Because of the popular belief in cultural relativity, the U.S. society has evolved into a state where no one seems to know the difference between right and wrong. Laws are made for practical purposes, not morality or to create ethical behavior.
Thus, every four years, when a new President is elected, the voters could be presented with from ten to thirty proposals for ethical rules. Those rules that got over 80% of approval woulod be the ethical rules for the next four years. They would have no legal implications. They would be a secular declaration of the country as to what the citizens believe is right and what is wrong. These ethical standards would be considered tentatively absolute. They would be the standards that the U.S. society expect everyone to follow. However, all laws regarding these behaviors would remain as they are.
The voters might accept ethical standards similar to the Code of Hannarabi and the 10 Commands. For example, 80% of the population might approve the following ethical guidliness.
You should not steal.
You should not threaten assault, assault or kill.
You should not force another person to have sex against his/her will
You should not use vulgar or obscene language in public. (A list of words defined as vulgar or obscene could be listed.)
You should dress appropriately in public. This could include men not wearing shirts and not displaying their underwear. It could include women not displaying their breasts.
You should treat others with basic etiquette.
You should not be a problem for other people.
You should be considerate of others.
You should not have children when you have no means of supporting them.
You should not engage in fornication.
You should not engage in adultery.
You should not engage in pornography.
You should not lie.
In this way the society would have an agreed-upon ethical standards, apart from the laws that are passed and enforced. (In fact, lawyers will tell you: the law isn’t about what is right or wrong, it is just about what is legal and not legal.). Having a national, agree-upon, standard of ethical behavior would increase the quality of life of American significantly. These ethical standards could be taught in our educational institutions and our jails (Religious institutions could teach their own unique and diversified code of ethics). There could be a continuous national discussion on which rules of conduct should/should not be included in the next vote.
We could then have discussions about the possible social consequences when an individuals behaves in a way that contradicts the ethical standards of the country.
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