The Wisdom Of Moral Law: An Antidote To Mexico's Pervasive Corruption

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"The law is the the most minimal expression of morality that society needs in order to progress." That aphorism came from Manuel Díaz Carbajal, Magistrate of the Morelos Superior Justice Tribunal. 

He presides over the Third Bench of the First Circuit and participated in a program of Thrive Without Bribes, a training program which I am currently providing to the Tribunal. 

With that simple statement, Mr. Díaz Carbajal advanced my own understanding, and helped me better grasp why morality is so profoundly important for a society's development.  

”The law is the the most minimal expression of morality that society needs in order to progress.” - Manuel Díaz Carbajal, Magistrate of the Morelos Superior Justice Tribunal. 

Morality, in point of fact, represents or signifies "the law." And "the law" is the minimal expression of morality necessary to advance together. It permits a culture to move ahead even in the face of afflictions and troubles - threats such as violence, crime, and corruption.

To transgress the law is to transgress morality. The breaking of moral taboos is to deviate from the law.

This leads to the loss of morals and trampling of moral principles, which are the foundation of society, of the "polis," about which Aristotle, Plato and the founders of democracy spoke. Thanks to Magistrate Díaz Carbajal's insight, I will no longer accept - and indeed I never have accepted - that we talk about the loss of morals without discussing the reasons why.  

Knowledge is not enough. It also requires commitment. Action. We cannot simply gather data. We must also bring it to bear on our personal lives and in our shared public life. In business. In commerce. In the family. In every activity we undertake. Failure to do so is not merely foolish, it's stupid. A scientist would not dedicate his life to studying a phenomena without the hope that the knowledge would leave his laboratory. He seeks to link his bank of knowledge to the world's problems. 

In a word, he seeks wisdom, something that is within everyone's reach but is not in everyone's grasp. It is for everyone, but it is not in everyone. It is found by those who seek it - those who hear its "voice" calling. Wisdom speaks to us through the tragedy of those in power who have lost their positions due to corrupt behaviors. It speaks through the disaster of those who have been taken away to jail or have died ignominious deaths due to trafficking of drugs.

And to think that some of our children admire such people, and want to be like them, if only to enjoy for a moment the materialistic excess they have seen. Money, possessions, cars, jewelry and the like are things we all desire, but not if they are acquired illegally, fraudulently, or corruptly. 

Corruption in the public sector provokes intense disgust among citizens because it poisons "our" well. No one can drink from that well without suffering its curse. Those who drink its corrupted waters sooner or later reveal their stain and their stink. And it puts people off. 

Instead, the men and women who enjoy the good favor of the people and of society are those who demonstrate their knowledge of and respect for the law - that "minimal expression of morality" needed to progress. 

I remind you of this again for its inherent wisdom - which is the application of acquired knowledge for the benefit of others. And, as my mother used to say, wisdom also comes from the "fear of God." And that is the heart of the matter. 


Daniel Valles is a Mexican analyst and commentator and regular contributor to TMP. His work appears in various North American media. He is also the founder of the anti-corruption project Thrive Without Bribes (Avanza Sin Tranza). He resides in Juarez City, Mexico. 

Find him on Twitter: @elmeoyodlasunto. And on email: