Written Laws and Moral Laws

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“Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity.”                            ― John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

Like many people who have been following the news, I am saddened by the suicide of the nurse who fell victim to the prank by the Australian DJs trying to get information about the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate) who was in the hospital in the early days of her first pregnancy.

Basically, the Australian DJs phoned up the UK hospital, posed as the Queen and the Prince of Wales, trying to get information about Kate’s condition.  Somehow, they got away with it and posted the information and the talk on the air.  The nurse who fielded the call naturally felt embarrassed over her faux paux, but then the UK and international press whipped it up into a media frenzy and the pressure obviously became too much; the woman committed suicide, leaving behind two children.

Bullying, pranks and practical jokes can, and often do, backfire; causing mental anguish and in some cases, tragedy.  But, according to the CEO of the Australian radio station where the hoax originated, what the presenters did was “not against the law”.

Legally, maybe.  Morally, not.  I believe that those in positions of public influence, and this most certainly includes the press and radio and television media personnel, have a duty to stay within the legal law and the moral law as well.  Those in positions of public influence have an obligation to display professional behaviour;  they are role models for the public and especially the next generation.

When the quest for ratings trumps common sense and decency to others, we have let our priorities get upside down.  My tutor had a saying about how to judge whether what you are about to do (or how you are about to behave) is worthy.

If it feels good tomorrow, do it today!

I know the presenters feel bad about the outcome of their prank, but not as bad as the nurse’s teenage sons.  Maybe we can all take away from this tragedy a valuable lesson on pranks, hoaxes and bullying.  There is no need, they accomplish nothing, and can end very badly.

It’s time for those in positions of influence to behave professionally and become the role models we so desperately need. People matter more than ratings.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
This entry was posted in corporate culture, Human Psychology, John R Childress, John's views on the world, leadership, Personal Development, Psychology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Written Laws and Moral Laws

  1. “People matter more than ratings.”
    Good post. How sad that these things need to be spelled out.


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