Why have Bernie Madoff and his associates gone to jail?

The news came that Madoff’s staff was found guilty, and would likely be serving time in jail.

The question is, is it just?

They were all scoundrels, and guilty as sin? So what?

Let’s calm down and look at the bigger picture, and consider their behavior in the framework of the socially acceptable standards.

Who shows us the ethical light, who’s on top, in the public mind at least? Of course, the men of the cloth, the holy people – the pope, and the clergy generally. No matter what your religion is, you’ll defer the place on the top of the ethics heap to your clerics.

And not far below the very top (perhaps just under the medical professionals) we’ll find the judges, those honorable, upright, wise, and honest people.

Below them, are the more common kind of folks; whose ethical duty it is to emulate the already-mentioned ones who are on top of the ethical hierarchy, and to aspire to do what they would do.
So is it right to do what a federal judge would have done? Of course! That’ the high standard to aim at; that’s what’s good, that’s what’s right, that’s what’s proper!

And what did Madoff and his employees do? They told the investors a lie – that they would invest their money, not re-distribute it. It sounds bad on the surface, but is it bad? Does it represent a lower standard of behavior that of a federal judge?

Not at all. Federal judges have the right to act “maliciously and corruptly;” federal judges have the right to substitute the argument for which parties paid their lawyers huge sums of money with utter nonsense of judge’s own fabrication, thus swindling the parties of their argument, of the money spent on building it, of their victory, of their rights, and ultimately of justice.

Since such conduct, being permitted to judges, properly belongs at the very top of the pyramid of ethical behavior, why should the society treat Madoff and his employees as deviants? They only did what the most honest, honorable, upstanding citizens – the federal judges – do. So why would Madoff and his cohorts serve time?
Go figure…

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