Dr Jozelle Miller
March 20, 2018
Are you morally sound? – Part 1

Obeying laws is simply something we do. It is what allows our existence to be orderly and as avoidant of chaos as much as is humanly possible. Those laws that regulate people’s lives on a larger scale are laws of ethics and morality. Morality has an array of unsolved issues, the solution on which usually presents a choice: either to do something and keep to rules of ethics, or do the opposite and violate these rules.

Morality is defined as the principles of right and wrong in behaviour. That is, the capability of an individual to differentiate the right and wrong action. When morality is taken to be significant, moral actions are frequently taken to merit praise and rewards, and immoral actions are often taken to merit blame and punishment.

Moral principles are an important part of what makes a good person. Therefore, what are the characteristics of a moral person? They are the actions you take to carry out the values, ethics and morals that you believe in. Our character is not mirrored by what we say, or even by what we aim at; it is a reflection of what we do. Being of good moral personality is to have a collection of attributes which make up your behaviour and define the way in which you act which are considered respectable.

How do we judge an individual as a moral person? Do we judge by society’s principles for moral standards or by religious moral standards? For example, killing someone is immoral, but in some instances can be regarded as a moral act. Just say, in an unlikely scenario, the act of self-defence, where someone is killed to protect oneself from danger, is it immoral or moral? In most cases, self-defence is a justifiable cause for killing.

In another scenario, a poor man steals from a rich man to support and pay for his wife’s or child’s medical fees. This man is performing in a way that may make some persons respect him, as he is showing how much he cares for his family, based on the extreme he is willing to go, but is it a moral act? Perhaps seeing that the poor man is desperate for money and he is trying to save his loved ones’ lives, it can be deemed morally sound. The justification being that he is stealing from a rich man who has extra money and it wouldn’t hurt to lose some money. Nevertheless, it is always a wrong action to steal in the society’s view. So, let us examine some of the characteristics of a moral person and you can judge for yourself where you stand on this spectrum.

Characteristics of a moral person

1. Responsible

There are many important characteristics of a moral person. One of them is taking responsibility for one’s actions, good or bad. This person will show himself/herself as being a person worthy of trust, having an obligation or a duty towards something. To be morally responsible for an action is to be worthy of a certain kind of reaction, such as a compliment or blame for having performed it. Moral responsibility speaks to an individual’s choice to do what is right; things such as caring for family, making a living and paying taxes are a few moral responsibilities that are right.

A moral person has responsibilities towards people, animals and the environment. For example, in a situation of a car accident, a moral person would call an ambulance or help the injured out of the car. Conversely, an immoral person would just look and walk away, or take pictures and videos, without offering help in a constructive way. Another example speaks to a moral business owner demonstrating moral responsibilities to his employees. He would be responsible to ensure his employees are paid on time and also to have a moral and legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. A moral person would be responsible to care and protect the animals and the environment. They would not throw rubbish anywhere, but would rather strive to keep the environment clean and preserve the lives of animals.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

To be continued