The Difference Between Values, Morals And Ethics

Values –

Values are something innate within us, what we believe to be true, and represent our conviction in life and how we approach it. It’s our ‘procedure and checklists’ by which we follow to make our everyday decisions. There are three principal types of values that humans can have: preferential values, instrumental values, and intrinsic values. Each plays an important role in our lives, but they don’t all play equal roles in the formation of moral standards and moral norms.

According to the dictionary, values are “things that have an intrinsic worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor,” or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.” However, it is important to note that, although we may tend to think of a value as something good, virtually all values are morally relative neutral, really until they are qualified by asking, “How is it good?” or “Good to whom?” The “good” can sometimes be just a matter of opinion or taste or driven by culture, religion, habit, circumstance, or environment, etc.  Again, almost all values are relative. The exception, of course, is the value of life. Life is a universal, objective value. We might take this point for granted, but we all have the life value, or we would not be alive. Life is also a dual value we value our own life and the lives of others.

Morals –

Morals, the word makes us think that the lack of it makes one ashamed to face one’s family, and are more pertaining to how one conducts one’s personal life. Which implies that it’s fine to have different ‘morals’ than others if we really don’t care what others think about it since it’s our own personal compass.

Moral values are relative values that protect life and are respectful of the dual life value of self and others. The great moral values, such as truth, freedom, charity, etc., have one thing in common. When they are functioning correctly, they are life protecting or life-enhancing for all. But they are still relative values. Our relative moral values must be constantly examined to make sure that they are always performing their life-protecting mission. Even the Marine Corps core values of “honor, courage, and commitment” require examination in this context. Courage can become foolish martyrdom, commitment can become irrational fanaticism, honor can become self-righteousness, conceit, and disrespect for others. Our enemies have their own standard of honor, they have courage, and they are surely committed. What sets us apart? Respect for the universal life value sets us apart from our enemies.

Ethics –

People can have professional ethics, but they seldom hear about professional morals. Ethics tend to be codified into a formal system or set of rules which are explicitly adopted by a group of people. Thus we have medical ethics. Ethics are thus internally defined and adopted, whilst morals tend to be externally imposed on other people.

If we accuse someone of being unethical, it is equivalent of calling them unprofessional and may well be taken as a significant insult and perceived more personally than if we called them immoral (which of course they may also not like).

Ethics, the word makes us think of unscrupulous businessman and the phrase ‘good work ethic’. Both of which seems to imply what society thinks is good, just or fair and if we don’t abide by what’s considered good, society has a ‘right’ to say that we are wrong and we can’t really debate against it if we want to be part of that society.

A person who knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses right is moral. A person whose morality is reflected in his willingness to do the right thing even if it is hard or dangerous is ethical. Ethics are moral values in action. Being ethical id an imperative because morality protects life and is respectful of others all others. It is a lifestyle that is consistent with mankind’s universal values as articulated by the American Founding Fathers’ human equality and the inalienable right to life. As warriors, it is our duty to be protectors and defenders of the life value and to perform the unique and difficult mission of taking the lives of those acting immorally (against life) when necessary to protect the lives of innocent others.

When we must kill protecting life it is still hard, but it is moral. Those who kill those not observant of their narrow relative religious, ethnic or criminal values in other words, kill over relative values are immoral. A dedication to protecting the life value of self and others all others makes the Ethical Warrior different and moral.

Sound moral judgment is rooted in strong values and acted upon by our ethics. It seems like the three are the same, but they’re different enough to warrant a closer study. If we are writing a short story, we might want to approach our main character from this viewpoint. As we develop the conflict our main character will face, try to create a deep-rooted set of values. Consider where those values might have come from. Then, use their morality as the barometer in any decisions they have to make.

Finally, allow our readers to watch our main character choose right or wrong as their ethics come to full view. This evolution will take our readers on an exciting ride. They’ll be able to connect with and fully understand the choices the main character makes.


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