On the college admissions scandal, stealing someone else’s opportunity in the way it was allegedly done is one of the worst acts imaginable. It is indeed the polar opposite of helping someone else help himself, the least selfish thing one can do, in helping another person become self-sufficient.
In my new book, The Secret Life: A Book of Wisdom, I write that Maimonides taught that we will succeed in life only when we are true to ourselves. While we should continually strive to become the noblest version of ourselves, we must never pretend to be someone else, or pretend to be a different person from who we are, or different from the person who we are sincerely striving to become.
The college admissions tricksters stole places from those who had earned those spots. The victims are not obscure: they are real people with real names and faces, and we know exactly who they are. They are the ones who were on admissions waiting lists at these elite schools but who never wound up getting in.
The tricksters, in pretending to be what they were not - namely, sports champions - were mocking the true sports heroes, the high school students who woke up at four o’clock every morning to train and become great athletes competing for the few open roster spots on the competitive athletic teams at these elite schools. These are the true champions who were denied their rightful spots due to the alleged scheme, and they are the second group of victims here who have paid a heavy price.