Why do people continue think morality can be legislated?

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  1. Shadesbreath profile image80
    Shadesbreathposted 10 years ago

    I see endless abortion threads, gay threads, pot smoking threads... You name it, if there is some collision of ideals, there are people starting threads about them.  And before you go into some little spasm to defend your stupid side of any of those arguments... both sides of all these endless things (as if there are only two "sides") argue from a place of IDEALS.

    For those of you who don't know what an "ideal" is: it is a thing that is right, a thing that, in a perfect world, would be the normal and regular thing. Here are some examples of "ideals":

    Personal liberty.
    Long life.
    Perfect health.
    Economic independence.
    Perfect safety.


    Now, if you are capable of thought outside of the little cringing emotional ball that you become when someone names off your pet polemic (a "polemic" is what you call a collision of two ideals that can't be easily solved), you  will notice that all of those are pretty much at the core of what human beings want for themselves. Don't matter what race, religion, creed, whatever. Everyone wants those. SO, the next time you find yourself getting all fired up about your favorite argument, try to take one step back from YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU WANT (that is called being selfish) and look at what OTHER ideal you are violating for the person you are arguing with. If it is an ideal (personal liberty, freedom, etc.) that you actually value and would want for yourself too (except that in that guy's case it's some version of the ideal you don't care about, so you are fine with mandating he can't do it) then stop arguing with him and accept that not every single touchy subject on the planet can be solved by writing a law to make other people live like you want them to.

    Making all people live by the exact set of moral laws is called fascism, and all these angry threads arguing for one side or another without compromise is the evidence of America sprinting towards it. (Fascism is where the guys who control the army shoot everyone who doesn't agree with them, which is great as long as you agree with everything that the guys controlling the army think. Ask yourself if you really want to win your favorite argument that bad. Ask yourself if you agree with EVERYTHING your particular party says, all of it, all the way and willing to die for it. Do you? Really?)

    So, that's my rant. Am I wrong? Or do you think we can legislate morality and, by forcing people to comply with our edicts, make a peaceful, happy and sustainable society? If so, please point out which society that has tried it is still in existence. I can't wait to learn from you.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Although I can't say that either the Christian or Muslim societies are composed of primarily happy OR peaceful people, they have both legislated morality to every extent possible over their history and both still exist.

      Christianity has grown and changed to the point it would not be recognized to someone from 1,000 years ago, but has not been by choice but because it didn't have the "guns" to continue to enforce its edicts.

      Islam has not grown up as far yet, but it is is the process - I expect the next 50-100 years to see some huge changes in the society.

      Nevertheless, it still stands that both societies exist and that both continue to legislate morality whenever possible.  Both are older than any society I'm aware of that has done as little morality legislation as possible.  Legislation of morality can work; that both of these are over 2,000 years old is proof of that.

      Please do not take my argument as agreement that is it necessary OR desirable; it isn't.

      1. Shadesbreath profile image80
        Shadesbreathposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I know what you are saying, but I would argue that you are comparing the continuation of religions with the success of a society. Not the same thing (and you can't find me a society that has thrived continually under either anyway, can you?).

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          I am considering the Islamic (or Christian) group, as a whole, to be a society.  Different countries, different particulars and specifics, but one basic society.  Compared to, say, Japan, China or India, all the Christian countries are as one. 

          In that respect, the society has been around for thousands of years.  If you define success as survival, then they are successful.  I would not personally consider the near east as a successful society, but it has survived.

          1. Shadesbreath profile image80
            Shadesbreathposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            But none of what you describe there is responsible for assigning actual and enforceable laws in a geographically described boundary in which people coexist as a "society."

            You are, in my opinion, confusing "religion" with "society" and perhaps worse, in a very broad sense that avoids recognition of things like Shea and Sunni or Catholic and Protestant.

            A book of religious stories/myths does not count as "a" society, nor even does the fact that millions upon millions of people choose to use one of the thousands of possible interpretations of those myths as their answer the tough questions of life make for "a society" either. That last one might make for the start of a society, but, please show me where one of those has lasted. Because they don't. Interpretations get split into sub-categories, etc. and at some point, one side has to dictate what the "right" interpretation is. They must, in the end, legislate morality. And, as has always, always, always been the case, once morality starts being legislated, the culture crumbles.

            Now, the acute rhetorician will point out that, maybe, once the morality that originally bound a culture gets fractured to a certain degree, it is the decline of that social morality that destroyed the culture. To that, I will nod and say, yep. Everyone was on the same moral page at first, but then little subtle differences rise. Then bigger ones. It always starts that way. But, in the end, they always discover that morality can't be ultimately mandated to the detail that some other people would prefer. It never has worked. And yet here we are, in America, having these big old arguments about how we should regulate what people can do. We couch it in terms of "pro life" and "pro choice" but in the end, there is only one side that is, at the end of the day, for that particular argument, saying, "No, you can't do that."

            Same with pot. One side is saying, "No, you can't do that."

            Same with gay marriage. "No, you can't do that."

            They are all like that. Yes, there are awesome reasons for why people might not want to do "that" for all the polemics, but, in the end, people are going to do them. They always have, and they always will. Telling people they can't do what they are going to do anyway makes enemies out of people that don't have to hate you.

            Yet we insist, especially today in America, on making enemies of like, almost everyone.

      2. psycheskinner profile image79
        psycheskinnerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        However nations are now mixed and diverse, which is why government is mean to be secular and to only legislate morality to the extent that it prevents actual harm.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Some are, some are not.  I'm not really very familiar with south American countries, but aren't they very staunchly Christian and still legislating their morality according to those beliefs? Brazil, for instance. Even if they are not identical to those of north America?

          In any case, the church has lost much power throughout North America and Europe.  It still tries to force their beliefs on the nation, but with less and less success.

          The near east is another story.  The church there IS the government, and legislates nearly all laws based on that religion.  This, too, is slowly changing, but has a long ways to go to catch up with Europe.

    2. tammybarnette profile image60
      tammybarnetteposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      This has become so obvious to me as of late. Everyone truly wants the same outcome and are fighting over how to get there. What do we want to be our legacy as a people. I have my views and I understand the views of others and have respect for their thought and reasoning. Compromise, synergize, we must be willing to grow and evolve and at the same time never lose our roots...a difficult challenge that has caused uprising in many nations as well as our own. As human kind we must meet the challenge by never letting our individual wants to overide the best interest of a nation or as a people. Basically, love one another as ourselves. Treat others the way we want to be treated.I know these principles have religious connotations, but many believe and live by such principles no matter their culture or religious belief. These basic principles, although not law nor should ever be law, connect us as a people.

    3. djdaniel150 profile image61
      djdaniel150posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      You couldn't have said it better shadesbreath! There's a word called "tolerance" and so many don't seem to comprehend it. A lot of people seem to think that their ideas are the only good ideas, and we should all think as they do, ridiculous.

  2. profile image0
    Bronwyn J Hansenposted 10 years ago

    Well said, Shadesbreath. Good to see someone starting a thread that's sole purpose is not to create slanging matches and disharmony amongst Hubbers. Some of the threads that I have read are truly toxic. Maybe people who prefer that sort of carry on should head over to Facebook and leave those of that appreciate other people and their points of view in peace?

  3. DzyMsLizzy profile image88
    DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years ago

    Good job, Shadesbreath!

    Nothing makes me angrier than people spewing vitriol at those who disagree with their own pet positions.  Sure, I have sometimes responded with my own point of view, but most of the time that consists of stating that legislation of "morality," (as defined by religions) has no place in government, especially not in  our government here in the USA, whose very constitution demands separation of church and state.

    Just because someone's religion instructs them to believe in a certain set of ideals or behavioral codes, does not give them the right to force those edicts upon everyone else.    I, personally, have no use whatsoever for organized formal mainstream religions of any stripe for those very reasons: most of them urge their followers to proselytize and earn 'converts' in order to save their "immortal souls."  Thanks very much, but my "soul" is my own, and is my business, and no one else's. So, religious apologists, take heed:  it is not your job to try and "save" my soul.

    The trouble with trying to legislate morality, then, is that it becomes an argument about the definition of morality:  whose definition should be followed?  What is the source?  Ultimately, it usually comes back to religions, which are mainly about power and control--not a great deal different than politics and government--and whose preachings should remain squarely within their own pulpits, and not be melded into our laws.
    History has shown us that religions, and religious zealots in particular, are as bad or worse and as dangerous to personal liberties as any fascist state or cruel dictatorship.  Witness the Crusades; the Spanish Inquisition; the Conquistadors, etc...to name just three of the most glaring examples.  Keep their definitions of "morality" far, far away from my government, please!

    As far as specifics go, I'm a firm believer in doing what your own moral compass tells you, and leave everyone else alone. (And, no, I'm not talking about criminal acts, but the social hot-button issues here, e.g.,  the abortion issue.)  Don't believe in abortion?  Fine.  Don't have one.  But don't dictate to others whether or not that might be the right decision for them.
    I recall an argument with my son-in-law years back, during which he stated that he did not, "...want my tax dollars spent on abortions."  To which I responded, "Fine.  And I don't want my tax dollars spent on bombs.  So we're even."

    The thing is, someone is always going to be unhappy with the way things are in general, or the way one something is.  I quote the old adage, "You can't please all of the people all of the time."  To that,  I've added a corollary:  "...and you can't please some of the people any of the time."  This is the class of which my father observed, "Some people just aren't happy unless they can find something to complain about."

    I stand with the Pagan ethic:  "Do as ye will, nay harm ye none."

    1. Shadesbreath profile image80
      Shadesbreathposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      This is why the arguments around federal versus states rights was and continues to be so huge.

      I think it's too late, personally, and believe that America is already doomed to fascism. And, ironically, it's going to come from the left in my opinion, even though its the right who seem to be the biggest douchebags trying to control everything. They're only actually trying to control a few things, but those things are just so damn huge in individual lives it's hard to ignore and makes them the obvious enemy for real thinkers and believers in personal liberty. The left, on the other hand, wants to control a zillion little things, death by a thousand needles. I think the right gets overthrown (as they are already seeing happen) for being so dictatorial, and they will give way to the left who will take everything else away in the name of kindness, "equality" and safety.

      But, whoever "wins," the whole great nation that the founding fathers tried to build, the private hope of an overpopulated, old and bloody old eastern hemisphere, is going to fail.  (And yes, the hope was built upon the conquest of the emptier hemisphere, but, if you think the European invasion actually introduced violence and horrible atrocities in the name of empires and the like to this hemisphere, destroying some great loving and peaceful place that existed before the "white" arrival, well, then you are horrifically and tragically unread, and in that ignorance, contribute to the problem. Humans are the problem, especially ignorant ones.)

      1. DzyMsLizzy profile image88
        DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Agreed--violence has existed since mankind first crawled out of the muck or caves.  My husband's viewpoint is that we are but parasites on the planet.  How's that for laying it out at the bottom line?  wink

  4. profile image53
    Want to Writeposted 10 years ago

    We don't think morals can be legislated, we would just like our leaders to have morals.

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image88
      DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Whose morals?  Mine?  Yours? Their own?  The only reason there are "scandals" of those in power are because of gossip mongers.  Those who in recent years have been caught, literally or figuratively with their pants down, are not the first, nor will they be the last.
      It is simply a matter of the instantaneous nature of information distribution these days that we even know about such shennanigans.  ...  In a sense, the 'scandal' is the fault of the public for holding up these people to higher standards than anyone else.  The politicians are not little 'gods;' far from it--they are merely people, just like the rest of us, just like Joe Schmo down the street who may have had an affair...the difference is, his indiscretion does not warrant nation-wide news coverage.  Stop putting people on impossible pedestals, and they won't fall off.  It's that simple.
      I'm not saying it's acceptable (depending on your moral code) to cheat on your wife--only that it's none of anyone's business but of the trio involved.

      1. tammybarnette profile image60
        tammybarnetteposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Well said smile

    2. GNelson profile image60
      GNelsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think you just stated the real problem.

  5. Pearldiver profile image69
    Pearldiverposted 10 years ago

    How many were shot immorally on Black Friday??? 

    By those forcing their screwed up 'beliefs' on quicker shoppers!  sad


    Nice thread btw Shadesbreath

  6. Dame Scribe profile image61
    Dame Scribeposted 10 years ago

    I think our gov't 's should be held to high standards tongue they have the education and voted into office with  'trust' of the people to do good. Betraying the people is not a quality that's becoming for anybody tongue I don't appreciate their displays of immorality either and unfortunately, all eyes are on them and it comes with the territory just like celebrities I guess tongue but gov't officials are in 'important' offices managing a nation which should be viewed with high standards, including their behaviors, since our children need positive 'role' models too. OT, legislating morals? we shouldn't have to tell others how to live but unfortunately, some people don't have any and maybe there should be some sort of 'consequence' for their actions. Some people just don't have 'boundaries' or are mentally deficient. hmm

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I wholeheartedly agree.  As long as those "high standards" equate to mine, not yours.  Same applies to the role model concept, as long as those role model conform to MY idea of what is right and wrong, not yours.

      Is that acceptable, then?  That these high standards may well not be what you consider appropriate, but that they are fine as long as I think they are?


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