The Standard of Justice
There is no clear distinction, at least in current usage, between "moral" and "ethical" conduct, and no such distinction appears in the reports of this study. Both terms are used to imply "conformity to a standard of what is good and right." Such a standard may be derived from various sources: traditional custom, family training, individual conscience, and individual and collective experience. But, with whatever variations, it is the core of human relations in any society. Whether the standard is low or high, as measured by the priest or the prophet, the social philosopher or the "common man," it exists as a regulatory influence on human conduct.
The opinions and attitudes reported in the preceding chapters show the prevalence of such a standard of "what is good and right" within our society, widely shared and widely applied in everyday life, incorporated in laws and customs. When we take this common standard apart, however, and try to apply concretely such constituent standards as honesty, justice, order, freedom, and love, we find complications and conflicts. In discussing honesty, our groups agreed that there are conflicts to be adjusted and compromises to be made. Not only this, but we must also take into account human frailty, which we all share. As even Saint Paul wrote long ago, "I can will what is right but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do."
In one group, taking up the topic of "the application of moral standards to our jobs," the moderator remarked that "the conflict is not new between our professed values and our actual material values." He quoted some paradoxes attributed to Robert Lynd:
We should love our neighbors; but we should look out for No. 1.
Blessed are the peacemakers; but war is necessary in some exceptional cases.
I am my brother's keeper; the unemployed are lazy.
Women are the weaker sex; the role of women is to work hard for lower salaries.