Law is a part of the society and we can’t deny its importance. We also know that Law is a set of rules which were established to control the behavior in the society. Because conflicts are a part of life and the development of the society so that rules or laws can solve them easily. Moreover, Law can lead to moral choice complicated by human rights and needs, which can contribute to the necessary development of the society.
But the law and moral standards are somehow the same, or alike in some sides, so what is the relationship between the law and moral standards and how can the Law has been formed.
II/ Relationship between the law and moral standards
We know that law has five characteristic which are consistent, universal, published, accepted and enforced in its definition. And law as a guide to decide managerial decisions. But in the real life, there are many situations that behavior are accepted legally and morally, and the others that behavior are unaccepted legally and morally so that understanding the relationship between law and moral standards is very important
Normally, when we can accept social rules as represent the collective moral judgment of our society, we will have the standards to govern managerial decisions and behaviors. But if we can not accept these rules, that means we have to figure out our standards somewhere else.
After considering the relationship between the law and moral standards, there are three conclusions are brought out:
1. Basing on which part of the law or legal requirements overlap the moral standards or not we can understand more about legal requirements and moral standards. • The part overlapping between moral standards and legal requirements shows that rules and moral standards in this part are the same. For example, if a man kills his wife, he violates the law as well as moral standards of human being. As well, the laws still control many factors of moral standards such as sexual conduct, family violent, narcotics usage, product liability and so on. We can’t deny the importance of the law to keep the basic values of society and the citizens. • But there is a part which is just moral standards, not legal requirements. So in this area, behaviors are judged base on moral standards by society. And someone who does not follow these standards will not be enforced to do or in court for what they do. Clearly, in Viet Nam, children have to obey their parents, or couple are not allowed to have sex until getting married. But if they do not do as the moral standards in Viet nam society, they do not have to be in court or in prison because of these faults. But the Society will judge them as strictly as the moral standards here are. • And the last part is just legal requirements but not moral standards so that the rules in this part does not meet the moral standards. And people are enforced to do it. There are many examples about it, specially, in economy, like foreign companies are encouraged to invest into Viet nam, but they have to contribute a part of their interest to the society through taxes or some legal rules. They are not judged by the society if they do not follow the rules but they have to do it and they are enforced to do it by the law. 2. In some situations, the legal requirements of the law can be negative while the moral standards are often positive. Because for the moral standards, people are not enforced to do as the law and there are some legal requirements which people do not want to do but they have to do it. For example, taxes, many people are not willing to pay for taxes, some people are unhappy because they have to pay more than the others because they work harder and earn more, or because they are single and someone else married. While moral standards are social rules which people widely accept it so they are willing to do it positively 2. And there are many moral issues that the requirements are missing such as sexual and racial discrimination, environmental pollution and foreign bribery. These issues are just cited as moral problems while they should be considered as legal requirements. Take environmental pollution as an example, everyone in the world all know that is a global issue. But some developed countries are still ignoring it because it is just moral issue, and if they agree it as a legal requirements then turn it into law they have to cut down on the smokes, the wastes they pollute to the environment every day, which means their economics and business will be affected negatively. But for some important issues as global issues, we should update the law and see how those issues become important laws in our life.
III/ Processes form the Law
There are four processes to form the Law, which are individual process, group process, social process and political process.
We all know that rules are as a guide to solve conflicts and differences, and norms, beliefs and values will be different among individuals so that reason why the first process to form the Law is individual process. Overtime, people will life together in groups base on the same norms, beliefs and values, but it lead to conflicts among groups. Besides, the society has changed day by day and the conflicts are more complex so that group process also take part in the second place in forming the Law. And the same thing happen to social issues and political issues when the life is more developing, then the last two processes forming the Law are social process and political process.
But here, I would like to mention two first processes of forming the Law, because in my opinion, the first two processes are the most important chain to form the law. We will go deeply these two processes: individual process and group process.
1/ Individual Process
The rules are changing over time, which lead to the changes in the laws. There are some actions and behaviors considered legal many years ago ( such as hunting some endangered animals, sexual discrimination, or slave) are now changed into illegal.
So the question is how the individual process form Law. For a start, base on the cultural and historical context, individual exposure to it then form family units, peer groups and formal organizations. Then individual persons changed norms, values and beliefs which divided society into small groups with similar norms, values and beliefs. Next formal organizations consensus these norms, values and beliefs were formed from small groups. The political process passed by, created conflicting norms, values and believes. When conflicts appeared, people needed a legal system which accepted popular norms, values and beliefs so that people can govern their own life. But the legal system need to be considered with original cultural and historical context of this society then the religious and social context. If it was not suitable for that society, it would lead to individual exposure again. And the circle keep going on until the citizens satisfy with their legal system
All of norms, values and beliefs which changed individual actions collectively from moral standards. For norms, which are criteria of behavior, are the ways an individual expects everyone to behave when faced with an unexpected situation. While beliefs are criteria of thought. They are expectation of individual to think about given concepts. Like someone who believe in the democracy, and he/she expects others to find out the worth of that concept and accept it as a form of government. Norms and beliefs still have some differences. Norms include actions while beliefs do not. For values, which are rankings or priorities established for the norms and beliefs. In real life, norms and beliefs are somehow equally important. But sometimes, some norms or beliefs are more or less important then the others depend on the situations and people thought. If people measure the values of norms more than beliefs, it will be the same as their decisions.
While norms and beliefs can be conflicted by high esteem people, values are often controversial. People will decide the importance of their criteria of behavior or beliefs. Some people want to act more than just think and someone else think that thinking is much more than acting.
Now the world is flat with diversity of cultures and traditions, and the result is that norms, beliefs and values are different among individuals which can leads to conflicts. So that how the Law was formed in basically way.
But the world keeps changing everyday and with different norms, beliefs and values, resulted to groups appear.
2/ Group Process
As mentioned above, each set of norms, beliefs and values were developed through exposure to the cultural of religious context, social or political context and economic or technological context. When the general background or surrounding environment of a situation changes in each criteria, moral standards will be changed. The context is mixed from religious teachings, cultural traditions, economic conditions, technological developments, social organizations and political processes. Base on these factors, individual person will choose his/her own suitable norms, beliefs and values. And somehow each factor still affect to each other by some ways, such as technological developments can cause political changes, then the political processes make the economic changes after that the economic changes lead to cultural changes. So that we can not define the relationship among these factors exactly, but predict with accuracy. For example, when computers were invented, the development of technology helped people change from paperwork into working on computers and soft ware. So that people use less staffs on paperwork then they used to be and they worked more effectively, which lead to development of the economics and people liked to work on computers more. Clearly, each factor somehow effects the others directly and indirectly that we can not figure out exactly.
For the last two processes are social process and political process. The social process is formed by the changing norms, beliefs and values of individuals from some factors such as individual positions, family units, peer groups and formal organizations. In this society, larger organizations are consist of small groups such as business firms, labor unions, political parties, charitable agencies, religious institutions and veteran’s associations. And there are some acceptable compromise which decide some alternative theories such as autocratic decision, bureaucratic adjustment and coalition bargaining or collective choice.
The political processes is also a solution for resolving conflict when organizations, groups, and individuals have different opinions on norms, beliefs and values. The same as the social processes, there are some alternative theories about this process such as presidential leadership, institutional compromise, congressional bargaining and constituent pressure.
Four processes mentioned above can be different base on the government system, population, economy,.. of each country. But most of the laws we can express our opinions and vote for someone who can be the administrators and legislators to decide the law or use public surveys, letters and the media to express our needs about the law.
As we discussed above, moral standards play an important part in creating the laws, but there are some moral standards might be misrepresented in the laws or shaping the consensus of organizations. Anyway, we can look at this issue by different way, no one can guarantee that organizations influent equally or if they have equal influence, which can be weighted by size in determining the law. Besides, for the provisions of tax legislation which seem to be favored for many organizations
There are four main processes to form the law: individual process, group process, social process and political process which are mostly base on norms, beliefs and values of people in each society. For the whole, law is man-made, for man and enforced by man. It is changing base on the needs of society and to hold the rights of citizens. So that there are some missing moral standards in laws should be considered to make the law keep its purpose: holding social right and human right. Life is never equal but we can make it more equal by law.
1. OUMM3203 PROFESSIONAL ETHICS, prof Madya Dr Mohamad Diah Jurini 2. How our laws are made, Presented by Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania July 24, 2007 http://thomas.loc.gov/home/lawsmade.toc.html 3. The Relationship Between Law and Morality By: kipling (Diary), June 7th, 2012 http://www.redstate.com/kipling/2012/06/07/the-relationship-between-law-and-morality/ 4. Relation between Law and Morality or Ethics by ANKITA http://www.preservearticles.com/201106248502/relation-between-law-and-morality-or-ethics.html 5. Four Reflections on Law and Morality, Michael S. Moore, http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1185&context=wmlr