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Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?

catspaw49 08 Sep 01 - 01:39 PM
kendall 08 Sep 01 - 01:58 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Sep 01 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,The Question Man 08 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM
CarolC 08 Sep 01 - 02:21 PM
katlaughing 08 Sep 01 - 02:31 PM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 01 - 02:35 PM
Amos 08 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM
Metchosin 08 Sep 01 - 02:40 PM
CarolC 08 Sep 01 - 02:41 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Sep 01 - 02:45 PM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 01 - 03:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM
Amos 08 Sep 01 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,yout #1 Fan 08 Sep 01 - 05:11 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Sep 01 - 08:06 PM
Little Neophyte 08 Sep 01 - 08:47 PM
catspaw49 08 Sep 01 - 08:58 PM
Justa Picker 08 Sep 01 - 08:59 PM
Deckman 08 Sep 01 - 10:23 PM
Jeri 08 Sep 01 - 10:25 PM
Barry Finn 09 Sep 01 - 12:01 AM
Amos 09 Sep 01 - 10:07 AM
Sourdough 09 Sep 01 - 01:51 PM
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Subject: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 01:39 PM

Several times in the quite excellent McCarthy thread the subject of conscience came up as it naturally would. In one post, Sourdough phrased this thought:

I hope that if and when I am ever called to face my own crisis of conscience, I will have learned something from the actions of people whose lives provide an example of how to act until reason returns.

Many people may go through their entire lives and never face this "crisis of conscience." Some may have faced them on multiple occasions..........How about you? If you did or didn't, it really doesn't change things, the question is what are the influences that you did or might use.

What was the crisis, what influenced you, what, in your heart of hearts, made you act as you did? What things did you take into consideration? From the perspective of hindsight, was it a good decision? (We all rationalize everything to make all decisions "good" decisions, but be as honest as you can).......I guess that may be a bit too personal and too much to ask, but do what you can.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: kendall
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 01:58 PM

When I was a law enforcement officer for the State of Maine, Department of Sea & Shore Fisheries, I caught a man coming out of a closed area with two hods of clams. He was a commercial digger, and, had every intention of selling them to a seafood dealer. These clams were severly polluted with e coli, but this scum bag didn't care. Problem was, I did not see him digging in the closed area, but, I knew he did, because the area just beyong him was all ledges with no clam flats at all. Now, possession of clams in a polluted area carried a minimum fine, but, digging there meant a heavy fine and loss of license. My supervisor told me to testify that I had seen him digging in the polluted area. I said "No, I did not see him digging there" He said "You WILL testify that you saw him digging."

I lucked out because I didn't have to testify at all, his lawyer threw him to the dogs, and he got the maximum. I would have testified that I did not see him dig, and I would have been on the bosses' shit list, but, I'd rather be on HIS shit list than on my own!


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:08 PM

I don't think I have a conscience... I seem to recall trading it in the 6th grade for a cop up some girls dress...

:-)


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: GUEST,The Question Man
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:17 PM

Why is it that whenever someone introduces a serious thread into Mudcat, someone like Clinton Hammond has to prove what a complete asshole he is by mawking it?


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:21 PM

Yes. A few times. I can't go into details. There were no good choices available to me, so I formed my decisions based on whether or not I would be able to live with myself if I didn't follow my conscience and things turned out badly. The short term consequences were horrific, but the long term outcomes were very good. If I had to make these decisions over again, I would do exactly as I did.

I was influenced to some extent by some close friends, by some books I'd read, and by a wise and gentle man who helped me understand how much is enough.

And I thought about Raoul Wallenberg a lot. I figured that no matter how bad it got, it couldn't be worse than what he went through.


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:31 PM

Boy, nothing like posing some really deep ones, Spaw! I'll have to think about it for awhile, but what comes to mind right off the bat is the first time I decided to get divorced. I was 21 with two children under 5 years old. The implications of staying or leaving were scary. My family were all helpful, but the one person I turned to the most was my oldest sister, Betty. She gave me reassurance, confidence, and enough advice from her own experiences as a mother and teacher of young children, that I was able to make that momentous decision. I have never regretted it and will always be grateful for her counsel. (I guess you could say she was my Jiminy Cricket*bg*)

Now, I know that may not be exactly the type of crisis of conscience you were meaning, but considering what the consequences would be for my chldren and myself, as well as for their father, was very much a crisis and I had to live with the ultimate decision, so it effected my conscience, too.

kat


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:35 PM

Often. And I am often the person my step-daughter comes to, to sort out hers.

My advice to her, that I try to follow, is this:

1. What is your belief system, and what does it say about this in principle?

2. What is the written wisdom of your belief system, and what does it say abou this in specific?

3. What do you hear back from God when you pray about it?

4. What are your own goals and priorities right now?

5. What distresses of your own are in the way of you thinking clearly about this? (We go into session on those.)

6. Is there a reason that fits your beliefs and priorities, to take urgent action of some sort? Or can it wait until you have wrestled with all of the above and let yourself mull over new perspectives about it?

My experience has been that no one can answer these questions except a person suddenly standing at the intersection of belief and action.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM

Been close to there a few times; I have gotten used to saying what I see as plainly as I can, within the constraints of manners and effectiveness. But I've also had my share of times when I wished I had spoken up on some minor issue and didn't. But the thing is I have never been in a position such as those Wallenberg went through or those imposed by HUAC where integrity suddenly has a very high price -- mine have all been relatively minor ones. You could call them practice runs, I guess. So far I have always been glad I chose to call things as I saw them. But I have never had to pay a heavy price for the luxury.

And make no mistake, a code of integrity is a luxury in some ways. It is an option that you can afford when your basic survival is unthreatened. Whether you can do so when the knives are out is another question. And perhaps surviving under those circumstances is also a matter of integrity to more basic laws.

A


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Subject: Crisis of Guests...
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:36 PM

TQM...

Get bent... it's an unmoderated forum... take it and like it...

It's just a JOKE anyway!!!

"Oooooo... a SERIOUS thread... Oooooo... I'm all a quiver now..."

*hands TQM a bran muffin*


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Metchosin
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:40 PM

Yup, sometimes daily in minor ways, its our compass. And not in all instances where I felt particularly proud of my chosen direction.

In what I consider major ways, on two occasions and paid dearly. One caused the temporary loss of my sanity and the other cost me further contracts with the federal government. I knew the probable consequences of both intellectually before I acted, but it took quite a while to work out the emotional ramifications in the aftermath.

Was it worth it? Must have been, I'm here and hopefully, whole.


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:41 PM

I would like to add one thing to my post above. I think the single most important thing I took into consideration in making decisions was my own inner sense about what was needed. Even though I was helped somewhat by others, it was my own inner sense about things that influenced me the most. And it served me very well.


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:45 PM

~Susan!!!

That's such a really cool list, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to steal it!!!!

:-)


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 03:15 PM

Gift, CH. But take ALL of it, now! *G*

~S~


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM

I spent about 15 years as a Sales Rep in the graphics field, and was one of the top earners in my company. As such, I was also subject to the highest quotas, and selling printing equipment was the fastest way to reach those quotas. I approached a company who was doing large-format printing in a small shop format, and suggested to the owner that he might increase production, expand his market, and acquire considerable contract work by investing in a fully automated system. This was very speculative on my part, but several days later this fellow said yes he wanted to do this. We're talking about someone who had maybe $15000 worth of capital equipment in his shop looking at buying $200,000 worth of it. I was a bit amazed, but I put him in touch with a lease company, who came back to me saying that there was no way this individual could qualify for such a loan. I advised the man of this, but he was adamant that he wanted to do this, and finally took a second mortgage on his home and a large loan from his brother-in-law to secure the lease. The finance company approved the purchase, but I was beginning to become very agitated about the whole deal.

To cut a very long story shorter, this company counted on instantly generating income to pay the overhead with an avalanche of contract work, left no time for learning to efficiently operate their new equipment, generated incredible amounts of rejected product, lost their contracts, and were bankrupt in 6 months. The owner sued my company and the equipment manufacturer for $750,000, and of course I was the principal representative of the defendants. The pressure was on from my side's lawyers to say little or nothing during the deposition, and to characterize the plaintiff's company as incompetent dolts(not in so many words). What I discovered was that the only thing I COULD do was tell the truth as I saw it...that the printing company and my company both made mistakes. Partially because of this, the suit was settled out of court. I was subsequently reprimanded by my company's owner for my conduct in the sale of the equipment and for a lack of loyalty in my testimony. Meanwhile the quotas rolled on, and every sales person in the company continued to sell equipment to whomever they could. But the events certainly had an impact on me. I felt that my integrity had been compromised, not by my behavior in the wake of the bankrupcy, but by my participation in the entire process that led to it. I left my company shortly afterward.

My story may not be an example of doing what's right in a clear-cut right or wrong situation, but it strikes me that life is seldom like that, and often the best we can do is step back, decide on the best course of action, and go ahead.


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 04:58 PM

LEJ --

That's the hardest part -- these situations are often compounded of very dense layers of dedicated stupidity, such as envisioning revenue from unlikely sources, or, in other frameworks, buying in to totally off-the-wall premises because someone said so, or worse, someone said God said so!! Jihads, crusades, cults, and business failures as well as political shambles are born is this kind of soup, as are wars and murders.

This kind of blind unreason makes it really tough to cut through to a clear and right-minded course of action.

Sounds to me like you did the best you could do. Loyalty to a profit-margin is no loyaolty at all!

Regards,

A.


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Subject: Hey Clinton Hammond
From: GUEST,yout #1 Fan
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 05:11 PM

Hey Clinton,

If you want to inject some humor into this drivel, then I'm right with you. These people that take discussions like this seriously do need a bran muffin, or maybe a broomstick shoved up their politically correct assholes.

Cinton Hammond's #1 Fan


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 08:06 PM

Spaw! What a great idea for a thread!

Yeah, I don't know if the word "crisis" applies, but there have been a few times in my life when I was conscious of having to make a decision on a matter of ethics.

Here's one example, from long ago. I went to college on two scholarships. One of them had no strings attached -- I could keep it as long as I didn't flunk out. For the other one, I had to maintain a minimum grade point average -- I think it was 2.50. The rule was, if I missed that number two semesters in a row, the money would stop. I think it was about $800 per year, and that was a lot more money in 1966 than now. I think my total tuition was about $1100 per year. Also, I was living in a dorm far from home, and had to pay room and board.

Well, I hit the sophomore slump, and missed the 2.50 by a few points. I received a warning letter from the administrator of the scholarship.

A semester later, I missed it again. Of course, I knew what my grades were long before the administrator did, so I was resigned to the fact that I would lose my scholarship. But, surprise! I received a letter from the administrator congratulating me on bringing up my GPA so that my scholarship could be continued. (I had brought it up a little, but not enough.)

Well, I calculated and recalculated my GPA every way I could think of, and became sadly convinced that it wasn't my mistake; it was the administrator's. (In those days, such things weren't done on computers, and the GPA wasn't printed on the transcript; you had to figure it out yourself from the grades on each course.)

So I knew what I had to do. I wrote a letter to the scholarship administrator, pointing out that she had made a mistake. She wrote back, thanking me for "being so honest," but of course, rules were rules, the scholarship money had to stop.

Fortunately, I had good summer jobs all through college, and I lived with my parents during the summer and saved my money. With my savings plus the other scholarship, I was able to pay all my expenses, and my parents didn't have to contribute anything more than room and board during the summers. I was proud of that. I also consoled myself with the thought that the money I had turned down hopefully went to another student who needed it more than I did.

* * *

But lest you think I'm an all-around Goody Two-Shoes, I'll tell you another story. Once a couple of years ago, I went to get money out of a cash machine. (That's what they call them here in Minnesota. It's an ATM to the rest of you.) I requested $100. The machine spat out four $20 bills, and then it sat and buzzed and whirred for a long time. Finally, a message appeared on the screen. "Count your money carefully. There may have been a mistake. Report any errors promptly . . ." Well, I had received $80, but I looked at my "receipt" (a misnomer), and it said $80. So I figured, as long as everything balanced, there was nothing to report. I forgot about it until I got my next bank statement.

I saw that they first showed a withdrawal of $80 and then, sometime later, they reversed that transaction, crediting me with $80. A note of explanation said there had been a problem with a cash machine. I made a mental note of the fact that I really ought to call the bank and tell them, but, as they say, I "never got around to it."

So, what am I? And honest person or a crook?


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 08:47 PM

Well now that we are talking about crooks, I got a story. About 10 years ago I was in a fine restaurant having lunch by myself. It was around Valentines Day. Beside me sat a couple. The guy was a corporate business type man who was so much older than his very attractive female companion. They never spoke a word all through lunch. I was so puzzled by this couple. After they left I saw the young woman had left an envelope behind on the seat. I don't know what possessed me but I took the envelope and opened it. Inside I found a Valentines Card. It had a picture of Napoleon on the cover and inside the card the caption read 'Tonight Josephine?' with Josephine slashed and Jane written instead. There was $400.00 cash in the envelope. I took the money and spent it all on a crazy shopping spree that afternoon.
To this day I feel so bad. I wish I could find that women and give her back her hard earned money.

Little Neo who is a crook for sure!


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 08:58 PM

Didja' buy any white socks?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 08:59 PM

Neo, she hadn't earned it yet, when you found it!


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 10:23 PM

GREAT THREAD! I'll be contributing something in a bit. You know, this thread is all abou ETHICS! Great idea ... folksingers with ETHICS! (reminds me of a bunch of songs) Bob


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 10:25 PM

It's too difficult to explain the details on this. Most of the risk was probably in my own mind, anyway. When I was in the military, I had a friend who was HIV positive. He was also subpoenaed to be a witness in someone else's court martial, and was told he was immune to prosecution. (They were lying.) He would be kicked out, though. Anyway, his health was failing, he was on the verge of the court martial, and he asked me to make him an appointment at a far-away Air Force Medical Center. (One that handled people who were HIV positive.) He didn't ask my boss, whose place it was to do it, because he thought my boss would have ignored him. I explained the situation folks in detail to sympathetic, and succeeded in making the appointment. I think they might have even kept him there for a few extra days just for the hell of it.

My boss wound up saying I'd done the right thing, but he was glad I handled it. The cops and lawyers didn't even contact me. The friend got a medical evaluation that changed his health status and HIV stage classification and gave him some benefits even though the court martial wound up taking away what he otherwise would have had.

I think most people have everything it takes to be a hero except opportunity. I also believe that even heroes don't always do the right thing every single chance they have.


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 12:01 AM

I had been a member of a local roofer's union for a number of years when in 1983 my cousin started to draw heat from the officers. He knew they were stealing, extorting & embezzeling but didn't know how but he kept asking the wrong/right questions. They started in on him & since I was his cousin they also came at me. We were blacklisted & beaten (but couldn't be driven off) & found to be such a problem that we were being prepared to be put on a hit list, after, we were told we weren't worth it, what an insult. Anyway, some secretly patted us on the back while only one really assisted (in secret, he was a member of the E Board), John McLean (RIP) brother of New England mobster, Buddy McLean. We both kept at them until I landed in the hospital after a slight workover. From there on in it was our duty to bring these bastards to there knees & not to give way to their bulling. We eventually won. The local President (who had once served time for murder), went to jail, along with the Business Agent after being tried under the Rico Act (used against orginized crime) which meant they were barred from holding any elected office for the next 13 yrs. Because of this that local has been crime free for 18 yrs now. By many we were seen as traitors but the members were no longer terrorized. As a result my cousin & I ended up leaving the union, we were warned that it would be to easy for us to fall from a roof's edge. We both knew what we were getting ourselves into, I've never once had any regrets.

Some of the results of the story can be found here
https://secure.boston.com/bg_archives/newarch.cgi

Barry Barry


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 10:07 AM

Wow, Barry!! Wodda tale. Sorry to report the Boston Globe has changed their archive system so the above link just goes to a search page and then says you need to set up an account to pay for their archives.

You have my admiration and applause for the toughness and persistance of your position, that's for sure. Way to go.

A.


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Subject: RE: Crisis of Conscience-WereYOU ever there?
From: Sourdough
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 01:51 PM

Yours was a very interesting story, Barry. If I were physically threatened, I might be able to try to call what I hoped was the bluff bluff of the threateners but after being beaten up once, I have no idea of what my reaction would be. What it seems to me is that I would almost have no choice. My decision would have been made for me in hyndreds of small decisions of courage and cowardice made over the years leading up to that point. I would then discover either that I had no choice but to go on in order to keep my self-respect or that I was able to rationalize my way effectively out of risking my health. My point is that I think that it is possible that decisions such as you made are not really made at the intersection of threat and comfort but are a summation of how we have lived up to that time.

I know from first hand experience though that reactions in crisis are not quite as simple as that. In my own life I have acted bravely at some points and at one time in particular I acted with a great deal of cowardice. This has stopped me ever since from taking courage for granted and it has shut me up about talking about the high points because the low point comes to mind too quickly whenever I imply to much of my personal courage.

Somethng else, though, I have come to repect moral courage with an intensity that might never have been possible if I had not experienced the alternative personally.

Sourdough


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