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Thread: legislating morality

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    Re: legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    The vast majority of laws have a moral compontent. But in terms of the notion of "legislating morality", I consider such laws to be ones where the law primary purpose is not clearly a constitutionally assigned duty of government OR the protection of a person's rights.

    Abortion Laws definitely have a moral factor. However, in the minds of those that are pushing for them, there is a clear purpose to those laws in regadrs to protecting the rights of a person.

    SOME Animal Cruelty laws would fall into the realm of legislating morality, some would not. Laws that prohibit cruelty against animals owned by another person is actually protecting that persons right to property. However, laws keeping you from harming animals in general is one primarily based around legislating morality.
    The very idea of rights at all is a moral idea though. Even some concept like natural rights or some other basis to assign rights is in the end a moral argument. If someone doesn't believe in the philosophy the results in this or that set of rights, than they don't. Because even that is based on opinion, its subjective as well.

    That's my take. I see morality as an evolved code of behavior which maximizes our survival potential as a species and there are a good number of scientific studies which appear to back this up. Its the primary reason we cannot come up with a workable logic based morality, because our moral concepts are based off the same sort of cognitive mechanisms which tell us when its time to eat or sleep.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 04-25-14 at 07:03 AM.

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    Re: legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mpg View Post
    1 and 2 are opinions. Since 3, 4 and 5 are based on 1 and 2, they're also opinions. Proofs don't rely on opinions.
    With respect to 1, is it not true? Is a thing not considered good when it does what it's supposed to? Is there any contrary usage?

    With respect to 2, then what does morality relate to, if not free human acts?

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    Re: legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by tacomancer View Post
    Even some concept like natural rights or some other basis to assign rights is in the end a moral argument.
    Have you actually read my argument as it relate sto natural rights? Because if so, I'm unsure how you can suggest it's subjective.

    To me, a natural right is anything an individual can attempt to do on their own volition within the state of nature.

    A person has a right to speak whatever they wish.

    A person has a right to survive by any means necessary.

    A person has a right to travel wherever they can go.

    These are not subjective things. It's objectively true that within a state of nature a living person can say anything they want. They can do anything they want to attempt to live. They can travel anywhere they can feasibly go on their own power. These aren't subjective things, they're objective. There's nothing inherently stopping an individual from being able to do those things.

    Where "morality" typically comes into play with regards to rights is a notion that BECAUSE they're a right they can't be infringed upon. However, in my view, there is no expectation within the state of nature that a natural right will be infringed upon. Indeed, there is absolutely NO natural right to have your rights respected. That requires an action (or inaction) on another person or things part, and as such can't possibly be a natural right. A natural right is only that which the individual can do.

    It is only through the social contract that the notion of morality enters into play with rights. It's only through the social contract, and the muturally agreed upon limiting and protecting of various rights, that we form the moral belief that some natural rights deserve protections and/or respect to various degrees.

    This is why I said that, in general, there's an underlining moral notion as it relates to all of our laws.

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    legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    Have you actually read my argument as it relate sto natural rights? Because if so, I'm unsure how you can suggest it's subjective.

    To me, a natural right is anything an individual can attempt to do on their own volition within the state of nature.

    A person has a right to speak whatever they wish.

    A person has a right to survive by any means necessary.

    A person has a right to travel wherever they can go.

    These are not subjective things. It's objectively true that within a state of nature a living person can say anything they want. They can do anything they want to attempt to live. They can travel anywhere they can feasibly go on their own power. These aren't subjective things, they're objective. There's nothing inherently stopping an individual from being able to do those things.

    Where "morality" typically comes into play with regards to rights is a notion that BECAUSE they're a right they can't be infringed upon. However, in my view, there is no expectation within the state of nature that a natural right will be infringed upon. Indeed, there is absolutely NO natural right to have your rights respected. That requires an action (or inaction) on another person or things part, and as such can't possibly be a natural right. A natural right is only that which the individual can do.

    It is only through the social contract that the notion of morality enters into play with rights. It's only through the social contract, and the muturally agreed upon limiting and protecting of various rights, that we form the moral belief that some natural rights deserve protections and/or respect to various degrees.

    This is why I said that, in general, there's an underlining moral notion as it relates to all of our laws.
    I have read your argument but I pretty much disagree with it's basis. Nature gives nobody any rights other than what someone can win for themselves. We simply see the default position oppositely. Rights are won by force and force alone.

    For exams in your travel example. If I do not have functioning legs or other means of mobility, I have no right to go anywhere unless I can get someone to help me.

    Also it's a moral argument as while we may have the ability to do this or that, the assumption that it is good and proper is a huge unfounded logical leap. I think it's called the is ought problem.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 04-25-14 at 10:18 AM.

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    Re: legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by tacomancer View Post
    Nature gives nobody any rights other than what someone can win for themselves.
    That doesn't conflict with what I said.

    You have the right to survive. That doesn't mean you GET to survive. If you want food you're going to have to take food. If someone else already has that food, then you're going to need to take that food from them. If you can't, too bad, so sad.

    So you suggest a person, in a state of nature, cannot say anything they wish abscent an exterior force stopping them from saying it?

    Are you suggesting a person, in a state of nature, cannot attempt to survive unless an exterior force is phsyically stopping them from doing so?

    Is it your assertion that a person, in a state of nature, cannot travel wherever they physically are able to travel unless an exterior force is physically sotpping them from doing so?

    A person has the right in nature to do all those things. That doesn't mean they have the right to successfully do it or the right to be free from being stopped from doing it.

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    legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    That doesn't conflict with what I said.

    You have the right to survive. That doesn't mean you GET to survive. If you want food you're going to have to take food. If someone else already has that food, then you're going to need to take that food from them. If you can't, too bad, so sad.

    So you suggest a person, in a state of nature, cannot say anything they wish abscent an exterior force stopping them from saying it?

    Are you suggesting a person, in a state of nature, cannot attempt to survive unless an exterior force is phsyically stopping them from doing so?

    Is it your assertion that a person, in a state of nature, cannot travel wherever they physically are able to travel unless an exterior force is physically sotpping them from doing so?

    A person has the right in nature to do all those things. That doesn't mean they have the right to successfully do it or the right to be free from being stopped from doing it.
    If no ability is attached then rights are meaningless and of no use. Why care then?

    What am I getting out of it if it in no way alters my life?

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    Re: legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by tacomancer View Post
    If no ability is attached then rights are meaningless and of no use.
    I never suggested there is use, or that you should care. Though I would say there is a use. There's a use that you're able to do try and do those things I speak of. There's use in the understanding that, save for death (or a few extreme phyiscal maiming), those "natural rights" can never be forcefully REMOVED....only limited.

    A society could pass every law imaginable to limit what, when, and how someone may express themselves. But that would be all it is, a LIMIT. Take that individual out of that society and place them back within a state of nature and they would still have the ability to express themselves. That right isn't remove, it's simply limited.

    But yes...outside of a social contract...the "value" of ones rights largely rest on the ability one has to actively persue them, and no more.

    Nothing about a right requires that you "get something out of it" or htat it "alters your life" outside of the fact that you're able to attempt to employ said rights.

    That's the whole appeal of a social contract. Without it, natural rights are valuable only to the level that you personally are able to protect them and execute them.

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    Re: legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by ecofarm View Post
    Killing harmless helpless captives is disgusting.
    And what of all those "harmless helpless captives" who themselves have murdered countless "harmless helpless victims"? Where does your morality play open its curtain on that reality? Or do you have zero empathy with murdered victims?

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    legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    I never suggested there is use, or that you should care. Though I would say there is a use. There's a use that you're able to do try and do those things I speak of. There's use in the understanding that, save for death (or a few extreme phyiscal maiming), those "natural rights" can never be forcefully REMOVED....only limited.

    A society could pass every law imaginable to limit what, when, and how someone may express themselves. But that would be all it is, a LIMIT. Take that individual out of that society and place them back within a state of nature and they would still have the ability to express themselves. That right isn't remove, it's simply limited.

    But yes...outside of a social contract...the "value" of ones rights largely rest on the ability one has to actively persue them, and no more.

    Nothing about a right requires that you "get something out of it" or htat it "alters your life" outside of the fact that you're able to attempt to employ said rights.

    That's the whole appeal of a social contract. Without it, natural rights are valuable only to the level that you personally are able to protect them and execute them.
    So these supposed rights don't actually exist any more than a mythical perfect red balloon. It never goes beyond the imagination then. Thus is not real as there is no actual manifestation.

    I just don't buy your argument. I can believe any social convention or any idea I want but it's just an idea as it has no effect on my life unless I take action.

    Natural rights are not verifiable by science, not testable, and cannot be found in nature by any known method of discovery or data gathering.

    To be fair thus is true for any social construct. I will never get why people insist that these things are real when they are beyond verification. It's irrational
    Last edited by tacomancer; 04-25-14 at 12:38 PM.

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    Re: legislating morality

    Quote Originally Posted by tacomancer View Post
    So these supposed rights don't actually exist any more than a mythical perfect red balloon.
    Not at all.

    They clearly exist. In a state of nature, abscent any external forces, said red balloon would not exist.

    But a persons ability to speak and express themselves would.

    This is absolutely testable and verifiable...albiet not a test that would be likely to occur.

    Take a person and find a way to instill memory loss. Put them in nature....say the appalachian mountains. Can that person express himself? Yes. Could that person start to believe the sun is a god? Absolutely. Is he able to eat anything he's able to procure? Sure thing. Can he travel wherever he wants. Yes. Those are his natural rights based on his simple existance...he has the natural rights, the ability, to do anything he's physically capable of doing in order to survive and/or please himself.

    No society is needed to allow him to do those things. No social construct is needed to allow him to do those things. If he finds fruit on a tree and is able to pull it down, then he can eat it. There is nothing, at all, that says he can't. It's his natural right to do such.

    If you put down a second person into the same situation and he also saw that fruit and he killed the first person and took the fruit, that's perfectly within his rights as well because they both have the right to survive and to food...it just happens that one person was able to exercise that right successfully, and the other wasn't.

    A natural right is anything an individual can attempt to do within the state of nature. People have a natural right to eat, to travel, to speak, to believe as they wish, to survive. These things are ingrain. Nothing short of death or something akin to it (ie: brain dead) can permanently take them away from you. There is no conceivable way to PERMANENTLY remove a persons ability to express themselves short of what I just stated. It's literally impossible. You can restrict it to SIGNIFICANT degrees, you can make it almost impossible...but no matter what you did, if you put them back into a state of nature abscent any external forces they'd still be able to express themselves. This is an innate, natural right that is present and available to people simply by the nature of existing.

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