Harvard is complaining that 125 students cheated by collaborating on a take-home exam in a course called “Introduction to Congress” (syllabus), part of their Government department. As this was the final exam, however, could it be that the students simply had absorbed the lessons of the class? It is unclear whether or not the career of Ted Kennedy was covered, for example, but he was surely one of the most successful members of Congress and, in 1951, he sent a friend to take a final exam in Spanish for him (Harvard suspended Kennedy for two years following this infraction).
Cheating does not work well in a competitive marketplace. Customers eventually figure out that a product does not do what was promised or that an alternative vendor has a superior product. But cheating can be very effective for government workers and politicians. My old home of Montgomery County, Maryland has close to the lowest crime rate in the state (source), yet 77 percent of the police officers retire with a service-related disability (source). Members of Congress can make money via insider trading (see this article on Peter Schweizer’s book) Voters expect politicians to lie to them, promising stuff that cannot possibly be delivered.
After learning all of this, is it reasonable to expect students to take the high/difficult road?