Ethics do not seem to be integral to society or our civilisation. We have laws and religions and people are good. However, the nature of education does not promote the values that ought to underlie the sentiment expressed by laws, religion and society. They say it is bad or wrong to kill, but it happens in all spheres of civilisation from state sponsored war, to individuals rich and poor killing others for anger or greed as well as fear.
Without going to that extreme, if a person has knowledge or power or both they are in a position to influence our world to a greater extent than those without. Take, for example, the Prime Minister of the UK, a particular individual who is wealthy, educated, and powerful but what of his moral compass. Simply is he honest? Does he do what he says he will?
But perhaps that is unfair. Because we are all good.
Never the less, what kind of person do you want to have power? Especially if they influence your life and you have little influence on theirs. That would include the political leaders of your local community, country and the world. It would include the leaders of businesses which served you, sold you goods and services, like your food and clothes, and also holidays and entertainment. And what about religion or law or public services or safety? If they had power, you’d prefer that they were honest above all else because then at least you’d know what was going on If they’re are straight, but ignorant or incompetent at least you’d know and could do something about it. But if they weren’t honest, and maybe even had vested interests like friends in the business or opportunities for personal gain, then it wouldn’t be so good for you. Maybe they would be smart and competent and that would be even worse for you.
So which would you rather? Honesty first or knowledge?
If we want honesty first we had better start educating for honesty first. Stop making cogs for a machine. Nurture humans for a human world.
See: Education for Today