Legislating Morality vs. Legislating Freedom RE-DONE

So I am sure that many of you are sitting here saying, “didn’t we just talk about this subject?” Well, the answer would be yes and no. I felt as though we began to discuss this subject but that it quickly devolved away from the subject and into other realms. I was not the only one that noticed this, as several of you left comments lamenting the lack of discussion on the topic at hand and several others sent me emails to espouse the same sentiment. So I decided that I would offer the article up again and see if we can’t get a more focused conversation around it. For anyone that forgot, or who wasn’t around for the original posting last week, I offered this as a mash-up with both my and Jon Smith’s thoughts on the subject. I have changed the first paragraph (the one you are reading right now) but have otherwise left the article unchanged. What I would like to do is discuss the concept of legislating morality as compared to legislating freedom, and ferret out why one works and the other is one that leads us down a path of tyranny and oppression. I will bring over some of the conversations that I felt went down the right path, and obviously others are welcome to do the same. This is not an attempt to keep anyone’s thoughts down, but more to have another chance to discuss a topic that I felt kind of got away from us.

You see, my problem is that I fail to see how “moral” law and “freedom” law can coexist as equal aspirations in modern America. Don’t get me wrong, laws that protect and promote freedom should adhere to a moral code. But we should remember that the first rule of law should be protecting freedom, while the moral aspect is one to strive for. Freedom must be the absolute that guides our decisions. Freedom should never be a like to have, it must always be a starting point. We cannot expect to live free if we attempt to do it backwards. We simply cannot be free if we start by saying moral law is the goal, and then try to find a way to be free around it. There is simply no clear definition of “moral”. Christians like to tell us that the bible tells us what moral law is. That is all fine…. unless you are not a christian, in which case what the bible says means nothing to you. To force you to adhere to the bible when you don’t believe in it certainly doesn’t fit anyone’s definition of freedom. More important, that you do not believe in the bible has no bearing on whether you are a moral person. 70% of the world is not christian, yet the vast majority still manage to be moral.

In discussing this below, Jon Smith is reacting to TexasChem. TC has been one of the bigger advocates for legislating morality. It appears to be his contention that a society that fails to legislate morality will thus fall into being immoral (the appears is italicized only because I cannot claim to actually speak for TC). This is a contention that I completely disagree with. You simply cannot legislate morality, because making something legal or illegal does not change what the people in a society view as wrong or right. It simply inserts government into the picture, nothing more and nothing less. Regardless of what the law says, people will act morally or they will not. TC believes gay marriage is immoral. But legislating that gay marriage is illegal will not make gay people straight. It will not make the number of gay people decline. It will simply set a rule that makes being gay illegal, not immoral. And for what purpose? What act of violence did that gay couple commit? How did they infringe on other’s ability to live a moral life?

As Americans, we fail to see that the whims of our own personal morality cannot be the basis of law. Black Flag likes to point out the Law of Mutuality, and it absolutely applies in this situation. For one to believe that since the majority feels that something is moral so it is OK to legislate that belief, they must also accept that when they are the minority, their own beliefs are subject to being outlawed. Legislating anything based on christianity because a majority are christians sets the table for the fact that should another religion rise to majority status, christians are subject to having THEIR practices and beliefs outlawed. Christians seem to be OK with that in the US because they simply cannot fathom the idea that they could ever be the minority. But that is an insane assumption given the dramatic rates with which people are walking away from the church.

I hear a lot of outcry against Sharia law in our country. My personal belief is that Sharia law is barbaric and cruel. Christians feel the same, and make the mistake of claiming they can morally legislate against it in the same way that they believe they can legislate against gay marriage. Follow that trail of logic. Christians believe that they have the right to legislate THEIR version of marriage as the only kind of legal marriage in America. But what happens if muslims or homosexuals become the majority in America. Will christians accept that since the majority believes in it, that only Sharia law or gay marriage would be the legally accepted version of marriage. Would they be prepared for the law to refuse to recognize the marriage between a man and a woman? Would they be prepared to recognize the right of a husband to require that his wife be covered from head to toe? I think not. I think christians would tell the muslims and homosexuals that they have no right to tell christians how to live their personal lives. Yet the christians believe that they have a right to tell those two groups how to do exactly that!

The answer, and one that those who wish to legislate moral law refuse to accept, is to take personal accountability for our own lives and how we live them, while understanding that how others live their lives is none of our business. Our laws should never, ever, dictate to another how to live their lives or dictate to others what they cannot do, unless those actions will somehow impact another’s personal freedom. I can live on a street full of muslims practicing Sharia law, or a street full of homosexuals all in same sex marriages, and it will not impact the marriage that I have one iota! It won’t make me want to cover my wife when she goes in public, and it wont’ make me suddenly decide that my wife isn’t attractive but Mike over there is. What those other families do has no impact on my freedom. So there should be no law limiting their ability to do so.

The bottom line is this: Refusing to legislate morality does not impact that moral character of a community, a city, a state, or a country. To believe otherwise is to believe that people cannot be moral unless the law tells them to. What has caused the rapid loss of morals in our society is the fact that people have fallen into the false belief that it is government’s job to dictate moral action. They have abdicated personal responsibility. It is the job of a parent to teach morals. It is not the job of society to enforce morals through legislation. Morality dies the day parents no longer believe it is their role exclusively to teach and enforce moral behavior to their children. When we start believing that the most corrupt and immoral institution in America, government, should be enforcing morality, we are in deep trouble.

She is the MAJORITY Leader now... Do you really want her defining morality?

In a bizarre twist, the christian right still believes that the majority should enforce moral law on others…. in a time when they are no longer in the majority. Christians, the majority is speaking! And they have rejected what you believe. Do you not understand that this is exactly why you cannot legislate morality, why you cannot allow government to set those rules? The progressive movement has grown tremendously. You rail against them for infringing on your freedoms, while simultaneously claiming that the majority have the right to have government infringe upon freedoms!

This is why, my friends, legislating morality is a very, very bad idea. It is why the only way that laws should be placed into society is as a mechanism to protect freedom. Freedom must be the starting point. Both sides of the political spectrum in American politics are off kilter, because neither is any longer the party of freedom. We have the party of big government against the party of small government (hypothetically at least). But no party of freedom.

When morality becomes the basis for law, then we have sacrificed what this country was truly intended to represent. The founders believed in a country where government’s only purpose was to serve the people and protect the individual rights that are inherent to all men. They did not, I repeat did not, believe that the country was meant to be one where judeo-christian values became the rule of law. All those that claim otherwise are lying to themselves. It matters not one whit what the religion of the founders was. They were not constructing a church. They were constructing a country, and one where the right to worship as you choose was paramount to their struggle. The key to their system was that it protected inherent rights. THAT was the purpose. The day morality becomes the basis for law in America, Freedom has truly died, and America will not be far behind it.

Moral Law vs. Freedom Law
by Jon Smith

I was asked recently on USWeapon’s blog by a smart fellow blogger named TexasChem about moral law versus natural law. I took from TexasChem’s definition that when he said “natural law”, he was referring to “natural rights”, or the freedoms which are our birthright. I will refer to this here as “freedom law”, as it more clearly defines the basis for law as I see it.

We are all free individuals. This concept of freedom is more clearly defined as legal freedom, wherein we are free from government law or restriction that violates our freedom, and we are free from authorized violence or infringement on our freedoms by other persons. Any action we choose to take that does not restrict the freedoms or damage/take away the property of another person is not to be legally stopped or restricted.

There are influences of social mores that may still be in effect, and there are aspects of societal interaction that influence morality, but in all, freedom is its own thing. There are no laws in such a society that enforce morality, except for laws and enforcement against immoral acts that violate the freedoms of other individuals. This does not mean that such a society is immoral, it simply means that its morality is the responsibility of its own people, not of law or government.

In a society of moral law, there may be many things that overlap the society based on freedom law. No stealing, no murder, no coercion or violence, no fraud, etc. The issue is that there are certain freedoms that are violated by society. People are not allowed to do things that harm themselves, or that are bad in society’s eyes. People cannot drink or smoke or wear improper clothing, etc. Such a society might function well in theory. The issue is that the decision of what is moral is decided by whom?

There is no logical premise for consistency in such a moral society. There is no basis for what is appropriate to wear. Is it immoral to wear a bikini? Is it immoral to wear jeans that are too tight? Is it immoral for a native tribe to wear breach cloths and no top? Whose morality are we talking about? What is the basis for moral law? Christianity? Islamic faith? Buddhism? Witchcraft? Atheism? What really decides what is moral? With freedom law, it can be consistently decided that what is freedom for one can be freedom for another, and what things violate the freedom of one cannot be freedoms for another.

Morality has no such universal application.

So what about a hybrid? No such hybrid can exist. The issues that arise in inconsistency in moral law would still arise in a hybrid. In instances where morality called for universal charity to be forced by law, freedom law is violated. In cases where morality called for making certain clothing illegal, freedom of choice is violated. Where does it end? In cases where there are disagreements on morality, those in favor of moral law can use the law of the land in their favor, or can use it as an excuse for being immoral. When morality is not the responsibility of society it is passed off onto government. When it becomes the responsibility of law, of the government, then people use that as either a hammer to force compliance (even if your code of morality differs) or an excuse for immoral acts.

So what is the effect on faith, on moral code itself? When people comply by force of law they consider themselves in compliance, but are they moral? Is morality just a listing of acts or lack of acts? Is it just a matter of what is on the outside? For some maybe it is, but for most, faith and morality is a matter of the inside, the heart, the soul, the faith within. Such things are lost in a society of moral law.

I submit that morality is essential in a society. Great societies in history have always fallen. On the path to failing, those societies have generally gone through a period of comparative immorality. Was it the loss of the moral code or the corresponding attitude of self-indulgence and selfishness. Was it the lack of family structure or the ease of indoctrination it leads to, or both? Was it the failure of people to be moral or the failing of their faith in anything? Was it the loss of morality or the dependency people had on government enforcing it? Was it the loss of morality or the loss of faith itself?

I submit that morality, at least the action and inactions associated with it, are an outward expression of the state of society and the individuals in it. By the time morality is lost, faith and cohesion and even a true belief in freedom for all is already lost in society.

Using law to try to hang on to that morality is like closing the gate after the horse has escaped. In fact, since the use of law to create morality reduces the need or motivation for faith or societal mores, it is more like sabotaging the gate and so that the horse can get out, then tying it shut.

I submit that freedom law, natural law, the rights of all men to be free, is the only standard by which law can be consistently written. I also submit that moral law is a farce, a concept that cannot be compatible with freedom, in spite of the fact that so much of morality and moral law complies with freedom law. So much of it matches. And so much of it feels like the right thing to moral people. I do not have a problem with morality. I do not have a problem with many of the things that those who seek moral law want. I think many of them would be good for society. I think a society that supports family values and minimal self destruction is a good thing. I think a society that cared nothing for that is a bad one or at least an unhealthy one, no matter how free its law might be. But a society that tries to use law to support such values is already on the path to destruction, and it will end in evil and tyranny no matter how much it may want to save itself.

Advertisements

Comments

  1. G.A. Rowe says:

    Now to the subject matter at hand here; In our founding documents nowhere does it say that we should be living under a moral law or specific moral code. No, I will not do a BF book here on this statement. Having said that, it is my personal belief that morality is an individual trait and/or lifestyle. We can make laws that make certain reprehensible immoral behavior illegal (like rape, etc.), but it is impossible to legislate ones thoughts. Also, we hint at good moral behavior with our national motto – “In God We Trust” – and that is as far as we should go.

    Note to the ACLU; A belief in God by a government does not a national religion make. God, in and of Himself, is not a religion, but the one entity that religions are formed to show worship for. I, for one, do not belong to any organized religion yet I do have a firm belief in God.

    • USWeapon says:

      G.A. Rowe

      I think that I am in complete agreement here. We are meant to be a moral people, and I don’t think that anyone here at SUFA has any problem with the church espousing what they believe moral to be. That is their right. Where we run into trouble is when the church feels that they have the right to enforce their beliefs on to others who do not follow that religion, or when the church decides that something that the church doesn’t condone must be outlawed for all others to do.

      USW

      • How many times do I have to repeat this argument?

        “Where we run into trouble is when the church feels that they have the right to enforce their beliefs on to others who do not follow that religion, or when the church decides that something that the church doesn’t condone must be outlawed for all others to do.”

        Anyone who does not believe something is wrong cannot be restrained from doing so? Do we not lock up rapists and murderers despite the fact that they obviously don’t think it’s wrong to rape or murder? Why is it wrong for a religious person to try to create laws based on what they believe? Why is it so wrong for the church to try to guide laws?

        Many people in this country think that illegal aliens should be allowed into the US. They think it is wrong to turn them away. Are we not imposing what we think is right (protecting borders) on them? Why is it so onerous when this comes from the church, but not from “secular” people?

        • JB,

          Do you think murder and rape is wrong or right depending on belief or is it wrong or right depending on Human Rights?

          • What if we disagree on what is a “human right”? Abraham Lincoln certainly would disagree with many people now. Who is right? If we decide we are right and Abe is wrong, are we not imposing our idea of right and wrong on him? After all, he didn’t think black people should be equal to white people…

            Basically, my point is this. If we can’t legislate morality, what can we legislate? Despite the twisting of words you can use to convince yourself otherwise, we legislate what we think is right and wrong. It is right to protect freedom, wrong to remove it, or whatever. As soon as someone disagrees, we are imposing our morals on them. This will NEVER BE AVOIDED! Deal with it!

        • It is wrong because it violates freedom and uses force to ensure people do things that are matters of the heart. It is, in fact, wrong according to the Church’s original leader’s teachings. His kingdom is not of this world, thus fighting, force, is not to be used. Teach, inspire, influence, evangelize. Do not resort to use of law.

          An yes, that is why I have a problem with immigration policy. Now, protect people on the border from violence? That is fine. I say send the military and kick the cartel’s butts. Hard. But do not block the border unless people are violating freedoms and property of others by crossing.

    • G.A. Rowe,

      In our founding documents nowhere does it say that we should be living under a moral law or specific moral code.

      What is important, G.A., is not what any document says or doesn’t – what is important is whether the organization or institution is rooted in a Rightful premise.

      Are you saying that if such documents DID state that its founding was based on some Moral Law or Religious dogma, you’d kill or die enforcing it?

      We can make laws that make certain reprehensible immoral behavior illegal (like rape, etc.),

      Rape is not moral questionit is an act of violence upon an innocent person.

      It is this utter confusion that assaults on human rights and “morality” are the same thing. They are not.

      Morals are standards of non-violent behavior within society.

      our national motto – “In God We Trust” – and that is as far as we should go.

      …and again, you are dangerously mistaken.

      The original national motto was

      Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness

      The alteration to invoke God – and happenstance of “faith” – perverts the effort required to maintain one’s own life, freedom and existence.

      • I thought our original motto was “E pluribus unum” meaning -out of many, one

        • V.H.

          Interesting point!

          The original founding document, the Declaration of Independence, has the “Life,Liberty, Happiness”.

          The motto: “E pluribus unum”, a motto requested by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere and found in 1776 on the Seal of the United States, along with Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum, and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782. But as a motto, it was never made into law.

          Thus, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H.J. Resolution 396), adopting In God We Trust as the official motto.

          (from Wiki)

          I assert that that the founding motto was Liberty as offered by the Declaration of Independence and that further usurpation of the motto only helped establish centralized government control.

  2. SK Trynosky Sr says:

    From SK Trynosky Sr:

    Before going off into a religious rant here which I don’t want to do, I want to posit that all past societies have acknowledged that a creator (or creators) exist. That there has been intelligent design. Even if all these societies were perpetrating a gigantic, multi generational fraud, they have one thing in common, they have created a morality around their belief system. If nothing else, this morality has kept their societies in line and has harnessed, more or less, man’s propensity for doing harm to others. Out of religious law came civil law.

    The argument branches out wildly from this point. My two main points would be that where civil societies turn their back on religious faith, soviet communism and Nazism, (both logical creations of unbridled human intellect) for example, thing do not turn out well. The other would be that perhaps, just perhaps, religions are not all the same. A religion that says Joe must be thrown into the volcano to appease the volcano god is markedly different from one that tells you to turn the other cheek and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Perhaps those sneaky ancient Hebrews, led by Moses were onto something with part two of Commandment one, “you shall have no other Gods before me”. As a Christian who considers myself a descendant of the ancient Hebrews, I have no problem with my own religion and “God” being a false God. He is the continuation of the Hebrew God.

    • USWeapon says:

      SK,

      Some good points here. I agree that the vast majority of past societies have recognized the existence of some sort of creator. The founders did this as well. I have no problem with religion as a societal monitor. If religion expects man to act morally, and further promotes the idea that a failure to act moral will be judged upon death by the creator, I am all for it. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs around religion. Where we cross the line is when we decide that such judgements will be made by man, and that what is taught in religious text should be written into law. Because that holds many people who don’t believe in that text or that particular creator to a standard that they don’t believe in. In other words, it encroaches on the liberty of free men and women. It is why freedom and liberty must be the catalyst for law, not morality.

      Your second paragraph is somewhat confusing for me. It appears that you believe two things. First that my belief that freedom must be what law is based upon means that I in any way think that religion is bad or that we, as a society, should turn away from it. I think no such thing. In fact, I think that the basic principles of the christian church, as well as many other religions, are good for society, and I wish that more people would find some sort of faith that pushes them to be better people. I in no way want to limit religion’s influence over society. I only want to limit religion’s influence on law. Second, you seem to make the case that christianity is more tolerant than your hypothetical Joe vs the Volcano religion. An easy argument to make. However, we must not fall into the trap where we deem one religion better than another LEGALLY. And that is what happens when we legislate morality. Joe’s religion is absolutely fine so long as the people leaping into the volcano are doing so of their own free will. I can choose to follow Joe’s religion or reject it. It has no bearing on MY life. Therefore we should not be legislating for or against it.

      • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

        Just a quick comment on your last point. Are religions different? Should religions be treated differently under the law?

        # 1. Does Joe have a choice? Did Fay Ray have a choice when the people on Kong Island decided to offer her up as a sacrifice? Now, we all know that throughout history there have been religions that demanded human sacrifice (think Aztecs and Mayans as a truly horrific example). Our mistake, being 21st Century, full of ourselves folks also full of hubris is thinking that somehow humanity has gone beyond that. That’s why I like to watch Serling’s old “Twilight Zone” reruns and Gene Roddenberrys’ Scripts for “Have Gun Will Travel” as well as “Star Trek”. These guys, more than most, understood real human nature and how rapidly it can devolve.

        # 2. Sharia Law, and while we are at it some of the more exotic Christian sects that seem to set the age of consent somewhat low.

        So, unfortunately I do have to deem one religion better than another “legally”. If I don’t, I’m stuck in a place I don’t want to be.

        A little later on Flag takes me on and says that I am wrong, that religion arose out of Civil Society and religion “enforced” civil. I disagree completely. Man, with all his intellect is a superstitious fellow. So, whether man “invented” God or if God revealed himself to man is of no matter. The point was cause and effect. Bad things happened to the “Israelites” (for example) because they had lost their, faith or trust in God and went their own way. Golden calf anybody?

        Now, understand me Flag, I am not saying that religion and religious law has not been used as a hammer it was and is to this day. But, I see it being used that way to enforce laws that had an original foundation in religion.

        • S.K.

          more than most, understood real human nature and how rapidly it can devole

          Whoa! I sure hope you are not learning human self-organization and civilization by watching fantasy and myth on TV!!

          These guys got it almost all wrong.

          Civilization was not designed by some group of guys thinking it was a good idea.

          It exists naturally and undesigned as a Natural Consequence of Human Voluntary Cooperation

          People do not devolve into beasts – they evolve into civilization because voluntary cooperation is the most effective strategy of survival.

          This does not mean that People cannot devolve into beasts – it means that those People will perish – and those that do not devolve will survive.

          • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

            Yes, but while those people are busy devolving into beasts, they cause a whole lot of damage along the way.

            I have never been an advocate of one cause for anything but, after the Roman Empire fell, society fell back quite a ways and for quite a long time.

            One of the purposes of Literature, I was taught, was to be instructive. Be it Starship Troopers, Robinson Caruso, Lord of the Flies or les Mis, authors have taken the human condition and played “what if” based on past performance.

            I have had this ongoing debate with my eldest who never, ever reads literature. Its facts, facts, facts for him. I finally made a small dent when I gave him Jonathan Shea’s “Achillies in Vietnam” and “Odessyeus in America”. As an Army Medical Corps guy, he appreciated that the books were written by a shrink with an MD. He also managed to appreciate just how “on the spot” Homer was with depictions of combat stress and betrayal on coming home. Hopefully it made him think.

            • S.K.

              Yes, but while those people are busy devolving into beasts, they cause a whole lot of damage along the way.

              Temporary and repairable.

              The important point: humans natural tendency is to NOT devolve into barbarism, but to rise up into civilization.

              If civilized behavior (voluntary cooperation) is the natural state of man, then it requires a perversion to move humans off of such.

              Indeed, that perversion is government force – a violence upon non-violent men to behave and conform to another man’s ideas.

              Barbarianism is the root of all government as I’ve pointed out to Mathius many times.

              Government sits in opposition to civilization

              Immediate removal of goverment violence may create a temporary condition close to barbarism, not because barbarism is the natural state of man, but due to being under the arbitrary whims of violent power, the People cannot determine their most effect course of action other than using the violence they have suffered under for so long!

              Quickly, however, civilization takes root – violent men are disposed, and societal order is restored.

              , after the Roman Empire fell, society fell back quite a ways and for quite a long time.

              A blatant historical lie.

              Society did not collapse – in fact, it flourished.

              Under the Romans, as now, the perverse demands of Empire drove the treasury into bankrupcy.

              Taxes became so onerous that farmers abandoned the lands because they could not afford the taxes.

              Huge tracts of fertile land went fallow all over Europe, leading to mass famine.

              The fall of the Empire withdrew the Legions that the tax collectors depended on to enforce their seizures.

              Tax collectors were slaughtered – and most abandoned the task.

              Without the tax, farmers returned to their lands, and farmed – creating the largest increase in prosperity and population increase in history to that time.

              The advent of Global Cooling wiped this out – the long winter and short summer devastated the Northern Farms, creating the conditions for the development of the feudal system – a political system rooted in the Roman traditions.

              History demonstrates time and time again – free men create the greatest prosperity and quality of life and government systems destroy this.

              One of the purposes of Literature, I was taught, was to be instructive. Be it Starship Troopers, Robinson Caruso, Lord of the Flies or les Mis, authors have taken the human condition and played “what if” based on past performance.

              There is great danger in these fantasies.

              Most people do not understand the nature of civilization and its existence.

              Most people believe it was “designed” and “discovered”, like a science.

              Most people have a tremendous difficulty in accepting spontaneous order of Nature even though it is the single dominating feature of all Nature.

              So, mythologists – believing that a lack of some “controller”, whether it is the enlightened man or a God, will cause Mankind to turn back into apes.

              The fact, however, is that civilization is a consequence of the spontaneous order of Human Action, created by the Voluntary Cooperation that is natural in Men.

              It is in denying this Natural Law that many of the evil of men are created.

              • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

                Yes, society collapses in onto itself, bad things happen and man, because of his intellect (and something more I suspect) then climes back out of the hole, improves things, creates a new society which flourishes. Society then collapses etc., etc.

                Certainly those who brought about the downfalls of societies will perish. They will have ultimately destroyed that which protected them.

                My dilemna is that I am looking for a way out of the cycle. Is it even possible to achieve a society that allows maximum freedom and minimum repression or, is it in the very nature of man to tinker with something that works and “improve” it? I think that this is what most of us now see in our American system. Too damn much tinkering with something that has worked profoundly well in an effort to “improve” it, to iron out the bugs, to make it conform more to modern sensibilities or to have it be more “fair”.

        • S.K.

          History does not agree with you.

          Religion is an institution that exists solely as a means to control and manipulate People.

          Spiritualism whether shared in a group or individually is a search for the meaning of life and God (whatever you think that means)

          You compress both of these ideas under the banner of Religion. I think that is an error.

          All Religion exists on a platform of control, manipulation and power over others People by an Elite.

          • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

            Then, we shall just have to agree to disagree. If ever there was a chicken and egg one, this could be it.

          • I think this is mostly an argument of terms. BF sees religion as organized religion, a set of rules developed by man and said to be the “right” way. Personal belief, also called one’s religion, is one’s own belief system, be it in lock step with an organized religion or not. Most people who are “religious” do not like the term “spiritual, or spiritualism” because that term has also been bastardized, and is often used by those who are sort of like new age agnostics, with lots of feelings and no solid beliefs.

    • LOI, SK, and JAC says:

      Life Of Illusion said: SK, Great post. I have thought before, all these efforts by the ACLU and others, to ban any public Christian symbol, is likely to end in the fall of our nation. It might be OK to outlaw a moral code, but what are they replacing it with?

      SK Trynosky Sr said: Logic, sort of like the Nazi’s did. Pure human reason.

      Life Of Illusion said: Agree. Today’s logic, welfare show our society is good and moral. Result is an ever increasing poverty level.
      Single mother’s are just as good as married mothers, and any who say otherwise are sexist hater’s. And over 70% of our prison’s population come from a single mother
      home. Could it be that words like slut and bastard are good? Get a job, or go hungry is OK to say and mean?

      Just A Citizen said: SK, Let’s not forget that the Nazi’s Logic was in fact NOT logic at all. And they certainly didn’t apply Reason in reaching their views.

      They were ideological zealots just like many others of their kind in history. In fact Pragmatism is a better description of their thinking, not logic or reason.

      Theirs was a belief system rooted in Altruism just as all other forms of destructive political systems. Including our current one. The morality of Altruism implemented by Pragmatists.

      It makes for a deadly combination.

      • USWeapon says:

        A couple of thoughts here. First there is a false dilemma at play in this statement. I agree that the ACLU has worked to get religious symbols out of the public view. And that is simply sad. They are an out of control and irrelevant organization, and in my opinion, a complete fraud. I will be covering that in a topic soon. But they are not in a position to eliminate a moral code, nor have they realistically attempted to do so. They represent a legal standpoint, not a moral one, and they have no power to change what anyone believes. So the false dilemma is the question from LOI about what we are replacing it with. That is not the situation that we find ourselves in. We are free to practice our religion, and to pass our moral teachings from such onto our children. We are free to practice a moral life in every way. So we are not replacing it with anything. At this point we are simply not doing what it takes to sustain it in our society. The reason this has happened is because people began relying on government to enforce a moral code that government had no business enforcing in the first place.

        JAC brought out a very important and interesting point, and that is that we have allowed government to dictate moral behavior, which government has defined as altruism and a welfare state. The problem is that we are allowing government to legislate morality, to legislate altruism! Religion allowed government into the the morality business, moreover they forced government into the morality business with cries that government must enforce christian values, and now government no longer adheres to those values but still feels they have the right to enforce morals.

        We must understand that the reason we see morality that we do not agree with being legislated is BECAUSE WE ALLOWED GOVERNMENT TO GET INTO THE MORALITY BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE. At one time that benefitted the Christian church in America. Now it doesn’t. The Law of Mutuality bites us in the ass again.

        • USW said: “We must understand that the reason we see morality that we do not agree with being legislated is BECAUSE WE ALLOWED GOVERNMENT TO GET INTO THE MORALITY BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE. At one time that benefitted the Christian church in America. Now it doesn’t. The Law of Mutuality bites us in the ass again.”

          I am afraid as the son of a Baptist Preacher, I have to agree with your assessment of the situation USW.

          I say as the son of a B P only because may daddy never allowed politics into his church. Also, as a preacher, he never allowed ANY person running for office, even if he personally favored them, to put up signs in his yard.

          He always said that you cannot allow politics into religion because if you do, what will you do when it’s not YOUR religion that’s making the laws?

          I think we have all seen where theocracy can put you. (Iran) And besides that, I don’t want the Government telling me how to do ANYTHING.

          Government, it seems to me, should leave morality to the people and the religious institutions, and the politics to the people and the Government. (notice I put the PEOPLE first in BOTH instances?)

          The people should decide how they want morality enforced, AND what they consider Morality to be. But, how do the people get that moral code into society? Should we just put together a Alabama lynch society to enforce our code? Or should individuals decide on their own to enforce their own moral code?

          I don’t know the answer to these riddles. I do not have the faith that BF does in his fellow man though. I believe most men, if left to themselves, WOULD devolve into savagery. If their were no Law to stop them, they would not just lay down together like sheep and behave. Don’t kid yourselves. Most people out their would tend to barbarism just because they could if there were no Law to stop them.

          I think that a society MUST have a moral code AND a means to enforce that code against the barbarians among us. Whether it was voted on, or just BF’s thought that all people would just decide to be good because that is the way they are wired.

    • Jon Smith says:

      Well said. Religion, or at least some sort of belief system is the basis for all societies. It is part of humanity. It can be good or bad and lead to good or bad things. I do not propose a removal of morality or moral code from society. I propose that the society stop passing the buck on maintaining that moral code.

      Giving over the enforcement and maintenance of a societies moral code to the government is similar to giving over the care of one’s neighbors to government. Social safety nets and welfare programs are the antithesis of charity, they destroy the one in need and the one who would give, hardenning and driving a wedge between both, and removing the non-material help. Someone in need requires a lot more than just material things, in part because we are indeed more than just animals. Even the giver receives a lot when they give voluntarily.

      The exercising of social mores is similar. We must have them, but they must be ours, enforced by us, with an understanding of their importance and a vested interest in them. If the government is given the authorty to enact them, then we have already lost them in one way or another. I do not put freedom above morality in its importance to society. I DO put it first in societal structure.

      • USWeapon says:

        Jon,

        That first sentence that I bolded is the key to what we are discussing. No one believes that we should not have a moral code in America, but we must be vigilant in maintaining that it is not government’s job, or its right, to enforce that moral code. That doesn’t mean that no laws will not be tied to morality. Punishing murder is a moral premise, but the reason it must be enforced is not because the bible says murder is wrong, but because murder is a violation of our basic liberties, our inherent rights as human beings to live as free men.

        Overall, excellent post.

    • S.K.

      I will have to completely disagree.

      Out of religious law came civil law is completely incorrect.

      First came Civil Law, then came Religion as a means to enforce the Law.

  3. TexasChem says:

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again people.Our Laws are legislated in a manner using morals,voted upon using morals (whether using poor or good morals),and applied using morals.Anyone that thinks otherwise has been beaten nigh on to death with the stupid stick.Actually a Kool-Aid coated stupid stick if ya’ get my drift!

    • USWeapon says:

      TC,

      To an extent I agree. We HAVE legislated morals in the past, and the results have been disastrous. What once served your purpose now does the exact opposite.

      Morals shape our society, TC, no one argues that. Where we run into trouble is when you believe that what YOU believe is what EVERYONE must legally believe. The primary catalyst for law must be FREEDOM. You are free to practice your beliefs, to refuse to associate with those who do not believe as you do, and to teach your children the same. What you absolutely have no right to do is require me to be legally bound by what you believe. I have no problem with gay marriage because it does not impact me one bit. It doesn’t threaten my marriage. It doesn’t replace what my son believes, because I am the one responsible for teaching his what is right or wrong. Two men or two women getting married doesn’t impact your freedom or liberty one bit, so you have no right to legislate against it. Laws must be based on Freedom and liberty, not morality.

    • Just A Citizen says:

      JAC said: TexChem, Yes, moral standards are used to create laws. It is the selection of those moral standards that is the correct discussion.

      If we do not choose correctly then we guarantee freedom and liberty will be lost.

      Please note that when I refer to morals or ethics I recognize that their is a hierarchy of such principles.

      It is the fight over the CORE or the Irreducible Principle that I am discussing here.

      I am curious as to how you reconcile your strong religious beliefs with a core moral principle of individual sovereignty. The latter is a pre-requisite to supporting freedom and liberty as necessary to our “pursuit of happiness”.

      If you believe in the principles of freedom and liberty then how do you reconcile your belief that we should have laws governing the moral conduct of others, when those standards conflict with the core value of freedom.

      • USWeapon says:

        JAC, this is where you hit on the very important point in this whole discussion. The problem is not whether morals are used in determining what is right and wrong. The problem exists when we attempt to legislate in a way that decreases the individual sovereignty of man. You can have morals. You can vote based on those morals. However, we must never fall into the trap of deciding the morals one person has must be the morals that all people are forced to live by.

        The core, the base premise, the foundation, of all law, must be freedom and liberty. Everything else must flow from that. The right to legislate morality stops at the point where freedom and liberty are sacrificed by some in order to do so.

        • USW

          Your statement “However, we must never fall into the trap of deciding the morals one person has must be the morals that all people are forced to live by.” is FALSE, in my opinion.

          In fact the entire purpose of “morals” is to get all, or vast majority, to live by the same moral principles.

          So the issue is not moral vs something else, the question is “WHICH” moral principles do we choose.

          Bottom line, Freedom is a moral principle but I do not think it is necessarily the CORE moral principle. Freedom stands upon something else.

          Ask yourself, WHY is Freedom moral?

          • Freedom is moral (societally) because it is the only way that every individual is allowed to be moral (individually).

            • Jon

              Morals and morality is a social construct, not an individual one.

              You have no need for morals until you put other people into the mix.

              • Not true. One’s moral code includes actions towards oneself. If I do not drink alcohol or do drugs because I believe my body is a temple and it is immoral to do those things, that applies whether there are others around or not.

  4. Just A Citizen says:

    USW and Jon Smith

    I do not like the terms moral law and freedom law.

    While I understand and agree with your points, these terms create the appearance of differing types of laws without addressing what laws are founded upon.

    All laws should be based on some type of moral or ethical principles. Otherwise they are nothing but arbitrary.

    So the real issue is not the type of law, but the selection of the ethics or moral code selected to support the law.

    If you select religion as the source of your ethical standards then you get laws based on those standards. If you select freedom or individual sovereignty as your base moral standard then you get a different set of laws.

    It is the selection of the correct ethics that is the real issue. The laws should then conform to that standard. The reason we constantly struggle with conflicting laws (freedom vs someones moral standard) is because we are living with contradictions in our core philosophy.

    We claim we want freedom but then we try to support it with an ethic of altruism or even worse, one of whim. Or, we try to mix and match ethics such as “we want some freedom balanced with our duty to serve others”.

    Once we accept contradictions like this in the category of morals or ethics, we assure contradictions in our laws.

    Good article gentlemen.
    Best to you both
    JAC

    • USWeapon says:

      JAC,

      I agree and disagree. But my disagreement lies in semantics. I agree that law must be based on moral principles. That does not equal that laws should be based on morals as defined by religion. I know that you agree with that.

      The key is that “freedom law” is law that has, at its core, freedom as the underlying foundation, the pre-requisite for what will be acceptable and not acceptable. We must start with that premise, the premise that no matter what law is passed, it absolutely must meet the freedom requirement. If a law impedes the freedom and liberty of another, then we cannot accept that as law. Everything must pass the freedom law first. Obviously things like murder and theft are moral stances, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot meet the freedom pre-requisite. In fact they do by their very nature. It imposes on another’s freedom to murder or steal. That is why those laws pass the freedom requirement.

      My submission of the term freedom law simply means that I require freedom to be the underlying requirement. Moral law would have morality be the requirement, which may in fact impose on another’s freedom. THAT we should never allow.

      • USW

        You correctly reflect my view on religion as the source of moral law. Morals should be objectively identified. Now, to your claim;

        “The key is that “freedom law” is law that has, at its core, freedom as the underlying foundation,”

        How do you know this?

        Why?

        Are you sure there is no other “principle” that lies below, “supporting” freedom?

        • There can be many undelying principles. Mine is a utilitarian view, with freedom being the only real path to maximum potential, which I hold as the highest good. BF’s, I believe, is based on freedom itself as the highest good, with no underlying principle necessary. In fact, the only principles that would not support freedom are those which believe in inequality among humanity.

  5. USWeapon says:

    TO ALL,

    I have run out of time this evening to bring stuff over. There are still some other great discussions that happened on the other thread. Please feel free to bring over any that you want to continue. I am especially interested in pursuing the thread from BF on what is rightful law (#35 I think, which is a great comment and deserves some discussion). I am also interested in Jon-Paul’s comments and TC’s comments. I think this is a great discussion we can have.

    Just so I can be clear on what I believe. I have no problem with morality. I certainly have no problem with morality as defined by Christians. And I have no problem with morality having influence on our laws. That is to be expected. But it is my belief that the fundamental core for our law must be individual liberty, individual sovereignty. Morality can be entered into legislation ONLY IF IT FIRST MEETS THE FREEDOM PRE-REQUISITE. I get the impression that people misunderstand my position and think that I don’t believe that morality has any place in law. I simply believe that freedom is the primary requirement. THAT is what the founders intended. Morality as law is absolutely fine with me so long as it imposes on no one’s freedom. Banning gay marriage imposes on gay people’s freedom while gay marriage does not impose on straight people’s freedom. Therefore, there can be no law banning gay marriage. That is but one application as an example.

    So Freedom is my foundation for law. I am open to debate on whether it should be, but I am fairly convinced that religious morality CANNOT be the FOUNDATION for law. I am interested in discussing this, especially with BF, who it is my conclusion has non initiation of violence as his foundation for law.

    So everyone jump on this discussion yet again, and try not to get too sidetracked! The key question is how do we determine what is rightful law and what is not?

    • So Freedom is my foundation for law. I am open to debate on whether it should be, but I am fairly convinced that religious morality CANNOT be the FOUNDATION for law. I am interested in discussing this, especially with BF, who it is my conclusion has non initiation of violence as his foundation for law.

      I would argue in agreement with your paragraph here.

      Religious dogma is subjective and whimsical, no matter whose religion is exampled.

      One simply need to look at the Christians in argument whether Saturday is the Sabbath or Sunday is the Sabbath – all based on some Jewish tenant that demands a “day of Rest”. Then one stumbles into more dogma of what “rest” means – for the Jewish faith, it means not using tools or lights, for Christians, it merely means not showing up for economic work….. (shrug)….all utterly bizarre to any reasoning man.

      Can you imagine Law – the use of violence – being used to judge and enforce what “resting” means?????

      (or imagine the contradiction – is using violence to enforce rest a “restful” activity???)

    • USW and BF

      WHY?

      How do you know that liberty and freedom is the “foundation” for law?

      Is this the true Moral base or is there something that supports liberty and freedom?

      JAC

      • USWeapon says:

        JAC,

        Alrighty, I have seen you ask this question of me several times today as you read through the replies. I have sat here and thought about it for literally an hour. For quite a while I simply was not able to even comprehend drilling down any further. Mostly because, I think, I have used freedom as a general term. I saw it as a generic term meaning many things, and as we have discussed in detail many times in the past, this is a bad decision to make. Definitions are important. So I will attempt to better define…

        To me the basic building foundation is individual rights. I feel that this is a better term than freedom for what I believe. Individual rights, inherent to us with or without the writ of government, should be where we begin. My basis of freedom was really based loosely on this concept. As for how I “know” this is the foundation, I can see no particular right answer. It simply is, in my opinion. My individual sovereignty is paramount to my pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

        Now, I freely admit that I may be nowhere close to what you are digging for. I am not quite sure. But I am definitely interested. IF I am missing something, throw me a bone, push me in the direction that you believe I should go. I am open to the discussion. I may or may not agree with you when we get there, but you know I am always of an open mind to better define what I believe and what I pursue.

        USW

        • USW

          Here is you bone.

          Lets assume Altruism is a CORE Moral principle.

          So if Altruism is the wrong direction then why not simply go the OPPOSITE direction.

          🙂

          • That is a little vague. For instance, I think altruism is a good thing if it is voluntary, but not if it is forced. So, to say that something is bad thus we go the opposite was is a false dichotomy. The something that is bad may be bad because of how it is done, not the act itself.

            • Jon

              Altruism is a moral principle articulated a long time ago. It clearly calls for the sacrifice of the individual in favor of the many. It is the moral base from which the concept of “greater good” is derived.

              Do not confuse the specific moral philosophy with individual acts of charity. They are not the same.

              The Philosophy of Altruism, as a Moral base, has led to the slaughter of millions.

            • Jon

              On the same point, I offer the following from Wiki:

              “The word “altruism” (French, altruisme, from autrui: “other people”, derived from Latin alter: “other”) was coined by Auguste Comte, the French founder of positivism, in order to describe the ethical doctrine he supported. He believed that individuals had a moral obligation to renounce self-interest and live for others. Comte says, in his Catéchisme Positiviste [1], that:

              [The] social point of view cannot tolerate the notion of rights, for such notion rests on individualism. We are born under a load of obligations of every kind, to our predecessors, to our successors, to our contemporaries. After our birth these obligations increase or accumulate, for it is some time before we can return any service…. This [“to live for others”], the definitive formula of human morality, gives a direct sanction exclusively to our instincts of benevolence, the common source of happiness and duty. [Man must serve] Humanity, whose we are entirely.”

              The Catholic Encyclopedia says that for Comte’s altruism, “The first principle of morality…is the regulative supremacy of social sympathy over the self-regarding instincts.” [2] Author Gabriel Moran, (professor in the department of Humanities and the Social Sciences, New York University) says “The law and duty of life in altruism [for Comte] was summed up in the phrase : Live for others.” [3]

              Various philosophers define the doctrine in various ways, but all definitions generally revolve around a moral obligation to benefit others or the pronouncement of moral value in serving others rather than oneself. Philosopher C. D. Broad defines altruism as “the doctrine that each of us has a special obligation to benefit others.” [4] Philosopher W. G. Maclagan defines it as “a duty to relieve the distress and promote the happiness of our fellows…Altruism is to…maintain quite simply that a man may and should discount altogether his own pleasure or happiness as such when he is deciding what course of action to pursue.” [5] Some philosophers reject altruism, most notably Ayn Rand who advocated the moral philosophy of rational egoism.”

              Please note that Altruism is the moral principle that guides action, it is not the act itself.

              • I stand corrected, I had the wrong definition of altruism. Still, I would say that what is wrong and the opposite are not the only two options. Altruism, or the good of the many is evil, but that does not mean the opposite, the good of the one, is a reasonable path either. If we are saying no forced sacrifice for others, that is fine, but if one were to say that all must bow to the individual, that is unatainable. There is a balance.

  6. Cyndi P says:

    Posting for comments…and hoping everyone had a wonderful 4th!

  7. Posting for comments as well. I usually throw in a little bit of comment when I do my first post and subscribe, but I have had a few drinks in celebration of the 4th, and I find it is generally unwise to comment or engage in serious discussion or content development when I am inebriated. Been there before, usually have to apologize later, lol.

    I am happy to have another crack at this subject tho, I think there is a lot more to discover along this line.

    Cheers all
    Jon

  8. Murphy's Law says:

    Interesting discussion- I used to be firmly planted in TC’s camp, and I do mean FIRMLY there…..not anymore. I used to parrot “all laws are an attempt to legislate morality” when I heard the objection “you can’t legislate morality”…..now I believe that is a self-righteous smokescreen used by folks who wish to turn their brand of religious morality into laws imposed on all society.

    I will weigh in more on this later…..for now I must mow my small backyard jungle before it turns into a large one from all the rain we’ve had here the last few days….

    Murf

  9. Further, from the response to G.A. Rowe and motto’s.

    You can see the Revolution within the Form in the coins of the USA.

    Here is the penny from 1795 –
    (www) .coinfacts.com/half_cents/half_cents_liberty_cap_head_left.html

    The motto is Liberty

    Here is the penny from 1850 –
    (www) .coinfacts.com/half_cents/half_cents_braided_hair.html

    The motto is Liberty

    Here is a 1990 Penny:
    (upload) .wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/1990-issue_US_Penny_obverse_2.jpg

    The motto is In God we Trust

    Liberty as a motto – and pictures of Liberty’s head run most of American history.

    As soon as dead politicians grace the coins, the motto changes to “In “God” we Trust

    Let’s consider the change.

    Motto: Liberty – thus the picture is: Liberty

    Motto: Trust God – thus the picture is, equally, of God – a politician

    Ergo, “Trust your Government as you trust God”

    • BF

      Be careful how far you stretch that rubber band of facts. Might just snap back at you and put your eye out.

      OR

      As time passes self righteous politicians simply want to commemorate famous folks on our money.

      And then come along the religious folks who want to insert God on the money.

      Ergo, independent actions for different reasons that convey no hidden message at all.

      • Murphy's Law says:

        I think you are closer to the truth here, JAC- well said.

        Murf

      • Hmmmmmm…..wonder how to get the Raptor on the front of a coin…..Picture the Raptor…eyes spinning like the Cheshire Cat…using the Obama motto………(insert background music here)….trust in meeeeeeee,,,,,,trust in meeeeeeee.(Raptors toothy smile)…. Thor’s Hammer on the reverse side of the coin with 12 pounders blazing…..Motto reading….”MORE GROG”…

        Then very neatly tucked away in the corner of the coin the initials D13…..(Not to usurp the VDB on the penny but the same principle applies)..hidden on the shoulder of the Raptor.

        Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  10. In a way, I see how when we advocate laws based in freedom, we are still using a type of “morality” based in a type “religion/belief system”. Freedom is the basis, and freedom, granted equally to all mankind, is the moral code.

    The reason I seperate this from “morality” is that this idea of freedom is also amoral. It does not require one to help his neighbor, nor does it restrict it. It does not require one to be pious and follow God, nor does ir prevent it. It does not try to determine “right and wrong” per se. It considers it “wrong” to take life, property, and freedom from another, that is all. It is not in conflict with any religion, nor is it supportive of any particular one. And, most importantly, it is universally and rationally applicable to all people, unlike any other religion.

    Also, as USW has pointed out, we are talking about this all in the context of law. USW and I agree that morals are very important in a society. I will go a step further and say they not only are they important, but it is important that those morals be carried out and acted upon voluntarily. It is not morality that we are railing against, but theocracy. I believe theocracy to be the merging of two great powers into something bound to fall to the temptation of corruption. I believe it is an unholy alliance, and that it damages the idea and actions of government, it damages the purity and actions of the faith involved in it, and it does great damage to the people under its inevitable tyranny. It is only freedom that can oppose this, and freedom cannot exist in a theocracy by its very definition.

    • Jon,

      St. Thomas More agreed with you in his essay, “Utopia”.

      In Utopia, the citizens are forced to surrender their freedom and independence and rely solely on religious dogma to determine their actions.

      More dictated this as a requirement to establish perfect “order” in society.

      More did not explain how one came to determine the “proper” dogma and instead left such determination to the chaos and random choices of God’s will.

      Of course, that meant a totally disordered society as God’s will is wholly whimsical. But since More never addressed this, his take on the requirement of Utopia stands – and as such, presents one of the greatest threats to social order and that is religious morals enforced by laws.

  11. TC

    BF Stated:”Law is Rightful only to protect, mitigate, repair, and prevent a Man FROM violence.”

    TC: I agree.Especially to the relevance of PREVENTION of violence.This is the fundamental reasoning behind laws of deterrance such as the illegality of psycho-active narcotics.

    TC, you are dangerously mistaken.

    There is no deterrence by law enforcement.

    If your claim was correct, people would not murder or steal due to the severe consequences proclaimed by the law.

    Yet, murder and theft occur.

    Ergo, deterrence is ineffective.

    By prevention I mean the codification of the right of self-defense.

    What I mean by codification is:

    a series of statements outlining specifically what is and what is not a valid case for self-defense.

    In other words, a guidance to aid in determining under what circumstance one can claim self-defense, and where one cannot claim self-defense.

    Thank you BF for agreeing! 🙂

    Your rush to claim victory will be your undoing.

    • This is not entirely accurate. There is some deterrent in law enforcement. There is not total prevention, but there is deterrent. Some people drive the speed they do because they feel comfortable and safe at that speed. Most people, however, stay below a certain speed because of the law, and the consequences of breaking it. A few ignore it because they think they will not be caught. I myself would likely drive faster in some cases if it were not for the legal deterrent. When I had a sports car, I definately drove at the speed limit out of fear of being caught, because the vehicle was capable of much higher speeds while still being able to be driven safely. Saying that the law is not a deterrent because some people still break it is like saying locking your door is not a deterrent because some theives will still break in. Locking your door is a deterrent, it creates an additional step for a skilled thief and prevents breach by an unskilled on.

      • Jon

        This is not entirely accurate. There is some deterrent in law enforcement. There is not total prevention, but there is deterrent.

        We are talking about violence as prohibited by law, not mere morals enforced by law.

        People do not avoid using violence because they fear the law. You do not kill because you are afraid of the law.

        That doesn’t mean they always do right – but they are not significantly influenced by the law anyway.

        If you are motivated to kill, the law will not dissuade you.

        Your examples are of prohibitions on essentially non-violent behavior. Whether you speed or not – a non-violent act – maybe determined by the amount of violence you suffer because of the enforcement.

        In other words, when the threat to your non-violent behavior is coercion and violence – then you might be deterred.

        However, when the threat to your violent behavior is also violence, you will not be dissuaded by such a threat. You – by using violence – have already accepted that you will probably face a reaction of violence – either in the self-defense of your victim or by the state in vengeance. But you’ve already rationalized that when you, the violent person, begins to act.

        Deterrent only works on People already conscience of their actions – that is, precisely the People who do not need coercion to “do right”.

        The point above by TC was to justify attacking non-violent drug users to deter them from using violence.

        True, such a threat of violent assault may deter a few from using drugs, but it will not deter those who would use violence with or without drugged behavior change.

        If they were already of violent mindset, they will act no matter the law against drugs.

        If they were not of violent mindset, acting upon them with violence will often cause them to be violent in resistance.

        • Bullcrap.

          There have been times in my life where I was motivated to harm someone (they had hurt a friend of mine). I did not do so because I could not prove that they did the harm, and I was not there at the time, so it would not have been defensive, it would have been revenge, and possible future prevention (people that will harm like that will likely do it again). I did not engage in violence because I feared the consequences.

          Granted, it was not the law that stopped me, I did not care that it was illegal. I cared that I could go to prison if caught. So it was not law, but law enforcement, that deterred this violent act. You may not see things this way because you know of criminals who care not for the consequences, and you yourself may not fear enforcement or just may have never had enough of a violent thought to have had to make a decision not to harm someone, or your decision was based on things more important to you than the consequences of law enforcement. That does not mean that others do not factor it in to their thoughts.

          • Jon,

            You feared reprisal, not the law or law enforcement exclusively

            If the law wasn’t there nor the LEO’s, you still would not have done the deed in fear that HIS friends would visit you some night.

            That is my point.

            The LAW does not create deterrence.

            Consequences create deterrence whether or not there is a law.

            • PS:

              In other words, if you do not care about the consequences (whether they are enforced by LAW or by his buddies) you will act regardless of said consequences.

              Again, justifying the existence of a Law based on Deterrence is unsound.

              • Perhaps that is so, but in my case the consequences of actions by his friends was not scary. Actions by a societally accepted police force was.

                Still, I take your point, it is a matter of consequence, not law that creates deterrence. That is the reason for harsh punishment along with law.

              • Jon,

                …then you drift into the theory of “punishment”.

                What right does a man have to torture another man so to “train” him to behave “properly”?

              • An interesting question, I think I see where you are headed, but before we go further, I have a question for you. What right does a parent have to punish a child for training purposes? For that matter what right of training is there at all?

                If someone is in violation of another’s freedom, but is doing so ignorantly rather than willfully, can that person not be taught simply because they were not taught well as a child?

              • Jon,

                n interesting question, I think I see where you are headed, but before we go further, I have a question for you. What right does a parent have to punish a child for training purposes?

                Punish? None.

                Offer consequences – a great deal of Right.

                Personally, we have never *punished* our daughter.

                However, we do allow consequences to assert themselves without much interference.

                For example, she loved climbing on all sorts of things, some potentially physically damaging.

                We interfered when the risk was severe and “let it go” when it wasn’t or minor.

                She fell and broke her arm – oh well.

                Was that punishment? Nope.

                Did she learn?

                yep.

  12. V.H.

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

  13. Murphy's Law says:

    Texas Chem said- “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again people. Our Laws are legislated in a manner using morals, voted upon using morals (whether using poor or good morals), and applied using morals.”

    As I said before, I used to use the same argument. In the past I used the word “moral” to refer to the broad concept of right and wrong- so I espoused the opinion that all legislation was an attempt to legislate morality. Theft, assault, murder, etc. (acts that infringe on the rights of others), were in my mind grouped with adultery, recreational drug usage, sexual orientation (acts that do not infringe on others’ rights). I believed that anything that was “wrong” according to the Bible made it ok to pass a law prohibiting it. I failed to take into account that this country was formed on the basis of freedom, not on the basis of a government-recognized religion, though those on the “religious right” want to believe it was based on Christianity. Christian influence, yes, but not all the founding fathers were Christians. But to a man, they loved freedom.

    Partly because of the influence of my best friend and partly due to this blog I have come to understand the concept of liberty and personal freedom, and I now regret my former self-righteous dogmatic beliefs. I now agree with USW that personal liberty and freedom must be the foundation for law. Personal moral codes which govern private behaviors are in a different class and should not be legislated. There are many behaviors in which some engage and others avoid (or at least claim to avoid)….behaviors that do not in any way inhibit others’ freedoms- it now seems a no-brainer that government should stay out of legislation of those behaviors which do not infringe on anyone else’s freedom.

    As an example, prostitution- if it is so wrong, why do most politicians publicly denounce it while either winking at it or flat-out indulging in it? Most cities have areas where police allow prostitution- I was told (off the record of course) by a high ranking city official where I live, exactly where police allow prostitutes to walk the streets and know they will not be arrested. Elsewhere in the city they will be arrested, but not in the few blocks mentioned. I have also been told that most cities of any size have the same sort of area where police turn a blind eye….in part because some of them enjoy the charms of those ladies as well. At first I was a bit shocked, but then as I thought of the reality of it, I saw that it did not affect me in the least. Reality check- very few people are strictly monogamous- by that I mean no sex until a life partner is chosen, and then only that person until death or divorce….many see sex as a recreational activity. And this hurts me how? It doesn’t.

    Same with smoking marijuana. I don’t wish to do it and never have, but I now think it should be legalized. I know many people who use it recreationally and it does not affect their job performance or their home life. It does not affect my freedom or yours, so long as there is no impairment in public under its influence that could endanger others.

    I guess my point in all this is- governments at all levels must recognize the difference between private “moral” codes that affect personal and private behavior, and behaviors or acts that take away freedom from others. Legislate the latter, and stay the hell out of the former.

    Murf

    • Murf,
      I went through a similar transition, some of which, in my case, was influenced by my own weaknesses and being unable to abide the my former moral code. If I could not, how could I demand others do? Aside from that, however, I do not have an issue with people influencing others to do more moral things. I do not think it is wrong to be shocked or even angered by activities of others you consider immoral. I only say that you have no right to use force, including legal force, to influence others or to make your anger or shock subside. If I found out that a sherrif was up for election and he was indulging in prositution in exchange for turning a blind eye, I would not vote for him and would expose his actions. I would also, in the process of that exposure, make it clear that I do not think prostitution should be illegal, but to use that which is illegal to extort sexual favors, well, that’s no lawman.

    • Murphy

      I think you and USW need to scratch just a little deeper.

      “I now agree with USW that personal liberty and freedom must be the foundation for law.”

      You both suggest that “liberty and freedom” are CORE moral principles.

      I must ask you to explain WHY?

      I do not think you have arrived at the CORE just yet.

      🙂
      JAC

      • USWeapon says:

        I have attempted to go down the path with you JAC. Up under #5 where you questioned BF and myself.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Toying with the idea……

        Any law should seek to protect or maximize liberty and freedom (neither personally or collectively individually).

        Using the concept of personal liberty or personal freedom only seems contradictory then to depend on legislative body (or other) to protect and govern it.

        • Ray

          That could be an answer.

          Or, that using legislative bodies serves another purpose IF it is contained to the role of protecting “individual” freedom and liberty.

  14. Cyndi P says:

    OT but some of ya’ll might be interested. I wonder if its too good to be true….

    http://www.orderfreetv.com/

    • Cyndi,

      Don’t pay money to watch free internet TV.

      All these guys are merely aggregators of free channels on the web.

      Use google and get the same result.

      Or, use services like Hulu or Bongo – which are free.

      Our family canceled our cable TV a long time ago, and haven’t missed a show – maybe a week time displaced before they showed up on the ‘Net, but so what?

      • PS:

        Oh, to watch US shows, you’ll need a US IP address; to watch UK shows, you’ll need a UK IP address, etc.

        There are a number of VPN service companies that will give you that feature, with you being anywhere in the world.

        You “VPN” to their local server, and to the internet, it appears you are “somewhere else”.

        I have a buddy in China that uses PureVPN for his connections and easily bypasses the “Great Chinese Firewall”. It is shockingly how easy it is…. I guess their technology applies only to the technically illiterate.

  15. First, just to be clear, I personally don’t think “law” should enter into anything. But let’s assume that some kind of “law” has to be created to keep people in line. In that case, assuming it’s under a Constitutional Republic or similar mostly-liberty-based construction (like the U.S. circa 1789 to 1791), I say that any law based entirely on morality is bogus. Having lived in Utah, I can give you two sides of the usual arguments plus a clear illustration of how it doesn’t work.

    In Utah, the argument goes that they must “save the children” (that’s always included) by enforcing laws that are based on the morals of the LDS religion. Liquor is a big one, so let’s go with that. In Utah, you can only purchase alcohol stronger than 3.2% at state-run stores, which charge a premium. Beer (and some wine coolers) can be purchased at many grocery and convenience stores. The argument is that because 49% of the population doesn’t (theoretically) partake in hard drink, the liquor has no place in public stores. The argument against this, of course, is that this forces the other 51% to suffer and pay high prices for a monopoly arrangement on liquor sales.

    Now turn north to Idaho. The population percentages of Mormon vs. non-Mormon are roughly the same. Yet in Idaho, there is no state-run monopoly of liquor. You can purchase it at any supermarket and prices are much lower.

    Of course, if you attempt to logically explain to a Momo Soccer Mom that in Idaho, the amount of teenaged drinking, drunken driving, etc., etc. is actually lower per capita than in Utah, they’ll squeal “but the CHILDREN! The CHILDREN, you beast! We can’t have drunken CHILDREN!”

    As a side note, I have a pair of sisters who are adamantly Mormon (LDS) and most of my family gives me a pretty regular “come to Joseph” talk. Yet one of those two sisters can’t even tell you where in the Book of Mormon (hint, it’s actually in a different book) the (suggested) prohibition against alcohol resides. The other will tell you which book, but won’t be able to tell you which chapter and verse. Apparently I paid attention in the Mormon Sunday schools we all attended and they didn’t. I’ve often wondered if there’s a counter-correlation between knowing and believing.

    • Aaron

      Your conclusion; “I say that any law based entirely on morality is bogus.”, I would propose is in error.

      Morality is in fact the only sound basis for law.

      The problem here is that everyone is misunderstanding or misusing what morality is and its purpose.

      Morality does not equal religious dogma, necessarily.

      All Moral Law must be based on Moral principles.

      The trick question is WHICH principles. I urge everyone to choose wisely.

      • Alright, I didn’t qualify my statement well enough. By “moral law” I was referring to any law based on some arbitrary moral code that has no ill effect on others. So rape, murder, theft, etc. are obviously acts which physically affect someone else. Whereas drinking, smoking, eating bacon fat-soaked Garden Burgers, etc. have no ill effect on others – unless you’re violating property rights by barging into their home to do it there, of course.

        Those are pretty broad ideas and we could nit-pick all day about whether something does or doesn’t “hurt” anyone else. If anyone wants to do that, go to town, I guess, but count me out. I’m illustrating a point, not writing a scientific treatise here. My original point was that using the term “moral law” to define any legislation is walking a very tight rope and begging for more Constitutional loophole broadening.

        I would prefer to use the term “natural law.” Meaning it’s a law of nature that if you hurt someone, you will be subject to vengeance of some sort.

        OT Note: The fact that I barely participate in discussions should show people that I have little interest. I left the Libertarian Party back in the day because it’s a glorified debate club for which I have no use. I spend most of my days reading crap off the computer screen in order to make something coherent out of it so I can write an article or two. I don’t enjoy politics enough to do that in my free time. lol

        One more OT note: anyone else notice the oxymoron in Robin Hood when Russel Crowe yells “Liberty by law?” I actually laughed at it.

        • Aaron

          Your revised description is much clearer, and addresses my point as well.

          We confuse morals, which deal with group behavior, with those rules of personal conduct.

          So if we impose law based on the second we have NOT created a law based on morals but on some whimsical desire to control.

  16. Mathius says:

    Tired today, so I’m just going to offer my shorthand thoughts.

    If it’s victimless – that is, it affects no one but yourself and/or other consenting individuals, then it is not business of the government. (Drug use / Texas sodomy laws / etc). And, no, offended sensibilities does not qualify someone as a victim, so other things like public decency laws, open container laws, etc are not justifiable.

    If innocent individuals can be harmed then the government may be justified in stepping in. (speeding / DUI / launching fireworks in the middle of a heatwave in wildfire country in SoCal / etc). Note, I say “may” because I do not feel this should be automatic justification for government intervention.

    My two cents – let’s hear it…

    • Mathius

      Good morning my dear fellow. Hope your weekend was fun.

      If your statement above is true, that is if you truly hold those beliefs, then I would say that your CORE moral principles are in conflict with your political views on laws.

      When one places the rights of the group over those of the individual you will eventually get laws passed by a majority that impose upon nothing but individual freedoms.

      • Mathius says:

        Specific example?

        Weekend was good. I have my twin 6 year-old sisters visiting, along with my new puppy, so I’m a mite tired. And you?

        • Mathius

          Excellent and very tired as well.

          BBQ two days for 7 folks, along with scenic drives, fireworks, etc.

          It was bodacious all the way.

          Wow, Twin 6 year olds and a puppy!!!!!

          Perhaps you shouldn’t try to think very hard today.

          🙂 🙂

          Example: You have described Altruism as your Core. The needs, rights, desires of the many have primacy over the individual. In fact the individual is obligated by duty to support the needs of others.

          Logically, such a moral principle can only lead to a majority deciding and imposing their view of behavior upon individuals. If the rights of the whole are primary then there are no individual rights that are more important than those adopted by the whole.

          Yet what you describe above presumes that “individual” rights are paramount. And there in lies the contradiction within your philosophy.

          I and others have tried to explain this contradiction to you during prior discussions. I know you do not see it as a contradiction and I just don’t know how to explain it any better.

          • Mathius says:

            Frankly, it’s a miracle that I managed to dress myself this morning. I fear that lengthy political debate may be beyond my current capacity. Can you offer a single policy and I’ll clarify – I’m trying not to over-extend myself today.

  17. Good Day All-Hope you had a great weekend.

    Trying to regulate the moral code of people is something I have always seen as a slippery slope. Where does it stop and who gets to make the choices of what needs to be laws and what is moral. I realize as a gay woman there are people that would love to regulate my life. But my questions have always been where would the laws stop. We could really make laws against alot of actions that we have, depending on the person making the laws. For example: Mormons believe that soda is bad for them and dont allow their members to have it. So is it right to make that a moral code law against us who happen not to be Mormon? That is my fear with laws concerning moral actions, that it will go to the extreme of things.

    Ellen

    • Mathius says:

      Ellen, soda would fall under the category of “I can do whatever I want to myself. Go live your own life” (See #16 above). Even if soda is bad for you, it is bad only for you. However, if soda somehow gave cancer to people who just happened to be standing innocently near you, then I would say the government can justifiably intervene.

      So, basically, morality should only be used as a guideline when making laws governing interactions between an individual and non-concenting other individual(s). If JAC wants to punch me and I want to let him, that’s no one’s business but ours (and maybe a shrink), but if he wants to punch me and I don’t, the government should step in.

      And, since you brought up being gay, I thought I’d mention this: sodomy laws and DOMA and DADT and the like are disgraceful, unworthy of this great nation and will, fifty years from now, be looked at as the 21st century version of Jim Crow.

      Hope you also had a great holiday weekend.

      -Mathius

    • Ellen,

      I agree most of it does become a gray area. Nearly all would agree rape, murder and violence against others would be clear-cut issues.
      But do we really agree on little details? If I were to beat my wife or children(she would shoot me) at home, and she did not file a complaint, then there is no crime. I can even use our religious belief as hard core Christian or Muslim as a defense.

      Matt mentioned fireworks during a burn ban. If I shoot fireworks, but don’t start a fire(I’m VERY careful, beer makes a great extinguisher), why can the gov. fine or arrest me? If I want to fertilize my roses by defecating on them in the front yard, what’s the harm? (I’m more likely to plant more concrete, easier to mow)

      “I realize as a gay woman there are people that would love to regulate my life. But my questions have always been where would the laws stop.”

      I would stop with observation, just watching, for your own safety of course.:lol:

      • Mathius says:

        Matt mentioned fireworks during a burn ban. If I shoot fireworks, but don’t start a fire(I’m VERY careful, beer makes a great extinguisher), why can the gov. fine or arrest me? Because it is inherrently dangerous. If you’re doing it on such a small scale that you can be absolutely assured there is negligible risk, then I am just fine with you doing as you please. But if you’re setting of a discount M80 near the brush, you are endangering the homes and lives of hundred of people and could end up costing billions. You have no right to risk that.

        If I want to fertilize my roses by defecating on them in the front yard, what’s the harm? None whatsoever. Hell, I’ll even start a website – “LifeOfIllusionsGarden.com” with live feeds taken from across the street. I’m sure someone will pay. As I said above:

        And, no, offended sensibilities does not qualify someone as a victim, so other things like public decency laws, open container laws, etc are not justifiable.

        • Matt,

          I would likely go the other way on both. If a burn ban is legal, does it apply to smoking as well? I do not want to see most of my neighbors in the buff, for any reason, the few I might want to view would be strongly rejected by the misses. Same neighbors no doubt, feel the same about me walking around in birthday suit. Biggest issue to me, these should be local laws, so if I don’t agree, I can find freedom in the next town, or in the country. the more people are affected by such laws, the harder it should be to
          make such laws.

          • Mathius says:

            They shouldn’t be laws at all. If you want to be naked, you’re not harming anyone. Just like you should be free to offend people’s eyes by painting your house an ugly color, you should be able to offend they’re eyes with your nakedness.. Why should their sensibilities create an imposition on you?

        • A man went to the doctor and said, “Doctor, I’ve got a problem, but if you’re going to treat it, first you’ve got to promise not to laugh.”

          “Of course I won’t laugh,” the doctor said. “I’m a professional. In over twenty years I’ve never laughed at a patient.”

          “OK then,” the man said, and proceeded to drop his trousers, revealing the tiniest penis the doctor has ever seen.

          Unable to control himself, the doctor fell laughing to the floor. Ten minutes later he was able to struggle to his feet and regain his composure.

          “I’m so sorry,” he said. “I don’t know what came over me. On my honor as a doctor and a gentleman, I promise it won’t happen again.”

          “OK,” the man says.

          “Now,” the doctor says, getting down to business. “What seems to be the problem?”

          “Well,” the guy says, “it’s swollen….”

          • Mathius says:

            haha.. that’s a classic.

            And nice username, by the way.. I assume the link is NSFW?

  18. Mathius says:

    Off topic, but this is a must watch for all you Austrian’s out there..

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/05/20/2905304.htm

    Seriously. This particularly means you, Black Flag. And everyone else too.

  19. Another liberal cheering sugar bans. She will be after RedBull next.:lol:

    Let Them Drink Starbucks! Mika Brzezinski Wants a Ban on All Sugary Sodas

    By Jeff Poor

    It’s pretty well documented MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski likes to brag about her workout routine and showcase its effects on her physique. And perhaps for that reason, Brzezinski believes that entitles her to pass judgment on what consumers should put into their bodies.

    On MSNBC’s July 6 “Morning Joe,” Brzezinski boasted about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s vending machine soda ban that took effect today. But Brzezinski wanted to take it a step further – not to just ban them in city vending machines, but just stop people from drinking soda altogether.

    “And in San Francisco, a ban on sugary drinks in city vending machines is starting to take effect,” Brzezinski said. “That’s so great. It was issued by Mayor Gavin Newsom, my new hero, Mike Barnicle — in an effort to combat obesity and improve citizen’s health, and it will. In fact, if people would just not drink soda pop, they would be healthier and less fat.”

    Perhaps Brzezinski missed irony of making this statement during her show, “Morning Joe brewed by Starbucks Coffee.” Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is regularly under attack from food police group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). In 2002, CSPI accused the coffee of giant of “pouring food porn.”

    “We need to stop producing things like this,” Brzezinski declared.

    Brzezinski also revealed her other anti-junk food sentiments, but said ultimately getting “rid of soda pop” would be suit her.

    “I don’t like birthday cake,” Brzezinski said. “It’s fattening. And no cupcakes either in schools. No, just get rid of soda pop. That would make me happy. We don’t need it.”

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jeff-poor/2010/07/06/let-them-drink-starbucks-mika-brzezinski-wants-ban-all-sugary-sodas#ixzz0svfuyPB0

    • Mathius says:

      All together now, ready?

      IDIOT!

      • But Matt, is she not one of yours? Big on Obama, greater good, spend us out of this mess Bush caused? Maybe she will become DNC chairwoman, just to balance out Steele.

        • Mathius says:

          Nobody can balance out Steele. Not even Pelosi. I can’t get over what he said the other day, but then again, I keep wondering how long it will be before the talking heads start repeating it as fact.

          That said, no, she is not one of mine. I am not in favor of prohibiting what people are allowed to do with their own bodies, as you well know. If she wants to lobby the city to stop providing soda is city-owned vending machines, I’m just fine with that. If she wants to lobby for a law that forces soda manufacturers to be more upfront with risk (maybe a warning label), well, I’m not a fan, but ok. But if she’s trying to stop people from exercising their own judgment with their own bodies and their own health, screw that.

          For reference, I wholeheartedly support your right to smoke cigarettes (though not your “right” to give everyone around you cancer), your right to mainline heroine, and your right to hit yourself over the head with a hammer.

          You’d be hard pressed to make a “Greater Good” argument that satisfies me in support of a soda ban. If her argument is that it makes everyone healthier and thus more productive, which drives down health care costs and improves the economy, I can see where she’s coming from. But I just don’t see the correlation as strong enough or the cost benefit ratio as high enough – not nearly high enough – to warrant such a measure.

          Thus, idiot.

  20. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    In 1920, the Federal Government, by approved amendment to the Constitution, banned the making, transport, and consumption of alcoholic beveridges completely. This was done on MORAL GROUNDS. Many private companies ALSO supported the all-out ban, because “alcohol consumption was making workers less productive”.

    This ensured that only the criminals could make and sell booze. The most rampant “crime” in the history of this entire country occurred from 1920-1933, and 99.999% of it was directly or indirectly related to alcohol production, transport, or consumption. By the late 1920’s, 60% of the Chicago Police were making more income by being “on the take” from Al Capone than they were making in salary.

    What were the results of the great ban on alcohol for “moral” reasons???

    1. ALL violent crime went through the roof.

    2. The “law” did reduce overall alcohol consumption in the US, but it completely destroyed the society by other (far more disasterous) means.

    3. Instead of “making” money through the taxation of a legal substance, the US government went broke trying to enforce prohibition (yes, prohibition was a MAJOR contributor to the timing and magnitude of the Great Depression!)

    4. In 1933, the Government was SO broke and “crime” was so out of hand, that for the first and ONLY time ever, an amendment was repealed.

    The biggest PROPONENTS of prohibition were religious groups and THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT.

    ‘Nuff said.

    • Mathius says:

      #2. Alcohol consumption actually went up in terms of volume, but down in terms of number of consumers. That is, fewer people were drinking, but those who were drinking drank a lot more.

      #3. I’ve never heard that. Source, please?

      Something I found out recently that I love is that you could get a doctor’s prescription for “medical beer” toward the end of Prohibition. Now why does that sound familiar….

      Note, I’m entirely against laws like this (see #16, #18 above).

      DISCLAIMER: My great-grandfather was a bootlegger. My grandma has some great bathtub-gin stories.

      Adding, it’s funny that today’s “progressive Democrats” are the ones who would like to legalize Marijuana while the “conservative Republicans” are the ones who are against doing so. (yes, that’s generalizing, but still).

      • Commenting on your last sentence. I have often wondered the same…how a fiscal conservative can justify the billions spent to villify a fairly harmless (as in harming anyone else) activity…not to mention the money spent on imprisoning as many as have been…

        The Progressive Democrats see it only as a new revenue stream to be taken advantage of, and not a lack of freedom…IMO.

        • Mathius says:

          Naw.. I think most of them, like Barney, would love to be able to legally get high. In fact, I’m not sure they don’t hotbox the whole capital building when they have these “midnight sessions”…

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Mathius,

        Yes, that is funny.

        As to the source for #3, it is largely anecdotal. However, simply think about it.

        How much did the Feds, the States, and the Locals spend on “Law Enforcement” in, say, 1919, compared to any year during the prohibition era of 1920 through 1933? I don’t have all of the numbers (although I could probably look a lot of them up), but I strongly suspect that the amount of money that government overall spent on “Law Enforcement” went up TREMEDOUSLY during that 13-year period.

        As to why the flip-flop on the morality crusades….

        In the period of 1890-1920, the progressive movement and many of the “conservative” religious groups were pretty well aligned. The religious groups all subscribed to “greater good” theory, and many of them thought that the government would be an effective way of propagating this dogma.

        Now, most “progressives” are children (or grandchildren) of the 1960’s. As such, their viewpoint on certain things (such as marijuana) is radically different than the 1890-1920’s “progressives”. Because most “conservative” religious groups STILL wish to control personal behavior through government, they are no longer aligned with the progressives but are now aligned with the Republicans, quite a few of whom seem perfectly ok with trying to use government to control personal behavior.

        However, as we see in the Brezinski example, there are STILL plenty of progressives out there that are perfectly fine with using government to control personal behavior as well.

  21. I definitely have my own conflicts about Freedom and how it should be applied to society. But I have no trouble knowing where my conflict comes from when looking at the lefts idea of how the world should be-Lets look at the liberal debate, at least my perspective of it-someone else will have to talk about the conservative because I admit that I may be a little blinded by my opposition to the lefts view point. Okay, my perspective on the lefts platform-We have no rights when it comes to our money, our business, or really even our privacy but by golly we have the right to kill old people, get rid of unwanted babies, take drugs that control our minds, to kill ourselves, use the bathroom in front of people, have sex in public and run around naked. Is it any wonder with the current state of our world that people on the right are not standing up for real freedom. Am I supposed to stand back and allow all these oh so great liberal freedoms(which I believe will hurt not help society) to come to pass while all their other ideologies take freedoms away. The world is bad enough as it is-but lack of any decency on top of the lack of freedom economically too. I have no doubt that this rant is an emotional one but in general this is what I believe. Now as some say-bring it on-the discussion has been a basic philosophic one so far-but the reality is what we are facing-so tell me why should I stand for freedom in all matters if my opposition will in my opinion leave us with a world with no economic freedom and with behavior that will make things even worse.

    • V.H.

      First, the reality of freedom is not what THEY tell you. That is how they scare you into fighting against it, or worse living with contradictions. You are not going to see everyone running around naked.

      Second, you now have a much better understanding of what real freedom means and why it is important. Let this be you shield against both the “Liberal” and the “Conservative” who would try to pass their own version of STATISM off as freedom.

      • You know JAC it’s not that I’m really all that concerned that people are going to start running around naked-but in reality they already do, seems it is the new way to protest-don’t like something take your clothes off and march or worse yet ride a bike , seems like that would hurt-actually hope it does 🙂 What I am concerned about is that these ideas combined will break this country financially and quicken the moral decline at the same time. Two things that I see as quite dangerous. So yea I have an intense desire to fight them. I don’t see our system changing anytime soon-so just how do I fight them. How do I use these principals of freedom in a way that will actually lead to more freedom? And No BF I will not quit voting.

  22. USW and Jon Smith and everyone else who has participated in this thread – I feel honored and privileged to have partaken in this discourse with you. Anymore this is a site to come to when one wants a brain massage! In my humble opinion – once the two parameters were identified – this debate got on target straight away.

    USW thanks for the hat-tip and after reading your newly worded position I must agree and espouse my belief that brilliant minds do think alike. (I do have issue with same-sex marriage, but this is not the time or place to address it.)

    Jon Smith your methodology of critical thinking is most evident and indeed is a pleasure to read. You established your position well, and I hasten to add ‘on high.’ Just a couple of quick questions for all who read this: What does “checking for comments mean”? And for what it’s worth – is it possible that freedom can dictate the laws and morality of society? Cheers gang!

    • “Posting for comments” is done because when you enter a comment, you have the option of having all future comments on this thread emailed to you, so that you can know when comments are made and what they are. It can create a lot of email, but it helps to keep up with threads you are interested in. If you have no specific comment but want to subscribe, you still have to post something, so that is what people say to explain a comment that has no content. 🙂

      Freedom could dictate the laws and morality of society, but I do not know if the morality would be sufficient or not. In other words, I still think certian social mores are needed. Moral influences of what is accepted and what is not. I simply do not believe that such mores should become law or should be enforced.

  23. In an individualistic society – what the US started out as – morality is the responsibility of individuals to use the power of persuasion and good example to make positive change in morality. Morality cannot be legislated – that is incompatible with personal liberty. In a collectivist society, however, morality is enforced by coercion of law, which is the road we have been on for decades, unfortunately.

  24. TexasChem says:

    I’ve been busy at work.Will reply when I wake-up tomorrow evening.Working nights this week.

  25. BF,
    I would like to look furhter into the theory of punishment, or lack thereof. I am of the opinion that, while some do not require such harsh treatment, others tend to. I think this is more based on personality than upbringing. Your actions with your daughter may be effective with her, I am not sure if they would be universally effective. I find that any time someone claims to have a universal formula for human interaction or behavior or making money or whatever, it turns out to be anything but universal. It may be widely effective, but it is not universal. Those claiming such things have either a narrow view or are ignorant of the variables in the world, or are being deceiptful.

    That said, my gf was telling me the other day about some research she had done on insanity in the middle ages. Some of the lead poisoning and other poisons being ingested led to insanity, and many were incarcerated. Because they were not consuming the same poisons in prison, many actually recovered. This was actually where the initial “evidence” for incarceration = rehabilitation came from. Things like that make me pause and check my premises and their bases. Do you have some good sources for research in this arena?

%d bloggers like this: