Saturday, November 12, 2011


A lot has been made of Joe Paterno's failure to live up to his "moral obligations" in the midst of the Pennsylvania State child sexual abuse scandal. Which raises this interesting point: Had Paterno's superiors followed up back in 2002, we wouldn't be having this discussion even though Paterno's actions would have been the same.

In light of that, I've come to suspect that most of us never actually fulfill all of the obligations that have been set for us. What happens instead is that circumstances and the community of people around us do most of the heavy lifting, and we just take the credit. This, in turn, prompts us to think of ourselves and others as more active and/or capable than we really are, and thus more less cognizant of the role that external factors play.

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