I have to confess that I sometimes read HuffPo, but just for the articles—not the pictures! Seriously, folks, I do peruse two sections, “Food” (a perennial topic of interest to me) and “Travel” (ditto). And in the food section I found this weird headline and the article below it:
What? Science tells us we have a moral obligation to drink coffee? Even Mormons? What’s that about? Well, of course, science doesn’t give us any moral obligations, but merely tells us the consequences of our actions. The judgement call on what to do then must come from somewhere else. And here are the “immoral” consequences of not drinking coffee:
While the health benefits of caffeine are under constant debate and scrutiny, professors at the University of Washington, the University of Arizona and the University of North Carolina have found a new argument in favor of consuming more of the stimulant. According to their research, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, caffeine can help employees resist pressure from higher-ups do unethical things at work.
Unfortunately for most of us, sleep deprivation is becoming more and more common as workers work more and more hours, the professors acknowledged. And according to earlier research, sleep deprivation increases unethical behavior.
“When you’re sleep deprived at work, it’s much easier to simply go along with unethical suggestions from your boss because resistance takes effort and you’re already worn down,” David Welsh, an organizational behavior professor at the University of Washington, explained in a release. “However, we found that caffeine can give sleep-deprived individuals the extra energy needed to resist unethical behavior.”
Fine. People who aren’t awake are susceptible to making bad judgements and can more readily be persuaded to do unethical stuff. (Of course, this all comes from a psychology experiment I haven’t read, probably based on undergraduates.) Regardless of what the original research says, though, the “moral obligation” stuff is crap. What about the moral obligation to get enough sleep so you don’t need that coffee? What about the moral obligation to avoid filling your body with too much caffeine that could hurt you? Those are alternative strategies.
But while PuffHo is pondering moral obligations, how about the moral obligation to pay your writers? As we know, PuffHo uses a slave-labor type of contributor, one who is willing to write for free to get whatever exposure PuffHo provides, while Ariana Huffington and her minions reap the profits (AOL owns the site, and Ariana is Editor-in-Chief). I know because they asked me to write for them, and when I found the stipend was $0 I told them to stuff it.
Coopting writers in this way is unethical behavior. AOL, Huffington, and the few wage earners of PuffHo profit from writers who desperately want attention and are willing to take nothing for it. What that does is drive down the stipends for other writers who depend on their skills to make a living. If Slate and Salon can pay (and they don’t pay much), so can PuffHo; and writers should simply say “bucks or nothing.” In fact, I’d go so far as to say that anyone who writes for PuffHo for free is being taken advantage of (that’s polite verbiage for “a sap.”)
And I suppose I’m unethical to read the site, too, which gives the place traffic that line the pockets of the owners.