Each of us has a personal ethic,
a code by which we live our lives. Much of the code is educated to us by our
parents, primarily by example. The code is also subjective by our religious
upbringing and the people with whom we select to comrade.
A personal ethic is different
from the rules laid down by the society through its laws. As a society, we have
determined that it is wrong to harm another human being or even steal his or
her property. Most personal ethic includes these societal rules. But some do
not. Criminals have personal ethics that let them to regularly break laws that destruct
people and their property.
Even though not criminals, many
of us pick and select certain laws that we will or will not obey. A good
example is our speed limit laws. Highways have stated speed limits to defend
people from being injured or killed. Yet, drive down any one of those highways
and you will see people driving well over those limits. Their personal ethics
let them break such a rule, and indeed suffer any consequences, whether to
themselves or other people and property. Others of us have personal ethics that
exceed those laid down by society.
Societal laws and regulations are what we
have decided as a group are slightly tolerable behavior. But individuals may
choose to strive for a higher standard. How we treat other people, our homes
and the environment are often governed by higher standards than those laid down