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Put own integrity first

Re the March 23 column on moral development and politics:



Puleese. Have you ever noticed that people who spout “moral development” conveniently put themselves at the level of moral superiority? Spare me the sophomoric sophistry and self-congratulations.




How about keeping one’s own moral house in order first: like practicing restraint or birth control instead of abortion, like working hard on your marriage instead of divorce or infidelity, like loving your children enough to give them time and discipline, like caring for parents enough to meet their needs and even driving them to and fro when needed (How often have I heard, “I can’t take my mother/father/brother home from the hospital today, I’m volunteering at the homeless shelter, AIDS clinic/thriftshop …”).

Oh, I’m not pointing at myself as a model. I struggle and fail daily. And I’d take the simple family-focused person who is honest and trustworthy over the demonstrator for “world peace” any day. Many philosophers who address ethics and moral development have emphasized internalization, depth and consistency. It begins and ends with personal integrity. Start with being honest with yourself then extend that same integrity to your family, your community, your world.

If you actually have the time and energy after looking inward and dealing with your personal moral imperatives, then maybe you’d be interested in study ethics and moral development that includes the universe of humanity. But try Kant, Lawrence Kohlberg and Robert Nozick in lieu of political pablum.

Marilyn Chrisman

Nevada City


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