The recent news events of Pennsylvania State should give us reason to question just how much one person can impose their will upon a group of others, especially when the group is an organized system.
Systems exist only to perpetuate their own existence. There is nothing moral or immoral about them. Through those who move them, systems respond to threats by covering them up.
When reports of child molestation by a football coach got to the attention in 2002 of the most powerful person at the university, Head Coach Joe Paterno, he chose not to notify the police. He instead told the school’s athletic director and apparently gave it little thought after that.
Like most people, Paterno could not think outside the box that his system had placed him in. Had he told legal authorities nine years ago, the scandal would likely have gone public and hurt the reputation of Penn State.
Bad publicity leads to less alumni support for the school’s programs, such as football. It reduces enrollment and money coming into the school. It makes professors and coaches look elsewhere for work so they don’t have to explain why they work where child molesters do.
Regarded as a man of integrity by many, Paterno chose not to value the importance of apprehending criminals and protecting youth from predators. Of all people, he could have challenged the system to investigate the matter thoroughly.
The system instills fear in all of us. It is easy to criticize Paterno and others who failed to rise above the group’s need to cover itself. But how many of us would risk our jobs to promote our values?