'Every man for himself' is a most injudicious philosophy

The SE Texas Record Apr. 30, 2013, 9:16am

We all know the type: the homeowners who run their lawn sprinklers during water shortages, the shoppers who fill their grocery carts with multiple units of items marked “one per customer,” the party goers who pick all the cashews out of the bowl of mixed nuts. 

They think that the rules that apply to all the rest of us don’t apply to them, because they’re special.

Consideration for others, common courtesy, fair play – they can’t be bothered with those. No, it’s all about them, all the time. Whatever works to get their way, that’s all they care about. Everyone else is a chump, a pawn to be manipulated for their advantage.

Of course, the examples we cited above represent minor-league boors. Their self-absorption and indifference to the needs of their fellow man have little consequence.

But what do you make of a guy who tries to secure for himself the lion’s share of relief funds intended for the victims of natural disaster?

A guy who amasses hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees from a windstorm insurance agency set up as the insurer of last resort for homeowners with wind and hail damage?

A guy who continues to solicit clients to make claims against the agency even as it’s forced to consider going into receivership because its resources have been depleted by the rapacity of attorneys like him?

A guy who objects to the agency’s new counsel because they don’t settle his cases as quickly and favorably as the previous counsel?

Most indulgent, wouldn’t you say? Most inconsiderate. Most inhumane.

Paul Newman epitomized this type of personality with the title role in the movie Hud, responding to a criticism from his father with this telling line: “I don’t give a damn.”

“That’s the problem with you, Hud,” Melvyn Douglas responded in the film’s most dramatic moment. “You don’t give a damn.”

That’s the problem with this most incorrigible attorney. He doesn’t give a damn either.


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