1950 Law, Ethics & Morality Film about Stealing

1950 Law, Ethics & Morality Film about Stealing

  • Title: Why We Respect the Law
  • Year: 1950
  • Time: 14 minutes
  • Audio/Visual: Sound, Black & White

This 50’s educational film explains to children how laws are good for society, and why they should be respected. Ken, a young boy, steals some lumber to build baseball backstops for his baseball team’s field, but is later seized by guilt though he hadn’t been caught stealing. Confused by this ethical dilemma, he goes to his family’s lawyer, who tries to sort out the whole business for Ken. The honest lawyer takes Ken’s shoes in an effort to get Ken to see why stealing wrong, and to begin to understand a code of ethics. The free law advice continues, as he also notes that rules are necessary to keep law and order in society, just like natural laws keep order in the physical world. This and other examples of ethical principles make for important life lessons and the lawyer is clearly at ease talking openly with children. In the end, Ken realizes that if everyone stole, the world would not be a very safe and secure place to live. He and his friends arrange to pay for the lumber and Ken learns a valuable lesson. The ethical culture described in Why We Respect the Law exudes the attitudes of conformity and complete absence of ethical relativism that was present in the 1950’s. One of the better educational videos of its time.

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