The mother of all moral principles is the principle of the common good — the capacity to care enough about humanity to look beyond ourselves and ensure that our actions produce the best possible outcomes for everything and everyone we touch. All moral principles work in concert to achieve human and planetary welfare, and not just the well-being of a select demographic. The principles of benevolence, temperance, humility, frugality, honesty, respect, compassion, grace, forgiveness and others all exist to promote our collective well-being. All properly applied moral decisions are made with the greatest common good in mind.
When we assess moral will, we examine the purity of our intentions and determine whether we are being selfish or acting on behalf of everything and everyone influenced by our intended actions. When we exercise moral wisdom, we examine all alternative courses of action and their consequences to choose the option that achieves the greatest good for everything and everyone involved. Proper moral conduct is always a selfless act that realizes the best possible human and planetary outcome.
Any self-serving act made by a person of influence is immoral.
Any decision that is not predicated on an earnest attempt to analyze its global, far-reaching impact is immoral.
Any policy, procedure, guideline, regulation, or law that attempts to thwart, circumvent, compromise or otherwise oppose the principle of the greatest good is immoral.
There are no exceptions or exemptions to the conscientious application of moral conduct. Business agents and public servants do not get a free pass. Either they act with pure intention for our greatest good or they don’t. And we can readily examine the consequences of their actions to determine whether their decisions are morally sound or morally negligent. If the latter, the consequences for negligence should always be greater than the anticipated reward.
So let’s be clear…
The conduct of a politician who fails to apply moral will and wisdom in his decision-making is immoral.
The conduct of a business person who makes decisions about his company’s profits without considering the externalities of human and planetary welfare is also immoral.
As conscientious and concerned citizens of a highly interconnected and interdependent society, we must demand moral conduct from our corporate and government leaders. Our failure to hold corporations and governance accountable for their negligence has unraveled our social fabric and caused much of our undoing. We can no longer afford to allow the corporate and political elite to define our social values for us. Rather, it is time to take control of our values, our country, and ultimately ourselves. And if corporate leaders and politicians are unwilling or unable to do the morally right things, then we must have the moral courage to take control and do it for them.