A good article, Joe. Many years ago a colleague I was working with at a large pharmaceuticals organization pointed to a poster he’d put on his wall. It said, “No good deed goes unpunished.” It’s unclear to me, even after more than 60 years on this planet, why a few people seek to live according to their inner values while most simply do whatever the group norm makes easiest. Whatever the root cause, I suspect it’s this ability to think and act independently of facile group norms and pure selfishness that makes others so uncomfortable and often quite hostile when confronted by someone acting altruistically.

It’s also interesting to note that any musing on the question of personal ethics inevitably brings up the “so you think you’re better than me!” reaction, which is simply an example of the discomfort indicated above.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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