4.25.2016

Codes of Conduct – A Truth Glasses look into our society

            I am betting that when you hear or think about a code of conduct, you may tend to think about schools, employers, maybe even going out to eat or sitting in a theater, in short, how one should conduct themselves in a given setting or environment.  Perhaps, some of these things come from standard practices we all expect from one another, using manners, morals maybe, but in our recent days here on our planet, codes of conduct, morals or societal behaviors are changing, some say for the worse, others say it provides opportunities to see what people really think, keep in mind those who say that particular item come from social media outlets or online facilities that make masking a true identity easy.  This author has been speaking on some levels with friends and family about the woes facing our society today and yep, the truth glasses have been put on, so let’s take a look into Codes of Conduct.
CAUTION: THINKING AREA
            Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, we shall approach our subject matter with the results of typing into Google, “What is a Code of Conduct?” The query resulted in an immediate eye opener, aside from Wikipedia having an say in the matter as hit number one, the second entry a business dictionary link, that would help me define “What is a code of ethics?”, then of course several entries pertinent to my query, the eye opener is the net result was 33,900,000 results found.  As an research journalist, I fully realize the words code, conduct, and combinations of those are indeed going to be a part of my results, but just for a moment, reflect on the fact that the code of conduct, in whole or in part, is a part of that many options, this clearly states how important this subject matter is to many.  According to business dictionary (businessdictionary.com), our second listing, a code of ethics is: A written set of guidelines issued by an organization to its workers and management to help them conduct their actions in accordance with its primary values and ethical standards.
            Okay, but what does it imply? The primary values of one organization may or may not be the same as others and aside from the standards set forth by government institutions on race, creed and etc, ethical standards could imply not stealing your co-workers lunch, still a very broad definition, no doubt to allow businesses to hire lawyers to write their by-laws and ethics codes, smart move indeed.  Turning our attention now to our third entry, the free dictionary (thefreedictionary.com) Code of Conduct is defined as: Noun.  A set of conventional principles and expectations that are considered binding on any person who is a member of a particular group.  Alright, expanding as we did once before, we see that expectations and principles become binding when belonging to a group, so, that means, if we are part of a group chat on an social media outlet, we are expected to keep each other in check by adhering to “Netiquette”, or if we are in a group of thieves, we are expected to honor some sort of unspoken code of ethics. I should note that I did not choose to list Wikipedia in these results; anyone can edit it, untrustworthy at best, moving forward.
            It would be redundant and unpurposeful of this article to define this inquiry and overview it into some business or organization that has caught my attention (cough, Presidential Election), however, it is the purpose of this article to examine the unspoken side of the codes of conduct, the ones in our society.  For example, a news story from Delaware recently revealed the death of a 16 year old student who was assaulted in a bathroom at her high school and died as a result of the events, this was done by several students; several against one, a literal mob killing that took place with teenagers involved and a teenagers death.  The school has a code of conduct for its staff, students, families, persons visiting but did not prevent this travesty, and as stated in our earlier look these principles are binding to ALL involved, that means family, friends, staff, everyone, yet no one was around to uphold those things and she herself did not whip out a copy of the manual and say, “no no, it says right here that’s unethical”.  Pretty serious stuff, we hear about things like this all the time, from police brutality, kids killing kids, mass shootings, execution style killings, who is in charge of the code of conduct here, the answer, society, yep, YOU.
            There has to be something out there for us to reach a better understanding, somewhere surely there is something that states, you the citizen must adhere to this set of ethics or code of conduct in society, other than the laws that are supposed to punish or deter criminals.  My next inquiry into Google, “How should a society conduct itself?” the results, 11 million strong, the fourth entry, from Stanford (Stanford.edu) listed, help in the theories of criminal law, that isn’t going to help us, neither will the first entry, Business in society, the third, the theory of natural evolution from Darwin to Hitler, but the second entry, very resounding.  It hails from one John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) and his thoughts on society (liberties) in 1869, just 4 years before his death, Mr. Mill stated this:
            Though society is not founded on a contract, and though no good purpose is answered by inventing a contract in order to deduce social obligations from it, everyone who receives the protection of society owes a return for the benefit, and the fact of living in society renders it indispensable that each should be bound to observe a certain line of conduct towards the rest. This conduct consists first, in not injuring the interests of one another; or rather certain interests, which, either by express legal provision or by tacit understanding, ought to be considered as rights; and secondly, in each person's bearing his share (to be fixed on some equitable principle) of the labors and sacrifices incurred for defending the society or its members from injury and molestation. These conditions society is justified in enforcing at all costs to those who Endeavour to withhold fulfillment. Nor is this all that society may do. The acts of an individual may be hurtful to others, or wanting in due consideration for their welfare, without going the length of violating any of their constituted rights. The offender may then be justly punished by opinion, though not by law. As soon as any part of a person's conduct affects prejudicially the interests of others, society has jurisdiction over it, and the question whether the general welfare will or will not be promoted by interfering with it, becomes open to discussion. But there is no room for entertaining any such question when a person's conduct affects the interests of no persons besides himself, or needs not affect them unless they like (all the persons concerned being of full age, and the ordinary amount of understanding). In all such cases there should be perfect freedom, legal and social, to do the action and stand the consequences.
            This perfectly states, that we, as a society are as responsible for our own codes of ethical and kind social treatment as well as enforcing those same standards upon others who are not, by voicing an opinion, legally or morally, we are obligated to upholding the standards created by society.  One could easily argue, “that is why we have laws”, I debate that point with this, “bullying laws, gun laws haven’t helped a single victim, especially those whose attackers kill themselves before ‘justice’ can be done”, but you know what would have saved lives in a theater, someone who by chance saw a duffle bag full of weapons or bothered to stop someone dressed in tactical gear going to a movie, or perhaps the better example of stopping things goes back to 9-11 when the “last” plane never made it to its predetermined destination because of one man’s words, “Let’s roll.”  Society has to adhere to some sort of invisible don’t do that code or else more of what we are encountering will happen and we have already seen the bad side, imagine it worse.
            My queries aren’t so fixed as is demonstrated in this article thus far; I did searches for, “Does society have an invisible ethics Code?”, “Unspoken codes of conduct” and too many to list, each referring to business or law or criminal codes, few, pointing to historical or profound events where anyone stood up and spoke out with “This is the way we need to keep our own selves in check, here are some simple guidelines”, instead, Mom, Dad, Grandpa Joe, Family and people who dared to care involve themselves to prevent criminal behavior and instill manners, but lack in the area of showing and adapting to respectfully treating everyone as was explained by Mr. Mills, simply, there isn’t one, but there is you.  You the person reading this piece of literature, the person whose eyes opened up and went, no way, surely there is one somewhere that applies without referencing known laws or ordinances.  Perhaps, or perhaps those conspiracy theorists may be right to some secret ethics police force, that’s some pretty good camouflage they wear. 
            In closing, during all these searches for something that we could wrap our minds around or ease the fog in our truth glasses, what was very clear, nearly every business, every group, every organization, every gathering of people even into gangs all have codes of conduct that reflect the group or organizations thoughts about how anyone within their company, organization or gathering should conduct themselves toward one another, it is even defined as such in general terms in business and English dictionaries.  Whenever there is a travesty, tragedy or something inhumane, these same persons in these reaches react and come together to solve the woes of that particular problem, and it really doesn’t matter where.  If we have no problems enforcing these things when we sit at a desk, wire up a neighborhood for power or drive your package across this great nation, we should also have no problems with doing what was suggested by Mr. Mills, working together, to live freely and be safe by unifying to protect what is our world, truth glasses down.

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