A culture is the collection of behaviors of a group—it’s their habits. Culture and ethics both mean habits and are related. The basic difference being that culture is a group thing, while ethics begin individualized and reaches out to affect groups, but even that oversimplifies and space does not permit more elaboration.
We know that people take cues on their personal ethics from people they consider to be leaders. When enough people follow a leader, large populations can change for good or bad. Our country followed the British leader William Wilberforce and American Abraham Lincoln and banned slavery, but not without a fight. Over the years, we also, as a people, flirted with varying degrees of genocidism, communism, socialism, nazism, and fascism at one time or another and rejected them to create contemporary American culture. Not perfect, but perhaps you agree that we are moving in the right direction. It’s easy to look back and see that we made right ethical choices and created an enviable culture.
Freedom to speak our minds means we choose our culture. Speaking up allows us to figure out the right thing to do to have the good life. It also means we must tolerate a lot of stupid crap, and that when the crap breaches its levee, we must push it back. We do not get better one without tolerating the crap or by letting it run through our streets unchecked. Nor will you get great ideas in your business without having to hear a lot of lousy ideas and evaluating the habits that form from those ideas. The trick to culture is to choose the right ideas and habits.