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Thread: Should the government legislate morality?

  1. #61
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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    I value security, order and liberty because when I have them I am happy. I want laws to be instituted that foster these things.

    Can you please point out where morality comes into this rationale?
    In your definitions of "security", "order", and "liberty".

  2. #62
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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    I would like to see you define that distinction. Because my point is that there isn't one. There is only the morality of one person, as contrasted by the morality of another.
    I already have offered one suggestion. If concepts of "fairness" and "harm" are not sufficiently defined for your liking I cannot help you, but I think they are clear enough to eradicate most of the problematic "morals" legislation in our books.

  3. #63
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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krhazy View Post
    I already have offered one suggestion. If concepts of "fairness" and "harm" are not sufficiently defined for your liking I cannot help you, but I think they are clear enough to eradicate most of the problematic "morals" legislation in our books.
    The point is that this legislation is only "problematic" because you don't agree with the moral notions it is based upon. That morality legislation was passed because some people did agree with it.

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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    I voted other, some things they should and others they shouldn't. I think the government should legislate morality in some cases like abortion. However other things the government should not, such as gay marriage.
    Treating gay people equally is moral...















    morals are subjective

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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleDude View Post
    yet there are other sound reasons to make murder illegal-ie to prevent anarchy and vigilante justice. however, there are no other reasons to say ban liquor sales on sunday or hunting on sunday
    Keep the Sabbath Day holy.... well, the Christian Sabbath (Sunday) anyway

  6. #66
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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    In your definitions of "security", "order", and "liberty".
    Security: the knowledge that I am reasonably safe financially, that I won't suffer bodily harm or death, and that my belongings are safe from being pilfered.

    Order: Examples: that I can leave my home and be safe from inadvertent harm from others. That there is a structure in law for commerce to freely occur, but with rules so as to reduce risk to participant citizens. The aim being an environment of increasing or stable prosperity in which I can operate.

    Liberty: That I am free from interference from others when my actions do not harm them. That I have an equal opportunity with others, under the law, to participate in the competitive marketplace and in society.

    And so forth.

    These are the things that provide an opportunity for happiness. As an exchange with the others who live in this society, I will do my part to ensure that others have these things as well. I have no moral justification for striking this deal, it is merely enlightened self interest. No moral justification is necessary.
    You can never be safe from a government that can keep you completely safe from each other and the world. You must choose.

  7. #67
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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    One aspect of law is to define the basic, agreed upon morality of a given society, so it is appropriate for government to "legislate morality". The debate then becomes about the agreed upon morality. Generally speaking, almost everyone is going to push for at least a few laws which are a part of their own moral code, but that are not "agreed upon" by the society as a whole. These proposed laws tend to be shot down.

    One of the reasons I consider myself an anti-federalists is because of the interconnected nature of morality and law. I believe that there is a greater likelihood of gaining a social agreement on a specific morality on the small scale, but that as the population affected by the morality increases, the likelihood of agreement decreases and this leads to disenfranchisement and discord within the population.

    Tucker, I think that's one of the best posts you've ever made.

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  8. #68
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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    The point is that this legislation is only "problematic" because you don't agree with the moral notions it is based upon. That morality legislation was passed because some people did agree with it.
    Exactly.

    Almost all laws are a legislation of morality, or at least a reflection of it. Morality is "what is right, what is wrong." Murder is illegal because we collectively believe it is wrong: this is a moral belief. Laws against having sex with a 13yo are laws because enough people believe it is wrong to do so... this is a societal expression of what we believe is immoral.

    The only laws that are not an expression of morality in some sense, are those where Senator Bubbajay gets a special tax exemption for Developers Inc, in "thanks" for their campaign support... that's just plain old graft.

    Adultery is widely considered immoral, but not as strongly as was the case 50 years ago. Then, many states had laws making adultery an actual crime. In the years since, society has become morally looser and collectively decided that that was too harsh... and most of those laws went away. You could call that a legalistic expression of our immorality, perhaps...

    The point is, there's no point in arguing whether we should "legislate morality". We do. All the time. The only real question is "WHOSE morality do we legislate, yours or mine?"

    In practice, it ends up being a little of both. What ends up being law, specifically what ends up being a crime, is often because a large majority of people find it morally reprehensible. Things that are considered morally reprehensible by a small minority are less likely to achieve legal standing.

    That's just an overview of a much more complex subject, and skips over a lot of details, but you get the drift.
    Last edited by Goshin; 02-12-11 at 11:04 PM.

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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Your Star View Post
    Should the government force a person to live a moral life,(if so, who decides what is moral?), or should the government let the individual have the responsibility of living a moral life.
    Morality cannot be legislated as people are endowed with free will, laws reflect the morality or the lack thereof of a culture they do not manufacture it. Any law is only as moral as the people who choose to obey it. If every citizen in the US decided they did not want to obey the law of the land do you think all the civil servants combined could enforce all the laws? Of course not, people obey the law because they make a free will choice to obey the law. Where do you think our laws come from...BIG BROTHER, no, they come from the will of the people who appointee representatives to reflect their will, if they do not....they get fired. We the People are the LAW in this Constitutional Republic, as only they have the authority to CHANGE the CONSTITUTION through a super majority ratification process.

    Look at EGYPT...why did the PEOPLE revolt? BECAUSE they are endowed with FREE WILL.
    Think about it....if the Government could legislate morality...there would a 0% rate of crime. The quickest way to reduce the crime rate in this nation by 50% or more would be to do away with 50% of the superfluous law where BIG BROTHER has his nose half way up THE PEOPLE'S hind quarters.
    Last edited by Walter; 02-13-11 at 12:07 AM.

  10. #70
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    Re: Should the government legislate morality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Exactly.

    Almost all laws are a legislation of morality, or at least a reflection of it. Morality is "what is right, what is wrong." Murder is illegal because we collectively believe it is wrong
    It's illegality does not have to be justified by morality. We can, as a society, simply agree that we will perforce refrain from murder because we want to be reasonably free of the threat of murder.


    : this is a moral belief. Laws against having sex with a 13yo are laws because enough people believe it is wrong to do so... this is a societal expression of what we believe is immoral.
    Again, we can agree to strike a bargain, here, because we simply want our children to be happy, and we believe that they are unable to make informed consent with a person so much more mature than they are.

    The only laws that are not an expression of morality in some sense, are those where Senator Bubbajay gets a special tax exemption for Developers Inc, in "thanks" for their campaign support... that's just plain old graft.
    Only certain laws require moral justification because they have no other. These laws should not be on the books.

    Adultery is widely considered immoral, but not as strongly as was the case 50 years ago. Then, many states had laws making adultery an actual crime. In the years since, society has become morally looser and collectively decided that that was too harsh... and most of those laws went away. You could call that a legalistic expression of our immorality, perhaps...
    Adultery laws can be justified by the notion that we want to reduce our risk of emotional harm from others, and we want to spare our children of the emotional harm that adultery leads to. Again, these laws can be justified by the striking of a bargain.

    The point is, there's no point in arguing whether we should "legislate morality". We do. All the time. The only real question is "WHOSE morality do we legislate, yours or mine?"
    This is precisely why laws are best not legislated on morality. They must find their justification in the bargain that is struck between us and the rest of society. We may not agree on what best meets the requirements of the bargain, but at least this can be reasoned upon. We can agree on the basis for the bargain, regardless of religion or sect. We cannot agree on religion. In fact, the seeking of agreement on religion is a fools errand that disrupts the prospects for a society where security, orderliness and liberty hold sway.

    In practice, it ends up being a little of both. What ends up being law, specifically what ends up being a crime, is often because a large majority of people find it morally reprehensible. Things that are considered morally reprehensible by a small minority are less likely to achieve legal standing.

    That's just an overview of a much more complex subject, and skips over a lot of details, but you get the drift.
    The drift is that we have no common basis on which to frame our justifications for laws. Thus, reason cannot play a role. This is a bad situation.
    Last edited by Dezaad; 02-13-11 at 12:05 AM.
    You can never be safe from a government that can keep you completely safe from each other and the world. You must choose.

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