What moral judgement is involved in the claim, less common than it once was but still heard, that 'S/he is no better than s/he ought to be' ? This is a conceptual question, not one about English usage. The claim does not appear to reflect any specific ethical theory - Platonic, Aristotelian, Utilitarian, Intuitionist or other. Nor on the surface does it make sense - the judgement, whatever it may mean, is critical : yet why should one be better than one ought to be ? If irony is at work, what is the relevant opposite meaning that the judgement carries ?