David Callahan. The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong To Get Ahead. New York: Harvest Books/Harcourt, 2005. Paperback, ix + 366 pp.
In case you missed the news over the last decade or so, here is a book that will review the situation for you: Cheating and lying have become an integral part of American culture and, says the author, the rat-race in a bottom-line economy is to blame.
Callahan, who is cofounder of a public policy center in New York, has compiled ample evidence for America’s moral downhill path, and while his book makes for sad and sobering reading, it is a memorable indictment of the country’s current lifestyle.
From cheating at school, petty shoplifting, and tax evasion to large-scale corporate and governmental cheating and corruption, Americans seem to have discovered an almost-workable alternative to truth and integrity.
Behind the new “everybody does it” amorality looms undoubtedly the deadly vice of greed. Behind that lies a monumental ignorance of what a healthy, wholesome society and personal life look and feel like.
Callahan is calling for a new social contract, which will effectively dispense the sort of medication the “split personality” of America needs, but he also dispenses some practical wisdom for the individual who wants to live as a “chump” in the slowly emerging morally progressive movement.
This is certainly a timely and trenchant book.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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