Legislating Ethics

Big SIGH… An Albuquerque Journal poll has 88% of Democrats supporting stricter ethic laws.

You can’t legislate ethics. Sorry, it would be nice if you could, but you can’t. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. Ethical behavior is how a person acts when they think no one is looking and they believe there is no chance of them getting caught.

Somethings can be legislated, some can’t. Ethics is one of those things that can’t. Sure, you can pass new laws that make you feel better, but they won’t make people behave ethically. Which leaves us with the question of whether or not we need new ethics laws?

Stop and think for a minute and you’ll realize that we don’t. Several elected officials have been indicted in the last couple of years under current laws, so we know there are laws on the books to punish those whose unethical behavior is illegal.

Now what’s scary about this argument is that it puts me in agreement with New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan (subscription):

House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, said he thought his chamber will endorse additional proposals next year, although he was hesitant about establishing a state ethics commission.

“The issue here is ethical conduct,” he said of the proposed commission. “You’re never going to be able to legislate morals. You have those rules in Congress and look at what is happening there.”

And, you know what? Speaker Ben Lujan knows of what he speaks. So, where does that leave us? If we really want ethical politicians, then we as voters need to take the time to care enough to vote out those who do not act ethically. That’s the solution, plain and simple.

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