When I change a procedure, one of the first things I consider is, “Is it legal?” If the answer is Yes, I continue. However, I have recently been reading a lot about different views on how ethics are developed and was surprised to read how even if it is legal, doesn’t mean it is ethical. After reading their examples, I have to agree. Now, I rethink that first question.
Even though something is legal, it does not mean it is the right thing to do. Think of Rosa Parks. What she did by sitting in the front of the bus was not legal at that time. However, it is not right to make laws based on skin color. In fact, many people that get laws changed are sometimes doing it based on “doing the right thing”. Of course this is a vague statement and comes from individual frames of reference.
The big tug seems to be between morals and legality. In every election there is much talk about the morals of the candidate (or lack thereof). Therefore, do people tend to consider the right thing as defined by morals instead of laws? I recently picked up a book regarding some of the most ridiculous laws in America and would agree that with some of those laws on the books (such as in one city it is illegal to walk your duck on a leash in town) I would prefer to use my moral compass instead of what someone could get passed as a bill.