This letter is in response to the Jan. 25 article decrying the decline in public ethics. ASU ethics professor Marianne Jennings asked, "What makes good and smart people ....do really ethically dumb things?"
The answer lies not in "rationalizations, poor role models, organizational values, and the tendency to overestimate our ability to keep a secret," but in the individual and the disturbing trend in our society towards moral relativism.
In an effort to not "offend" various individuals or groups, we have adopted a "what's good for me is good for me, and what's good for you is good for you" approach. The result is the loss of any moral standards or absolutes.
Our moral "standards" are relative to the situation we're in, so the line keeps moving. It's no wonder the youth of our society don't have a sense of what's truly right or wrong -- they've been told it's all relative.
Other people are not the ‘standard' by which we should measure ourselves. The ultimate moral standard is the one set out by God Almighty. He is the definition of what is right, and he never moves that line. And just to be clear, Plato didn't come up with the "golden rule," it came right out of the mouth of Jesus Christ himself.
A wonderful treatise on moral and ethical absolute standards can be found in Matthew, Chapters 5, 6, and 7 -- commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount -- given by Jesus to his followers. He speaks not only to the outward appearance and actions, but to the inner thoughts and intents of the heart.
Until we, as individuals, adopt moral absolutes for ourselves, society as a whole will continue to decline with regard to "public ethics."