What is Moral Authority?

Meaning and Definition of Moral Authority

Some people are especially respected because they maintain exemplary behavior or because they stand out for the connection between what they say and what they do. These individuals can become a moral authority for the people around them and for society in general.

In most professional areas, there is a hierarchical scale where one or more bosses exercise power, therefore, they have a certain authority over their subordinates. This does not mean that the representative of the company or entity has moral authority , since this condition does not depend on the hierarchical scale, but on the human qualities of the individual.

An individual with moral authority is one who is committed to their ideas and values ​​with the ultimate consequences. He is a person who tries to be consistent and therefore does not express contradictions between what he does and what he says.

In short, moral authority is a status that someone has because of their background and ethical values . This category can be achieved by being fair in decisions, adopting honorable conduct and carrying out actions directed to the good.

A corrupt, hypocritical and unprincipled individual can be successful in his personal and professional life , but it would not make sense to be considered a moral reference .

Examples Moral Authority

Socrates promoted philosophical debate among the Athenians and passionately defended the search for truth and respect for the law.

Mahatma Gandhi was the political leader who led India to independence. He was a peaceful man who defended nonviolence as a weapon that should accompany the civil disobedience of his people. His attitude led him to jail and all kinds of suffering. He became the main leader of India because he exercised moral authority over others.

Martin Luther King was radically opposed to the racial segregation of blacks in the United States. His firm position was really uncomfortable, in fact, he suffered from all kinds of threats.

In the three characters mentioned there are several coincidences: they were guided by firm convictions , they were all moral references for their followers and all three ended up tragically dying (Socrates was forced to take hemlock after undergoing a trial full of irregularities, while Gandhi and Luther were assassinated).

Ancient Rome

For the Romans, auctoritas was a virtue that some people or institutions had. This quality gave them a certain moral power over society as a whole. In this context, the members of the Senate must be people with honor, with a sense of justice and worthy of respect .

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