Arniston Spa Hotel

Unashamedly Ethical – commitment 8 of 10


If we are brutally honest, we have to admit that, when confronted with the matter of obedience towards governing authorities, our first reaction is quite often to rather look for excuses to justify disobedience.

As with the majority of ethical and moral discussions, the emphasis should rather be on myself and my actions, rather than on those of the other party. So rather than looking elsewhere for justification for disobedience, let us rather consider a few reasons why submitting ourselves to just and ethical governing authorities is the right thing to do.

Let us for a moment imagine a society where no rules apply. Where there are no institutions of authority, where all and sundry run wild and do as they please. Surely this represents an untenable situation? So is it not then in the interest of the greater good for all that we all do our bit to ensure that governing authorities are instituted, upheld and respected?

We also have to bear in mind that governing authorities are nothing but the product of our democratic processes – we elected the authorities. And seeing that we took the decision to entrust them with authority, we have a moral obligation to in turn respect that authority.

But what if these governing authorities are not ethical and just, you may very well ask. And it would certainly be a valid point to raise. Should that be the case, we have in our constitutional democracy the right to legally engage these authorities through various channels, and challenge them legally and democratically.

One such an instance where this course of action would be applicable would be where the governing authority is making itself guilty of corruption or malpractice. If this is the case, such a situation must be challenged.

Sometimes the highest form of loyalty and patriotism is displayed by asking difficult questions. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” – Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus