The formula is a bit complicated, as life tends to be, when speaking of morals and ethics. However, you take equal parts of (Supposed) morals+ ethics +large measure of political correctness=a human train wreck. I have placed ‘supposed’ in brackets because they are never as they are supposed to be. If this isn’t making any sense then I have written it correctly.
The discussion around our ethics and morals always starts out with great interest and enthusiasm and usually ends up in some place a hundred miles from where the conversation started. Perhaps we could start with a simple description of what each is and I promise to stay on topic. Both our ethics and our morals are the rules we choose or try to live by. Our morals, then, represent our personal compass for determining our right/wrong conduct. Our morals are internally driven and are thought to transcend cultural norms. Our ethics represent our rules of conduct to assist a society in determining right/wrong behaviour. These rules are said to be externally driven.
Now this all sounds simple enough and yet we, as a community of human beings, have struggled mightily the last 2-3 generations trying to keep our morals and ethics true to their intent. I understand that few things stay static and there is bound to be some wavering in our thinking around our conduct. Humans want to enjoy more liberty and freedom but at the same time want justice for any grievance done against them. Can’t have that both ways folks.
The legal system has changed it’s interpretations of many of our morals and ethics by their inability to be constant with legal rulings and punishments for breech of conduct. Sometimes its OK to kill somebody if your reason makes sense and the perpetrator can be exonerated or serve little time. On another occasion the same conduct could see the perpetrator be sentenced to 15 years in jail. Other influencing factors regarding the sliding moral and ethical standards that were important to our safety and security not long ago: Who gets to decide when morals and ethics change and change to what? When we witness how our kids go about their business either in school, at home or out in public we see a very different attitude concerning their conduct and what is acceptable. Today almost no behaviour is out of bounds and these new found freedoms are putting others at risk. Society has different views on assisted suicide now, state sponsored capital punishment is almost non-existent and yet it seems to be OK for someone to drive while impaired-kill four people and get 10 years for the trouble. After 2.5 years the driver could be eligible for parole?? Families are actually able to countermand a loved ones will if they don’t like how the estate is divided up. It seems that our youth are thinking less about right or wrong and more about making a point–shootings, stabbings, and preparing to hurt other people on a large scale are becoming more than common place.There isn’t any regard for the sanctity of life now.
The world is changing so rapidly and we are struggling to keep up. It is an exciting time of growth and change but if we don’t get a handle on the rate of change and the impact of the changes we will surely become the victims instead of the beneficiaries. Technology has interfered with this task, a changing legal system has interfered, it seems that the more laws we have or create in order to be all things to all people the more muddy the waters become when trying to stay true to the meaning of morals and ethics. I think that immigration has a role to play here as does multiculturalism and with our efforts to accommodate cultural norms from other places we are paying a price for being ‘nice guys’. I think anyone coming to this country needs to make the effort to assimilate into our society and not the other way around.
Our hedonistic life style, the lack of guidance and consistency coming from parents has become very confusing for our kids and remember they learn what we teach them. Men’s roles, women’s roles and the roles that our children play or are expected to play now is difficult to follow so people just go along with the flow of what is happening around them. Little thought is given to any ethical or moral standards.
I understand that things will change. I get that our lifestyle will change and so will the focus on our lives and our rights. But this doesn’t mean that our values, morals and ethics have to change as well. If anything it should signal that we have to be more careful about how we choose to live our lives and that message needs to go out loud and clear to the next generation of adults. This isn’t the wild west. This is civilization and concern about our neighbours and families and friends is more important now than at any other time. Our morals and ethics will be the determining factors in how the next generation will experience even faster changes in the world we live in.
Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim
Comments and thoughts are welcome. Please let me know at jimcloughley.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org and consider passing this along to family or friends who might enjoy the read.