Morality, the principles governing what is considered right and what is not, is often associated with who enforces it and his or her rights to impose it on other people. The dilemma that society faces today is the unclear sense of who to look up to as moral authorities.
Coincidentally, there has been a rather steep decline in morality in the last part of the 20th century following the decline of respect for the church’s authority. When religion is not enough to keep the public on the straight and narrow, the people then resort to allowing the government to play this role.
Some people are against the concept of correlating politics with morality, saying that political leaders do not have the right to enforce their morality on other people. The truth is that these leaders are not imposing their morals, they are imposing the government’s morals.
Of course, in every country or institution, there are rules and laws to live by. These rules are actually based on the concept of morality, on what is right and what is considered to be socially wrong. Therefore, without much arguments, the rules that are imposed are based on a certain morality. Killing another human being is a heinous crime, and consequently punishable by law. The same goes for rape and stealing. These acts are what people consider immoral and against society’s morality.
Similarly, we have laws regulating access to free education and freedom of speech as we view these things as morally good. When we help each other in a society and one rule benefits another without stepping on another’s right, we are therefore imposing morality.
Even mediocre laws, such as enforcing speed limits for drivers and securing legal documents for practitioners like engineers and doctors, are part of the government’s moral duty to improve public health and safety. Paying taxes, which has no direct connection to morality, are meant to finance benefits for the public such as free hospitals, government-owned houses for the aged, and charitable institutions that help much less fortunate members of the society.
These laws are based on the morality that government officials are to secure its people from threat and danger and make sure that everyone is taken care of. In general, what is beneficial for our fellows are considered morally good and thus imposed upon the whole society.
Living in a society and being part of it is a clear indication that you are to submit to the government’s perspective of morality and will abide as instructed. To ensure peace and security within a society, it is essential that at least one rule is strictly imposed. Undoubtedly, the leaders of the society are expected to impose such rules, thus the formulation of government laws.
Morality has become a social matter, rather than a personal concept. Defining what is socially acceptable and what is rejected depends upon the consensus of the whole organization. Although not everyone is considered equal in the real world, it is essential that decisions should be finalized and formally implemented as laws.