Ecclesiastes 7:8 “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
With Ecclesiastes 7:8 in mind, I published the following in Air Force Times this past week (February 8th, 2016):
In a recent New Republic article, ethicist Edward Queen rails against Volkswagen for its “unmistakable malfeasance.” He describes their actions as “an intentionally designed and executed violation of the law” and “an ethical violation of the highest level.”
Interestingly, Dr. Queen traces the VW scandal back to a culture that breeds “moral midgets” who focus on short-term greed and promote an attitude of immediate gratification. Dr. Queen contends that this abhorrent culture stems from one primary and repeated business school lesson: “the only duty of a corporation is return on investment.” According to Dr. Queen, this lesson has been “drilled into generations of business school graduates” driving “tsunamis of corporate malfeasance.” How shameful!
But wait … is it possible that military leaders are following the same path? Each time we encourage short-term successes without regard to long-term consequences we are effectively saying “the only duty of our corporation is return on investment.” Each time we praise, reward, or promote those whose immediate accomplishments are magnificent though they hinder long-term sustainability we are doing the same thing. Each time we create a myopic strategy that solves immediate problems without due regard to enduring results we are following the same path. Each time we fail to equip, encourage, challenge, and compel (and correct) people who are the core of long-term mission success we are delivering the same message.
May American military leaders never be labeled “moral midgets” who create “tsunamis of malfeasance.” A long-term perspective that rewards, promotes, and emphasizes sustainable performance and long-term mission success is the real lesson that should be drilled into generations of military professionals.
This lesson also applies to Christians in all walks of life. In order to avoid tsunamis of malfeasance, Christians in particular must live with a long-term perspective that permeates our lives. Otherwise, we may act like moral midgets instead of moral giants. PLEASE PRAY FOR A LONG-TERM PERSEPCTIVE THAT IS REFLECTED IN OUR ACTIONS AND OUR ATTITUDES.