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Right Moral and Good


Right, Moral and Good

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Right Moral, and Good (2009)

It has been said that we are living in a time of great change. There are new voices in Washington, the legislature, and even the world of activism. If we could give leadership advice at this pivotal moment, we wish that change, which has been given so much lip service, be based on the principle of right, moral and good. We encourage leadership to weigh decision making and subsequent action using this three-legged principle. Right, moral and good means:

Right. Right refers to the information on which decisions are made and asks if that fact base is correct. What are the holes in it and where might it be potentially wrong? Is the information on which actions are planned logical? Does it pass the smell or common sense test? Can it be substantiated by independent, third party sources? Right is not a feeling; it is the cold hard facts that withstand repeated tests to discredit them.

Moral. Moral concerns principles conduct. For moral teachings, we often look to the Golden Rule or the 10 Commandments. The Golden Rule quite simply states, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Since most people don’t seek harm, we should behave toward others as we would want them to behave toward us. The 10 Commandments also provide moral guidance. “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor” – don’t lie. “Do not steal” – don’t take things that aren’t yours. “Do not covet” – don’t desire or scheme to obtain that which belongs to another. Morality doesn’t equate to any specific religion or doctrine; all religions have their tests of moral conduct. Still, the test for moral acts queries, do potential actions find their roots in lies, harm, theft, or greed? Would I want to be treated this way?

Good. Good is actually a two-part test. There is the definition of good as beneficial and also good as high quality. The beneficial test of good deals with well-being. Good draws direct a line to positivity, health, and vitality. It easily bridges its benefits to others through the greater good. Good being of high quality equates to functional excellence. When something is good, all parts work, all pieces fit together, beauty radiates, and intended results are achieved. In both definitions, good refers to a plural or to the larger whole. As a two-part test, good asks, are potential actions both beneficial to and functional for the larger whole and for the greater good?

The right, moral, and good paradigm of decision making is a three-legged stool that will topple when one leg becomes compromised. Actions cannot be moral or good if their fact base is lacking. They are neither right nor good if based in lies, theft, or greed. They can’t be right or moral, if they function improperly or harm overall well being.

We encourage leadership both nationally and locally to weigh these three tenets in its decision making process and as it considers subsequent actions based on this process. If we are to engender change at this pivotal time, then change should mend the rips and tears in our society. Engaging in thinking that is right, moral, and good – holistically – gives all of us the best chance of producing the results we all want and for which we chanted change in the first place.


The article above appeared as an Editorial in the February 2021 edition of the Columbus Free Press. View it here.


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