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If something is legal, is it necessarily ethical? Why or why not?

If something is legal, it is not necessarily ethical. An action that is legal is permissible to the jurisdiction which a person is subject to whereas the dictionary defines ethics as moral principles that govern a persons or groups behavior. Although many cultures and groups around the world differ with respect to their belief or sense of what is moral, some rules of morality seem to develop universally throughout every culture and nation. For example, in every culture there is a tendency for the people within that culture to restrict the act of murder. In addition, every culture consistently attempts to prevent other acts which directly affect the physical well-being of other members of that society. It follows that there is a universal value or moral which dictates that acts which harm the physical wellbeing of a person are wrong and should be restricted. Thus, on some level there are universal morals or ethics which humankind has adopted which are independent of lawmakers. However, for every universal moral rule or ethic which transcends all cultures there are one hundred moral rules or ethics which are unique to a specific group or culture. For example, in the United States, a woman can walk down the street in a tank top, shorts, and flip flops. But if she were living in some parts of the Middle East that same outfit might get her killed. The reason for this vast difference is due to differences in the morals or ethics of those two particular societies. Accordingly, a code of ethics may be partly universal but additions and subtractions to that code of ethics are significantly different depending upon what group or society that you are in. Having established the nature of ethics, the only remaining issue is whether lawmakers only pass laws that conform to the set of morals or ethics

which have been adopted by the jurisdiction which the laws are being made in. In the 1600s it was legal to kill a person who was convicted of being a witch. It is also legal in the United States for a millionaire property owner to evict a single mother and her child in the dead of winter when the mother has nowhere to stay. It is very likely that both of these situations were against the consensus throughout the particular society of what was ethical. In other words, the law allowed it but everybody would agree that it is morally and ethically wrong. In conclusion, what is legal may not always be ethical. Although ethics may be partly subjective and variable from one culture to another, laws are invariably passed which conflict with both the subjective and universal portions of ethics and morals. That being, lawmakers arent always ethical.