Saturday, August 9, 2008

Legislation and Morality

Okay, so I'm taking to long to respond. I do apologize for this, and will try to do better in the future.
So, on to the response....
While it is true that our governments consistently attempt to legislate moral code, the center point of my statement is not if it is possible to legislate morality, but if we should. Perhaps I would have done better to say we shouldn't legislate morality. One piece of conservative wisdom that I always find particularly amusing is the idea that the bases of our legal code is in the Ten Commandments. This argument is often used to support maintaining a copy of them in some courthouse or other government building. While I have no problems with displaying the commandments, I suggest we take a close look at them and ask... just how many of these commandments are written into our legal code? The first five have entirely to do with ones relationship to God. And of the other five? Only two make it into our legal code, do not kill and do not steal. And while I would not suggest that living by these ideas is a bad thing, it's important to realize that we do not cast them into law for a reason. One, they would be very difficult to enforce. Second, while laws against murder and theft are necessary for a safe society, the rest are only additional. Good ideas for people to get along and to live a good life, but not necessary for a safe society. Insulting your mother may be a sin the in eyes of God, but it does not harm anyones inherent rights.
You claim, Mike, that the separation of political and personal morality is a moral world view. I would disagree, as it is not a moral world view, but rather a philosophical view upon the nature of morality. I choose to live my life based on the morality of Judeo-Christian tradition, I do not believe that our country should attempt to govern on the same set of beliefs. I am a charitable person, but do not think our government should be so charitable. I do not believe in taking a life in revenge, but I also agree with and fully support the death-penalty. The government is not a person, it has additional rights and responsibilities, why should it's morality be the same? Or even similar?
I've written before about inherent rights. And as I said before, the state should not be in the business of legislating morality. The law is not about what is right or what is wrong. Read through our constitution, there is no mention of doing what is morally right. There is only what is right for the government, and what is right by the people. And providing for the most individual freedom is what is right for the people. There is no single ideal that better expresses the American tradition. The whole problem, exactly what is wrong with this country, is this foolish and destructive idea that government is suppose to codify someones idea of how we should live our lives. It doesn't matter where you find yourself on any particular 'issue' of the day. If it doesn't involve the direct violation of someone's inherent rights, it's of no business of the government. The law is there not to tell us how to live. It's there to keep us free and safe. And that includes being safe from an over-active and involved government.

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