Ethics vs Being Legally Right - Seeker's Thoughts

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Seeker's Thoughts

A blog for the curious and the creative.

Ethics vs Being Legally Right

Ethics are emphasized socially; however, every society has different set of ethics depending upon the cultural and religious belief.  So, ethics can be understood as the set of principles to decide what behavior is considered right. However, ethics do not always dictate a single moral course of actions, yet help in evaluating and deciding among competitors.

Ethics go beyond doing what is legally right and address proper behavior and expectations for those tasked with the responsibility of planning communities in their roles as public officials representing the public good.

People often have different and opposing ethical standards. Ethics are developed from an individual or group’s beliefs, values and morals, which vary from person-to-person and can often be in direct conflict and opposition to another’s. For example in India a love affair is not considered as ethical while it is legally right that one can decided for himself/herself to choose a partner. 

Another example, ethically marrying with the person of other religious communities have been considered ‘unethical’ among fundamentalist and religious orthodox, while legally, it is not the same.

While the law provides clear responsibilities and limits to officials and other individuals responsible for the planning of communities, there is a great deal of flexibility where individuals or groups must make judgments in the best interests of their community, and being guided by strong ethical principles ensures that the best decisions are being made.

On the contrary, if something is legal then it may not be ethical. For example, racial discrimination was legal once but was never ethical.

Ethics is about putting principles into action.  Consistency between what we say we value and what our actions say we value is a matter of integrity.

Ethics is also about self-restraint, i.e., what we should not do:

-         Not doing what you have the power to do.  An act isn’t proper simply because it is permissible or you can get away with it.

-         Not doing what you have the right to do.  There is a big difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.

-         Not doing what you want to do.  In the well-worn turn of phrase, an ethical person often chooses to do more than the law requires and less than the law allows.

Ethics is the rules for deciding correct conduct. Ethics can be evolved as earlier gay rights were non existent in entire world. There were some progressive individuals who did not accept the definition they were taught about being ethical. They did their efforts and today, the world is different place. Legal system is dependent on the ethics of the society, and core of legal system remain ethics. However, legally the process of change is slow, until communities feel themselves that particular law has been hampering the rights of Individuals.