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In one of the many tapings I did about five years ago, one stuck out. It was a director who sits on several boards and made statements along the lines of – we figure out what is legal — and then we know the sphere of action — everything else is fair game.
I was shocked — but was so much so that I was speechless - and didn’t respond verbally as such on camera.
What caused this to come to mind was a group email I received with a similar theme this weekend — morality is defined by legality. It read “What ought to be is compliance with the law.”
Of course, if you have considered this idea before you recognize that requiring legality to define morality requires many laws. Ever since that incident about five years ago, I have wondered: is that what directors really want – enough laws and their sufficient enforcement to ensure that directors know what the moral lines are?
What happened to the idea of moral principles which go beyond the law? And law that was circumscribed to the fewest number possible that allow for a civil society and the preservation of rights?
I think we have entered a difficult passage if we are to accept that the law can proscribe all that is right and wrong. I think that we have lost our bearings if this is what we believe.
I like the idea of the fewest laws necessary — but if we insist that the law define our morality — we will need many more indeed.
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Eleanor Bloxham www.eleanorbloxham.com
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