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When to Defy Orders
By Louis Ferrante
Philadelphia don “Little Nicky” Scarfo wanted to whack mobster Salvatore Testa. Scarfo had one of his capos give the contract to Testa’s best friend, Joe Pungitore. Pungitore was unhappy with the job, but business was business; he had to do it or he’d be killed himself. He agreed to lure Testa to his death but refused to pull the trigger.
When Scarfo was told of Pungitore’s response, he laughed and said, “What the fuck’s the difference?” Scarfo understood that participation in a murder was the same as personally killing someone.
Big corporations don’t put contracts out on their employees, but they can perpetuate evil just as effectively as the Mob.
Unlike a member of the Mafia, who must follow orders or be killed, as an employee of a company, you can say no to an unethical demand or assignment. You don’t have to deny treatment to an ill person who has no health insurance. You don’t have to pick up the phone and harass an old woman drowning in credit-card debt. You can say no. No is such a powerful word that Gandhi, a small man dressed in rags, brought the mighty British Empire to its knees by saying it.
If you’re aware of shady business practices and either look the other way or say to yourself, “I’m just following orders,” tell me, “What the fuck’s the difference?” You’re as guilty as the people you work for.
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