Furthest Right

Defining “corruption”

In a first-year pharmacology class at Harvard Medical School, Matt Zerden grew wary as the professor promoted the benefits of cholesterol drugs and seemed to belittle a student who asked about side effects.

Mr. Zerden later discovered something by searching online that he began sharing with his classmates. The professor was not only a full-time member of the Harvard Medical faculty, but a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including five makers of cholesterol treatments.


My hypothesis: humanity is universally impoverished except in rare situations where a strong leader with a positive, morally-vigilant vision intervenes.

Corruption is a word that can be re-defined by image, when it is an abstract concept. Concept: taking a personal reward to avoid doing what is right. Image: shady people in back alleys sliding cops bundles of twenties. Reality: in any situation, there can be a reward — publicity, cash, free vacations, shared favors — for leaning slightly toward an outcome not inherent to the task itself.

What we see at Harvard Medical School is corruption. But will we recognize it as such? Or has our society, in its rush to decline, redefined corruption already for its own convenience, so that we do not recognize this practice for what it is, and see it as “business as usual” so “don’t rock the boat”?

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