June 26, 2016
Morals, Ethics and Rights
Moral: standards of behaviour; principles of right and wrong.
Ethics: moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity.
Our sense of morals and ethics play a paramount role in our society. Throughout history it has acted as a fundamental foundation from which we derive our sense of right and wrong. Our sense of morals and ethics come almost instinctively, yet we rarely ask the hard questions. Do we truly understand what we can and cannot do? Everyone goes on and on about rights; I have the right to this, you have the right to that, no one has the right to do that etc. But where have these rights come from? The reality is that rights were made up by humans; animals don't live their lives by rights, and different cultures don't live by the same rights. You may argue that everyone has basic rights whether they are acknowledged or not because that is what is morally correct. No one deserves to be mistreated or taken advantage of.
But who decides what is right and what is wrong?
There is no such thing as right and wrong - and perhaps you wish to dismiss it - after all, we shouldn't just let people do whatever we want, that's not how society works. And you would be absolutely correct for saying so. Morality is something that we have enforced in society as a measure of control, to prevent chaos and create order. This moral compass is absolutely necessary for us to work as a community. It helps us develop a sense of compassion and empathy - allowing us to value one another rather than blatantly survive without consequence. But breaking down these matters is important nonetheless.
Commonly psychopaths, sociopaths or notorious criminals are considered to lack a sense of morals, ethics or empathy, which is completely false. Everyone grows up with their own set of rules and standards - simply because their set of morals is different from yours does not mean that their morals are less correct or that they don’t exist at all. We need to understand how morals and ethics work because we ultimately punish and reward people according to a common set of morals. What decides which set of rules is correct and what actions are flawed?
Why is it that we go with the majority, and exclude the minority? Why do we act as if the majority is always correct, and enforce rules due to a popularity of morals rather than what makes the most sense? Because throughout history, the majority have been very wrong and at times it was the minority that were the most logical. For example, just a few decades ago it was a crime to be homosexual or a homosexual supporter - this was what the majority deemed to be a morally correct law to enforce, despite the outcry of minority groups. Now we see that figure swapped around, with a large majority viewing such laws as immoral and unethical.
What we deem as correct or immoral should not be seen as an ultimate or universal rule. Rather we should look to develop, improve and evolve our personal set of ethics and morals. Right and wrong is subjective and people rarely act out against their own set of morals. Often these extreme actions are justified by a unique set of ethics that is personal to them. It’s important to recognize that the ethics or morals of a majority should not invalidate those of a minority.
George Carlin - You have no rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-R8T1SuG4
Written by: MidniteAngel
Edited by: Amelia