Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A moral compass.......

There are few things of more value to a person than a healthy and well calibrated moral compass.

I am not speaking of religion, although that can help some people understand and act.

I am speaking of a certainty of right and wrong. Is an action right, or wrong? A belief, a law, a statement, a thought..... you name it. The ability to judge right from wrong with enough certainty to act is key to a healthy personality and character.

Do not look to the law for help. Hear me now..... Legal vs illegal does not have anything to do with right vs wrong. It never has and
never will.

Doubt the validity of this statement? Can you hear Judge Dredd (Sly Stalone) in your head saying "It's Da LAWWwwww"?

Remember these points when you hear "Because it's the law":

It was legal to own slaves in the united states, and beat them to death when you wished.

It was illegal for woman to vote in the united states for most of our national history.

It was illegal for blacks to own firearms in most southern states up until the 1950's. (the genesis of most of our national gun control laws).

While it is illegal for a citizen to tell an untruth to any federal agent, AG Janet Reno stated it is common and legal for federal agents to lie to citizens.

The point is this.... don't look for the law to be a moral record of right and wrong. By the same token religion in almost all it's forms has neatly removed itself from the arena as well. History is replete with wars and atrocities performed by humans acting under orders from other humans reporting to act under orders from various gods.

No buck to be passed here.... "Ve Vere only following Orders" will never
be an acceptable defense.

Every person needs a sense of right vs wrong, a moral compass if you will.

Where do you get it from? Still working on that point..... back later.


Anne Bonney said...

Well said. There are still laws on the books in many states in our free land that would not pass the morality compass test.

I think the acquisition of moral understanding may be found at one of the higher levels of Maslow's hierarchy. How to get there is the issue.

I'll stop back for more of your thoughts on the topic.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Since you are a teacher, maybe you can answer a question that has nagged me for a while. Do they teach any of this in schools today?

I'm not young but I am not an antique either. In the 1960s I remember teachers TEACHING / DISCUSSING ethics and morals with the young students. Stealing was not good, telling fibs was not good, judging others was not good, bullying was not good, cheating on tests was not good, dope was not good. Students were told that good citizens VOTED, good citizens kept abreast of the news, good citizens helped family and friends.

Much of what I learned as a kid stuck with me. If kids are not learning morality from schools, from home, or from church... what chance is there that they can ever find true north on a moral compass?

Carteach0 said...

In my experience as a Tech instructor for high school seniors, there is little or no actual curriculum in schools that deals with actual moral decisions. Sure, there is stuff on racism and bullying, but what little there is of that appears to be more motivated by fear of expensive legal action than an actual caring about moral education.

A lawsuit over bullying can cost a school district millions, and has many times in the past. They react to that. They NEVER get sued for turning out truly horendous citizens.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

"They NEVER get sued for turning out truly horendous citizens"