What Kind of Courage Does It Take to Be a Whistle Blower?

The U.S. federal government instituted a program, known as the “Tuskegee Experiment,” to study the effects of not treating African-Americans who had an illness called syphilis. This is a serious illness which worsens without treatment.

People conducting the program failed to tell the patients that they had the disease. They also failed to tell the patients that the program was purposefully withholding treatment so scientists could study how treatment versus non-treatment impacted the disease in human beings.

It took forty years before someone revealed the truth of the government’s actions in the “Tuskegee Experiment.”  

What kind of courage would it take to “blow the whistle” on such an “experiment?”

Does it - or should it - make a difference when a potential whistle blower has uncovered what the government is up to in such an “experiment?” Why, or why not?

Do governments, which are entrusted with the public safety and well-being, have a heightened responsibility not to mistreat people by beginning and continuing such “experiments?” Why, or why not?

Do private companies, which produce goods and services, also have a responsibility not to conduct “experiments” which harm anyone? Would it be easier, or not easier, to “blow the whistle” on a private company? Explain your answer.

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