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Morality and Legality: Fruits from the Same Tree?

Morality and Legality: Fruits from the Same Tree?

A heated question with arguments ranging from laws exist due to morals to both of them co existing to them being polar opposite.

A question of the ages is morality and legality; how do you separate them? Are they too inter twined to even be seen in singularly? Is one climbing on the work of the other? A heated question with arguments ranging from laws exist due to morals to both of them co existing to them being polar opposite.

First of all, many have tried to describe morals through various means’, but they boil down to broadly a set of expressions acceptable in the public, and what keeps our conscience clean. A widely accepted argument on the integration of law is: that the morals preceded it were the one after which it was molded after. For, doing something socially unacceptable was long before immoral than it was illegal 

The roads however have separated from the old days to times like these. Laws have taken more of a disciplinarian approach whereas when morals are broken the only repercussion is we get guilt (usually).  There are similarities where both morals and laws inter lap, but over time stark contrasts have developed.

The example of infidelity comes to mind, deemed highly immoral yet legal in most places or having provisions for the spouse’s security from legal actions (in India). Academic cheating is another one which has layers to it. A10 year old getting his arts and crafts project by his parents is a mistake, a 17year old copying assignments is unethical and a college goer copying assignments of the internet is plagiarism. Whilst these are acts punishable by the governing entity as a minor offence and expulsion, but has no legal infatuations. 

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Humans have always tried staying in the grey area of being immoral yet legal either in pursuit of fame, money, love. They try to rationalize being immoral as getting a hand up on the competition or just as having pleasure at the cost of morality. Morals are enforced by ourselves even when no one is watching whereas is law in only enforced when you’re caught and proven guilty. For example: if a car were to drive dangerously it would be considered illegal, but a car saving a life speeding down the down the road is perfectly legal and moral, hence it is not as cut and dry as one would think so. 

In conclusion, this hopscotch to get fame, success, or any other driving factor through treading the line might allure you to walk on it, but in the long term it most certainly will have consequences; which may or may not be jail time, but they would still haunt you. The constant hiding your tracks, checking your back, and the nagging ghost of the past would most likely topple down your house of cards. Thus the corner cutting to success and fame might sound like the more rewarding route, however one must remember that more often than not it wouldn’t yield the outcome you’d hoped for. You must choose which path you will walk on: the highroad, or the quick and fast road. The pitfalls and rewards of the fast, corner cutting route and the slow steady route’s reward and certainty must be evaluated by you.  

When morals are sufficient law become unnecessary but when morals are Insufficient law is unenforceable -Emile Durkheim

This article is authored by Hriday Arora , class XI student from Presidium School , Gurugram Haryana

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first published:June 22, 2021, 16:40 IST