Saturday, March 17, 2012


I wonder sometimes how it is possible that people say such things as they do. People who otherwise seem to be intelligent people say some absolutely inane statements.

One that particularly baffles me is that morality cannot be legislated.

Huh? Do people even listen to what they say?

From’s morality, the first definition given is:

  • conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
When these rules are codified as laws so as to be applied to a population it is called legislation.

Such legislation has as its intention the protection of people from being abused in various ways, including protection from having one’s life stolen from oneself, protection from being raped in one’s person or property, protection from being assaulted bodily and verbally, and the like.

Legislation that makes murder illegal and prosecutable is legislation of morality. Morality is the very reason for legislation.

Sadly, in some cases, amorality or immorality has become the basis of some legislation.

Worse yet is that some legitimate legislation has been overturned through immoral and illicit judicial procedure. Where proper morality has been legislated, sometimes the judicial system has nullified it.

Thus we have a society in which the protections that have been properly legislated for all are reduced and in some cases completely nullified so that certain groups of people are treated as non-persons who are then subjected to horrible abuses.

Such has been the case throughout history.

This nullification of morality being properly legislated and enacted and enforced begins with certain “lesser” groups, but eventually is extended to count more and more groups as “lesser” until only a few have any real protection, which has actually morphed into usurpation of protection of the masses.

When this reaches such a level the masses who previously consented to the nullifying of these protections for other “lesser” persons and groups of persons cry out in dismay that they themselves now stand with these “lesser” ones.

I am truly baffled by how often people who cry out for legislation against the inhumane treatment of animals will argue that legislation against the inhumane treatment of babies is only a “moral issue” that should not be legislated.

In the meantime, truly dreadful legislation such as the Patriot Act and now the NDAA is permitted and even welcomed. People imagine that these direct violations of the Constitution will somehow be limited to “those” people and that by some miracle that they will be exempted from these violations.

Eventually people discover that the cliche, “What goes around comes around,” actually has its basis in fact.

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Canadian Atheist said...

I agree with you about NDAA and Patriot. However, I think when people say you can't legislate morality, they're often talking about morality that doesn't affect anyone else. Murder is taking someones life. However, if I lock myself in my room and drink till I puke every day, I wouldn't call that moral behavior. But it only becomes a problem to others when I go out in public and make a nuisance of myself.

Not Alone +++ PAS said...

Dear Canadian,

It is indeed true that people are inconsistent in their definition of morality. People often change their definition to fit their desired application or to avoid application to self. As a general rule, people will often use morality as a control on others but seek exemption for self. People often also fail to see how moral or immoral behavior impacts others.

Your example of alcohol abuse makes this point. The fact that a person misuses alcohol privately does not mean that it has no impact upon others and therefore can be counted as not being a moral issue. First, morality is not limited to impact upon others. Secondly, self-abuse does affect others, too.

With the case of “private” alcohol abuse, it has a deleterious affect upon one’s health. This means that the private abuser will need future additional health care, which affects the health care costs and insurance costs of others. Even if absolutely no one helps the self-abused sufferer of liver cirrhosis and brain/mental deterioration and induced diabetes so that the person dies unassisted, still the body must be buried. Moreover, even in the short term, the person becomes less productive at work and less functional walking or driving. Thus other people are affected by this person’s actions. Since provision of health care and insurance has been deemed a moral issue which has been legislated, the person’s self-abuse is a moral issue from that standpoint as well. Such self-abuse also affects family and friends. It also can sometimes effect changes in genetic inheritance, which can affect many future generations, perhaps even unaware to those heirs of this abuse.

The notion that one’s life and one’s body are one’s own leads to many forms of short-sighted judgment. Believing that one’s actions concerning one’s self impacts no one else leads ultimately to discounting the effects and affects of all of one’s actions and attitudes and thoughts.

Prejudice and racism are examples of attitudes that extend beyond oneself to others. These are moral issues, and they do extend to others. How one views sexuality likewise extends to others. Sexual harassment is a seemingly minor example.

Can issues of self-abuse and abusive attitudes and views be legislated? Yes, and they have been.

Can legislation be overdone to the point of legislation itself becoming abusive? The founders of the United States thought so and wrote a Constitution by which they attempted to legislate restrictions upon abusive legislation, particularly at the federal level.

In a society where true love, agape, is the morality held by all so that all live in and by this rule of love, legislation is unnecessary. Humanity briefly enjoyed this freedom. In heaven, it will be fully restored. Even now, in the true Church, it is enjoyed.

Sadly, it is hard to find anyone today who believes this, and so we have legislation upon legislation, especially among the religious.