Boffey, Philip M. "Nader and the Scientists: A Call for Responsibility," Science 171 (12
February 1971), pp. 549-551
This is Science's report on Nader's conference on professional responsibility, a conference which
is summarized elsewhere in this file (Nader, Petkas and Blackwell, editors). It is reported here
that some 200 persons attended the conference. Nader is reported to have said that he is surprised
that so few professionals have blown whistles: "‘Hundreds and often thousands of people are
privy to such information (as dangerous products),' Nader complained, ‘yet they remain silent.'"
He wonders why and urges the formation of an ethic for whistle-blowing.
The very clear message here is that whistle-blowing is a lonely and risky business. The
whistle-blower becomes a "rat fink" rather than a public servant. Moreover, there is a stacked
legal deck against the whistle-blower. Therefore, Nader urges, professionals should gather
together to force management to admit procedures which allow for professional ethics, i.e.