Does the ends justify the means?
What happened to Volkswagen? They seemed to be on the 'up and up with great cars with sleek designs. Why does an established car maker for over half a century cut corners on emissions testing? For what? What was the thought process behind their rationale on purposefully cheating on car emissions? Who stood out to win from this? Should heads roll? Should we signal out individuals and vilify them? Should we trot them out in public and make examples of individual executives? I think not, though it does not excuse their complicit action to cheat. We all make mistakes. The mistake they made was on a grand scale. It affected millions of people. Volkswagen remains a great car even though certain misguided executives steered the company down the wrong path. The corporation as a whole is now paying a deep price for their errors. Hopefully they will be able to recoup and move on.
The ends does not justify the means. When we run a race it DOES matter that we abide by the rules set forth. In terms of jipping the law for what seemed like an advantage at the time, has Volkswagen worked to rectify the issue? It seems not. According to The New York Times, even until recently their are reports that they were not eager to comply with authorities.
On a personal level this hits home for me. As I gather myself to continue to be a better man than I was yesterday I reflect on some of my own shortcomings and how I can change. When I look at the man in the mirror, I know that there is continued room for me to be a better member of the community. We are all fighting our personal battles. How we fight them matters. How we fight them matters. Just like Volkswagen, I need to be able to walk in my integrity. There are others watching and our example reverberates far beyond our scope. We know not how we impact the community by our actions. It is as if we give each other license by our actions.
As I coexist with others on this planet, I consider what God sais in my bible about being an example unto others in the first book of 1 Corinthians 8:12-13:
"But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
I take this moment to rededicate myself and all that I am to God. I do not want to fall by the wayside. I do not want to let my brothers and sisters down. I want to be a light standing shoulder to shoulder with others in my community to do that which is right and good and honorable. This goes beyond our beliefs. One of America's most admired film directors, Spike Lee, aptly called his now classic 1989 movie based in Brooklyn, Do The Right Thing. Doing the right thing for our community matters. It matters.
Volkswagen. We love your cars. Do the right thing. Bite the bullet, own up to it and you'll live. The world is watching (and the stock market!).