Once there was a man who wanted everyone to be good.
He himself grew up in a good family. He went to good schools, and was a good student, and when he set out on his career, he founded an non-profit organization based on helping people to become good. He spoke publically about the value of good, wrote widely about the benefits of being good, and modeled with his life the way of the good.
He supported good laws, he teamed with good organizations, he promoted the campaigns of good leaders and he gave away lots of money to fund good causes.
One day, after he had given an impassioned speech about “The Power of Good,” someone asked, “How do you help someone who wants to be bad?”
“There is no one way,” he said wisely, “to make someone who wants to be bad, good. We must fight the bad with multiple weapons. We must put in place good laws to show them what good and bad really are, we must discipline and punish them when they don’t do what is good, we must teach and train them in the process of becoming good and we must always be good ourselves, so that people can see that true goodness is possible.”
Upon hearing this, the listening crowd cheered.
A week later, when this good man was led away to prison for the embezzlement of his investors money he was asked by a reporter, “How is it that a good man like yourself could possibly have cheated the very people who trusted him?”
He responded confidently, “I did nothing wrong. I took the money so that I could do more good in a way that no one would know about.”
“Really?” said the reporter, “It looks like from the evidence that you spent most of that money on homes, cars, trips and entertainments for yourself.”
“I only did that,” said the good man, “so that I could model the intrinsic benefits that come from being truly good.”
When the court case was over and the good man was sentenced to many years in prison, one of the investors who lost her life savings to his swindle, was given a chance to confront him.”
“You harmed me,’ she said, “You took my life savings! Now I don’t have enough to live on and nothing to leave to my children. And the worse thing about you, is what you won’t admit and don’t know.”
“And what doesn’t he know?” asked the judge for everyone in front of the packed courtroom, sitting on the edges of their seats and listening intently.
“He doesn’t know,” said the woman, “That none of us, including him, are good. At best, we are just honest, and perhaps forgiven.”