Who sets the norm for ethical conduct?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines unethical conduct as an act or acts that do not conform to accepted standards of behavior. 

  1. Who sets the norm for ethical conduct? Can conduct that has been criminalized by a sovereign’s legislative body still be ethical? Is it not a societal norm for a parent to provide food to his/her child? Can the act of parent stealing food to feed his/her child be ethical while at the same time be a violation of a criminal statute?
  2. Think of other examples and provide your reasoning for punishment if warranted? Assume that the conduct in question in a criminal misdemeanor and it is the person’s first offense (petty crime punishable by fine or confinement in the county jail for no more than 356 days) 

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