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by Chris Chipman, Columnist

Brandon Huber, a — now — former
employee of the restaurant chain Golden Corral in Port Orange, Fla., has
recently made headlines across the nation.

Brandon shot a video depicting the disgusting habits Golden Corral carries
out in order to pass inspection. The viral video shows raw meat and other foods
by the dumpster that were put there intentionally by the company in order to
avoid inspection.

 

According to the owner of the
restaurant, the manager placed the food items near the dumpster because they
were thawed and handled incorrectly, and he did not want the inspectors to note
this in their report. The manager has recently been fired by the company, but
Golden Corral still faces heavy scrutiny.

 

In my opinion, this recent scandal
exemplifies what I have noticed as a growing problem: the amount of apathy
throughout the general public.

 

I encounter examples of this almost
every day. When I run into strangers doing everyday activities, it shocks me
how apathetic their mannerisms and language are. It seems to me like more and
more people just do not care about much of anything anymore, and I am not the
only one who thinks this way.

 

Nicole Manuel, Chief Economics
Correspondent for SDA Network News and a regular contributor to Yahoo! Voices,
wrote an article a few years ago about the growing apathetic mindset of the
American people. She states that, “Only by being aware of your ability to
promote change can we, as a society, truly progress.”

 

So, what is causing this growth in
apathy among us? Self-interest definitely plays a role.

 

In Golden Corral’s case, if they got
away with serving the food that the inspectors would have deemed inedible, they
would have saved money in the process. Golden Corral’s apathetic feelings
towards the health of their customers were because of their own self-interest
in additional income. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at the accredited
Santa Clara University in California recently posted an article on their
homepage, dissecting the motive of the “good Samaritan.”

 

The authors behind the article,
Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez, state that many psychologists and
philosophers believe humans act purely out of self-interest. For example, as
described in the article, a famous 17th century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, was
asked why he occasionally gave money to the needy. He said he gave them money “to
relieve his own discomfort at seeing the beggars in need.”

 

In other words, he felt no empathy
towards the individuals, and gave money to the beggars to make himself feel
better about the situation.

 

I have noticed that students have
fallen into the apathetic trap as well. When I make conversation with people in
my classes, I get the impression that they don’t care much about their grades,
even though they are paying a lot of money to attend school. What is
interesting to me is that education and intelligence can help ease apathetic
feelings, because ignorance makes it a lot easier for us not to care.

 

Apathy seems to have a tight grip on
American society as a whole, and the things we do care about are completely
superficial. We care about appearance, gossip and reality TV instead of each
other. We settle instead of working towards our goals. Once adversity rears its
head, we collapse and give up instead of pushing through.

 

Empathy is hard to come by, even though empathy makes the world a
much more enjoyable place.

 

Chris
is a junior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Questions or comments
regarding his column can be sent to dv_cdchipm1@exchange.ilstu.edu.

 

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