With instances of fraud and violent crime remaining unacceptably high through 2009 and early 2010, there is an ever intensive focus on US laws and legislation to help resolve criminal behavioural trends. However, there is another factor which influences criminal acts and conduct, one which remains less defined and yet potentially more pertinent, and this is the concept of personal morality. Completely individual to each person, these nurtured principles govern an independent philosophy of living, and help determine which acts a conscience deems acceptable and righteous. With this in mind, it is fair to question the validity of strict and detailed law when confronted with an individual’s own standards of morality.
Acknowledging Morality as a Factor in Criminal Behaviour
If we consider their core definitions, laws and morals are essentially as one. Both are sets of principles that govern what actions are deemed to be acceptable and righteous, and act as a code by which we conduct our lives and daily affairs. However, whereas laws are set by government legislation to serve society as a single entity, morals are unique to each separate member of that society. They are conditional, influenced by nature, upbringing and most crucially the surrounding environment and circumstance that an individual finds themselves in at any given time. Morals are the most malleable to a subjects situation, and are therefore are often the primary principles by which conduct is orientated. This means that in order for laws to effectively govern a society, they must serve two specific purposes: firstly, to recognise the role of morality in certain criminal offences, and secondly to ensure that such actions are met with swift and consistent consequences.