Marjorie Kelly of Business Ethics magazine calls what?s happening ?a new kind of Puritanism.? I call it ?ironic.? A court overturns a death sentence because jurors consulted a ?higher authority,? and corporations fire executives for, in essence, not consulting a higher authority.
This isn?t ?Puritanism,? which the Times considers a bad thing. It?s a sort of waking up, a realization that regulation and law, however well-intentioned, isn?t enough to ensure the kind of conduct that produces confidence in the market. Without the inner restraints created by a belief in some ?higher authority,? however it?s defined, law can never be enforced.
This need for a ?higher authority,? which for most people is religiously derived, is lost on the Times. In its universe, it?s possible to do a ?moral assessment? without knowing why we should be moral in the first place. That?s more than ironic; it?s clueless.
Today?s BreakPoint offer: ?Truth in the Public Square? (CD), speech delivered by Charles Colson in June 2003 to congressional members and staff.
Landon Thomas Jr., ?On Wall Street, a Rise in Dismissals over Ethics,? New York Times,
Kirk Johnson, ?Colorado Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible,? New York Times,
Scott Rae, Beyond Integrity: A Judeo-Christian Approach to Business Ethics (Zondervan, 1996).