One of the most important character traits of any individual is their morality and ethics. According to Lewis Vaughn, “Morality then is a normative, or evaluation, enterprise. It concerns moral norms or standards that help us decide the rightness of actions, judge the goodness of persons or character, and prescribe the form of moral conduct” (Vaughn 5). There is no widely accepted definition for the correct way of doing something. Essentially, your morals come from your ancestors’ beliefs, hopes, and personal experience.
Moral standards and ethics ultimately shape someone for who they will become in the future through the passing of ethical teachings from one generation to the next. Berreby addresses the division between people considered to be morally “good” and “bad”. People see the morally “good” individuals as “us” and the morally “bad” individuals as “them”. Ideally, this is correct, but there is more than that. Individuals impose ethics of one system of beliefs onto everyone and see themselves as the arbiter of moral ethics. According to Merriam-Webster, an arbiter means a person whose views or actions have the greatest influence over trends in social behavior. They seem to be the authority of what is “right, good, or proper”. As stated before, Berreby argues that there is an “us” versus “them” issue occurring in moral beliefs, but there is a division between “my way” and “everyone else’s way”. Personally, I believe that these have a significant overlap. When individuals believe there is an “us”, there is a similarity to “my way”. Unfortunately, they are not identical. There is a difference between a large public and a single person.
Opinions on topics or actions differ across a community, sta...
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...de by, but parents don’t follow their own set of standards that they inflict upon their children.
Parents enforce rules upon their children, yet they do not follow the rules themselves. An example is adults instruct their kids to never cuss or watch R rated movies. Adults continue to swear and watch bad movies, although they taught “good” ethics to the younger generation. Who is the arbiter of ethics and morals then? The power to dictate what is right and wrong in the hands of whom? These children are being taught rules, regulations, and social norms at a young age, but the “teacher” is providing moral teachings based solely on their own beliefs. Knowledge of society’s expectations will benefit a child through difficult choices in life. It is expected that they pass their knowledge to the generation after them in order to continue having a morally “good” community.
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