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You're quite the judge of ethical and moral standard.

We all have moral compasses. We get them from our parents as they teach us expected standards of behavior and the difference between right and wrong. Most of us get additional refinements during religious training. Others get still more refinements during military training.

The Marines call their moral compass their Code. More than anything else, the thing that defines a Marine in my mind is his or her adherence to the Code. When I talk to Marines and the conversation turns to relative effectiveness of individual Marines, the Marines invariably refer to the poor performers as people who have drifted from the Code.

The Air Force calls their moral compass their Core Values. Core Values are taught in basic training and again in professional military education courses. Although I don't know it for a fact, I suspect the enlisted folks get tested on Core Values in their promotion testing. Again the people who adhere to the Core Values tend to be people who other Air Force members respect.

I don't know what the Army, Navy, and Coast Guard call their moral compasses. I know they have them. I deal with the land services more than I do the sea services, and I've had some interesting conversations with Army officers about their value system.

I consult my personal and professional moral compasses often. I wonder if the originator of this thread consulted his?

I imagine some readers here are rolling their eyes and making colorful comments about Sunday Sermons. What does it matter if someone has a moral compass, just so he does his job?

One of the most central ideas that is common through the monotheistic religions is the idea of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It appears in the Tanakh, the Bible, and the Koran. Members of al Queda swear an oath they will kill infidels for as long as they live. I've often wondered how al Queda members reconcile their devotion to Koran and their devotion to their al Queda oath. You may recall that in the days following 9/11, President Bush made much that America was not at war with Muslims. Rather we were at war with people who were not Muslim because they had fallen away from the teachings of Islam. They had fallen from their moral compass.

Perhaps the moral compass of people far away doesn't interest you. How about the Americans who attacked Reginald Denny? Following the verdict of the first Rodney King trial in Los Angeles, a small but very vocal minority rioted. Reginald Denny was a truck driver who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rioters pulled him from his truck and beat him. A news helicopter captured the events on tape. One of the clips from the tape that sticks in my mind shows one of the rioters attacking Denny from behind with a brick to the head, and then celebrating with a football touchdown-like victory dance. (Denny recovered from his attack, but he no longer is capable of driving a truck to earn a living. The last I heard he works from time to time reparing pleasure boat engines, but he has a number of unresolved psychological and physical problems as a result of the attack.) Where was the moral compass of the rioters, and where was the moral compass of the people who attacked Denny?

Perhaps the moral compass of economically disadvantaged people doesn't interest you. How about Bill Clinton? He was only the second President in our nation's history to be impeached. While the Senate failed to convict him, before he left office he accepted several punishments related to the charges for which he was impeached. Did this man consult his moral compass?

Perhaps history doesn't interest you. How about the dozen or so central figures in the middle of the Enron scandal, and the many dozens of employees at Andersen who distroyed evidence related to the scandal. My CPA friends tell me they now have to pass an ethics exam to retain their professional licenses. In this country, failure to report a crime is itself a crime. Corporate Andersen is already in a heap of trouble, and I suspect some Andersen partners and employees are about to discover they're in a heap of trouble, too.

So getting back to the originator of this thread, did he consult his moral compass before he made his post? Spreading rumors is something most parents tell their children not to do. Religious training teaches that same behavior is unacceptable -- it's called bearing false witness. Military training teaches that behavior is unacceptable -- it's called lying or quibbling, depending on the exact circumstances. I wonder if the originator of this thread is proud of his post?

Talk about slander?

You might want to check your dictionary for the definition of slander. You're using the word in a way that suggests you don't understand it.

David Jacobs
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