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Being moral and ethical are not the same

Being moral and being ethical are two different things. Ask me why? If morality is concerned with the part below the neck, ethics is concerned with the part above the neck. Morality is about the goodness or badness of our behavior or external conduct. It can be seen by any human in disregard to whether you did some courses of moral philosophy. Even a child of 8 can tell an adult of 60 that lying is immoral…but the same child cannot tell the old person to be ethical. One day a child of 8 told her aunt of almost 44 years to be ethical, “Aunt, please use your mind…”, the aunt was seriously shocked and felt like pouncing on her. The language used was not expected of a child of that age and to make matters worse, it had some and unexpected offensive connotations of disrespect. When the aunt sternly looked at her, the child innocently smiled and said, “buy me some sweets!” What she wanted to communicate using unethical standards was, “Please could you buy me some sweets”. The child’s expression sounded rude but since no child of that age is expected to understand much about ethics, the aunt swallowed her anger and bought a sweet.
Being ethical means that a person engages his or her power of reason or rationality and choosing wisely what to do in terms good or bad conduct at any time of dilemma. This is not always the case. Some people may act immorally, while reasoning at the same time. This means, the person is immoral but ethical (the problem may be how to make decision on which action to take). A person may be moral, meaning, not behaving in an evil way or using bad language or stealing from someone or telling lies. Generally, those who know the person will say, so and so is a very moral person…but he or she has a guilt mind. (This is a very serious scenario…since it is the mind that should command our actions). He can plan and give wrong ideas. He can help others to act immorally using his power of reasoning and skills. For instance, Mr. X can use proxies and juniors to steal public money in corruption yet he appears an angel in public. For instance, the most dangerous criminals may not be identified by the way they dress and behave in public. Worst enemy is that that you cannot see. They are not visible and you will easily trust them or fall in love with them at any given time…yet what they have in mind is lethal. Such a person is moral but unethical.
Yet some people are both moral and ethical at the same time. Such people are few and counted. They are known as virtuous persons or righteous persons. Believe me, such individuals are not many in our society and that is why it is hard and complicated to deal with elements of corruption. The best way to fight graft is to ensure that morally and legally each person is bound to behave and conduct himself or herself according to moral principles. The same fight on graft must take into consideration human conscience and work on educating the public. Each good citizen must subscribe to both ethics and morality…or one of them and do it well. Each public officer must be tested on psychometric and approved through thorough grillings. This can only reveal ethical capacity. Laws and policies must be in place to deal with conduct and immoral behavior…and the court must play its role accordingly.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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