But this time we do have a choice….  We hire and fire the boss…. Should we fire the Republican bosses?  And replace them with those who have still carry American morals,  and not third world ones?

Where do you want your children to see you, when they look at the sliding  moral scale above?