Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Post-Conventional Man

My journalism ethics students would call this man "post-conventional" on the Kohlberg scale of moral development.
Wiki explains: “The post-conventional level, also known as the principled level, is marked by a growing realization that individuals are separate entities from society, and that the individual’s own perspective may take precedence over society’s view; individuals may disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles.
“Post-conventional moralists live by their own ethical principles — principles that typically include such basic human rights as life, liberty, and justice. People who exhibit post-conventional morality view rules as useful but changeable mechanisms — ideally rules can maintain the general social order and protect human rights. Rules are not absolute dictates that must be obeyed without question. Because post-conventional individuals elevate their own moral evaluation of a situation over social conventions, their behavior, especially at stage six, can be confused with that of those at the pre-conventional level.
“Some theorists have speculated that many people may never reach this level of abstract moral reasoning.”
To that last sentence, I have to add, “Gee, ya think?”
Lawrence Kohlberg's post-conventional thinkers would agree.

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