The relationship between ethics and etiquette is simple. Ethics is applied etiquette. While ethics refers to standards or principles that govern the conduct of a person in morality, etiquette refers to the practices. So ethics refer to the principles and etiquette refers to the practices. So ethics speaks of principles like tidiness while etiquette tells us how to make this possible like keeping the toilet seat closed rather than open to prevent the spread of germs. It encourages us to spit into a pocket tissue rather than on the floor or into a handkerchief.
It warns us not to litter the environment with dust bins. Ethics speaks of politeness and etiquette corroborates it by reminding us to allow the elderly the rite of passage at a hallway, to greet others warmly, to not interject people or laugh at the misfortune of others. Ethics speaks of finesse and comportment while etiquette gives a rendition on how this could be made possible, like a lady walking without dragging her feet on the floor, or applying makeup in public, or a gentleman covering his mouth when yawning and not spitting while walking on the street. I hereby hope that with these few words I have been able to convince and intimate you with the difference between ethics and etiquette.
Now the main thrust of my discuss is this. The world we live in today is filled with too many world leaders who appear to have a good sense of etiquette but a bad sense of ethics and are based on my explanation of the difference between etiquette and ethics are ultimately bad in both.
Many a leader as they would like to be called, know how to offer a good handshake, know how to warm up to a crowd, put on a beautiful smile, walk with poise, know how to avoid getting angry in public howbeit for a short while. Most know how to restrain their selves from threatening to beat up their colleagues and impregnating them! They know how to use fork at continental dinners and know how to work their way onto a room. Their boards room skills could be termed as impeccable, the tone and command of their voices full of candour, their rhetoric and command of grammar second to none.
You should hear people talk about the charm of Valdimir Putin or the eulogies made of fallen villains like Hitler or Ghaddafi. You should hear people tell of Donald Trump’s hidden conviviality and not a few others in the lime light and you’ll be amazed. However, while these leaders score high on the less important aspects of ethics like poise and carriage, these leaders are pitifully wanting in weightier matters of the law like integrity, honesty, empathy and selflessness. We don’t need to look any further than the main culprit of my discuss today – Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Before I delve into my synopsis of her, let me give a little introduction to my bone of contention. Ten years ago, I observed that integrity levels were poor, dwindling and fast becoming abysmal all across the world. This was in the wake of the Enron and Athur Anderson scandal, a ripple of events would soon after follow, – the lies of John Brown at BP, the indiscretion of Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank.
But the beauty in all these was that all these men after being found wanting in various capacities resigned. This was the beauty of it all. Fast forward to 2016, Hillary Clinton has probably told more lies in the past 12 months than America’s top Banks have been sued in the last 10 years! Most of these lies coming from her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State this coupled with too many corruption allegations of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative is abominable to say the least. Two decades ago, she would not have stood a chance, today poll rating show that she would most likely become America’s next president. This should come to all of us as a frightening cause for concern for which we are all to blame. Our support for Hillary Clinton and leaders with little or no character is only a despondent signal of America’s descent into abyss and the utter hopelessness the world is plunging into.
I say this because good liars never make good leaders. It’s as simple as that but I can explain even further. Corrupt words corrupt the emotions and the wrong emotions lead to the wrong decisions. People make the worst decisions when they are angry, bitter, envious and resentful. The world’s most bitter regrets have come from the hearts of men who were overwhelmed with hate, bitterness, anger and the root of this all can be traced to one thing the wrong words being spoken these include lies, boasts, backbiting, murmurs etc.
America’s receding power on the world stage is no longer news. What should be a source of concern to us is that all this is that the failure of nations could be ties to leaders with poor ethics. How does all this apply to that man or woman reading this article? You may be as classy as the Queen of England but your ultimate prosperity is a function of your integrity, selflessness and character painfully lacking today among world leaders from the disgraced Sepp Blatter to the embattled Dilma Russell.
Ponder over this!
You could purchase a copy of my book on etiquette titled PROPER MANNERS AND ETIQUETTE IN ANYTHING AT ANYTIME AND ANYWHERE at the price of N3,500 at our corporate head office at 340 – 344 Ikorodu Road, by Idi-Iroko Bus Stop, Maryland, Lagos. Or call 0811 266 1635 or 0802 312 6010 to have a copy sent to you.