People who cheat or sacrifice moral and ethical boundaries to get ahead are varied in their reasons for doing what they do. Often, the pressure from outside sources to succeed at something can be as strong as the selfish desire for personal gain. HUNTER PARAMORE | Scroll Illustration

The best man always used to be the winner, but now that many winners are cheaters, how we define success needs to change.
The New York Times reported recently that 24 horses die each week at the nation’s state-regulated racetracks due in part to overmedicating injured horses.
Racetrack veterinarians have abandoned their code of ethics, opting not to act in the favor of the horses’ well-being, but instead trying to ensure the horses stay on the track and keep winning.
They often aren’t the ones who see the need to give drugs to the horses. It’s usually the trainer who decides what drugs to give the horse, and the vet complies.
Trainers often suggest drugs like clenbuterol, which is intended to treat breathing problems but which also mimics anabolic steroids. Although doping horses is banned, that doesn’t stop it from happening.
“I’ve had owners send their horses to people they know are not playing by the rules,” said Eric Reed, a Kentucky-based trainer with more than $13 million in career earnings. “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
In today’s society so many individuals have become willing to sacrifice their morals and their ethics to gain perceived success.
Society has confused success with results and performance. If we cheat to gain the success we are so desperate for, is it really success?
The point is almost moot. Reed’s attitude of “if you can’t beat them, join them” is shared by people the world over.
South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh won a gold medal at this year’s summer Olympics. Shortly after he won, van der Burgh announced that he had cheated.
In the event that he competed in, the 100-meter breaststroke, swimmers are allowed to take one dolphin kick at the start of each turn and after each turn.
Van der Burgh admitted to taking two extra kicks. This allowed him to clinch the gold.
“If you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind,” van der Burgh said. “It’s obviously not — shall we say — the moral thing to do, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it.”
This type of attitude is seen not only in athletic competitions, it’s seen in the mindsets of businessmen who are willing to do anything to get ahead.
Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, which the poster child of immorality in the business world.
There’s also Apple to consider.
Violence broke out at Foxconn, an Apple factory in China, on Sept. 23. This violence was driven by the workers’ anger at being mistreated by factory security guards and managers. According an article on The Huffington Post there have been 18 suicides at Foxconn since 2010 due to poor working conditions and low wages. The factory has even installed nets in between the buildings to prevent suicides.
Apple’s disregard for the working conditions at factories it chooses to do business with is just another example of how the world has become OK with abandoning morality to be “successful.”
It would be easy with so much of this unethical behavior around for us to become indifferent to it, especially when it does not seem to affect us personally.
As students, we need to fight this by choosing to be honest and by holding our peers to the same standards. Individuals who cheat or lie to “earn” their grades do not deserve success.
It is our responsibility to participate in our communities — whether it’s locally, nationally or internationally — to say that this type of behavior, this type of attitude, is unacceptable.
We need to strive for true success: don’t be sleazier, be smarter. Success is not a bad thing, but we cannot throw our ethics to the wind while trying to gain it.
Our society cannot afford to give the morals it seems so willing to sacrifice.
When everyone else is OK with the lack of morality, stand and be the voice that says, “I’m not jumping off that bridge just because everyone else is.”