For the first time in many years I heard the expression used without irony that someone had ‘sold out’. In this case, by becoming a lawyer. The contemporary equivalent would be ‘he’s a loser’. Each expression is working at different ends of the spectrum. ‘Selling out’ imples a position on the margins with a counter culture point of view. ‘He’s a loser’ works from the centre looking out. The shift imples much about our cultural drift in recent years. Or else it imples much about the drift in my cultural entourage in recent years.
I don’t understand either point of view. Any slightly complex version of the world involves us all in compromise. And that line we will not cross will shift from day to day, from mood swing to mood swing. See Montaigne again (January 2013).