Everyone screws up. We all have bad moments in our lives, in which we do things that are illegal, or shameful, or deceitful, or lazy, or things we’re just not proud of. If we accept the consequences and try to do better, the world will eventually come to terms with us. Look at Mike Milken. He was involved in some pretty sophisticated wrongdoing that probably took billions of dollars out of savings and loans, which the government had to replace. But he did his time, and is now advising billionaires, financing a cure for prostate cancer, and even friends with the man whose mission was to bring him down, Rudy Giuliani.
Milken may have been a bigger bank robber than a thousand Pretty Boy Floyds, but he at least had the sense to take the rap in the end. You can argue whether he paid enough of a price, but he submitted himself to the system, with nothing but his deeds and his guilty plea on which to judge him. Unfortunately, the world is much too quick, and makes the terms far too easy, for those who sell the secrets of their friends, offering them up to spare their own hides.
I wonder if David Duncan, the fired Arthur Andersen partner in charge of the Enron audit, thinks about these things. In what may be the defining moment of the Enron case, he agreed to plead guilty and give the government information against his old firm, employees, colleagues, and friends. Some will say he is accepting responsibility, at least. Some will say self-preservation entitled him to do this. Some will say Andersen tried to make him the fall guy, so he had to get them first.
Some will say those things, but no one I respect. I think ratting out your friends and colleagues by telling their secrets is one of the lowest things you can do. (Ratting out your daughter by telling her secrets is worse, Marcia Lewis.) Arthur Andersen’s best hope now is to seek dispensation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. No one at the firm seems to have a spine.p> Two Brothers, a Dodge Charger, and a Clogged Toilet br> I’m nine years old, in the back seat of the car with Bart, my younger brother. The family is driving from Detroit to Chicago to visit relatives. I’m making faces at Bart and stop every time Mom is about to turn around. /p>
Finally, Bart says, “Dad, Mike’s throwing napkins out the window.”
As Dad’s disapproval burns through me via the rearview mirror, I play my trump card. “Bart stopped up the toilet this morning before we left and didn’t tell you.”
Bart was terrified when he told me about it that morning. I tried to wrestle with the plunger on his behalf, but succeeded only in turning the bathroom floor into a swamp. When I think back on that time, I wish I hadn’t tattled. I also wish I was miles away when Mom saw the bathroom floor three days later. Eventually, however, I learned that it’s better to take the blame than to divert attention to someone else’s mischief, especially if I learned of that mischief in confidence.p> In a Perfect World, Gordon Liddy and Susan McDougal Would Be Married br> Arthur Andersen’s former CEO, Joe Berardino, is no prince either, nor are the other Andersen partners who crowed to Congress that Duncan did all this himself. (Even Congress smelled a stinker there.) But this doesn’t excuse Duncan’s behavior. If Duncan did wrong, he can fight or give up. But the consequence of his giving up should be his acceptance of responsibility or at least resignation to his fate. Blaming some more people just puts him alongside them in the gutter. /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online