In response to:

The Quarrel With Morals

Donjindra Wrote: Feb 22, 2013 12:47 PM
"Indeed, the ultimate objective of the law is to establish the moral code of a community. There’s really no other reason to go to all the trouble of creating a law in the first place if not to ingrain in the minds of a people the idea that certain things are right or wrong." This is a dangerous position. There's much to say about it. First, it's absolutely wrong. There were once laws permitting and regulating slavery. How ingrained in the minds of man did that become? Were there no citizens opposed to those laws? Of course there were. But where did this opposition come from if laws alone establish a moral code?
Jack2894 Wrote: Feb 22, 2013 12:56 PM
Donj has this exactly right. The ultimate objective of laws is not in any way to establish a moral code. The ultimate objective of laws is to impose order on the state of nature. Some laws are moral, some are not moral. Some morality is ensconced in law. Some morality isn't and can't be. The only people functioning today who try to draw a one to one relationship between law and morality are Islamic fundamentalists.
Donjindra Wrote: Feb 22, 2013 12:48 PM
How about adultery? There are no laws against it -- at least none anyone pays attention to. But is adultery therefore considered moral? I doubt even many adulterers would go that far. Nearly everyone considers cheating morally wrong.

If we can merely legislate morality any way we choose, why can't we say it's better to kill an unwanted spouse rather than going to the trouble of divorce? Can we condition our wives to accept this? What about a driver who cuts us off in traffic? Why can't see simply pass a law that says we can shoot him legally? That financial analyst who gave us bad stock advice, why can't we simply blow him up in his office? Will laws advocating these acts make them "moral" in the minds of most men?
Donjindra Wrote: Feb 22, 2013 12:49 PM
I think Alan Sears is a closet leftist. He believes people are infinitely malleable. He believes they accept what they're conditioned to accept. But a true conservative could never believe in the infinite malleability of man.

Laws cannot change the instincts and feelings of people. And since laws cannot do that, and since laws cannot go against the grain of human nature without causing deep social strife, there is no way we can legislate morality. We can merely use the state to enforce it or ignore it. That's all we mean when we say morality cannot be legislated. Submission does not imply moral acceptance.
Donjindra Wrote: Feb 22, 2013 12:59 PM

This position (and that of Frank Turek) advocates a top-down approach to morality. It legitimates the Politburo. It delegitimatizes the individual. It says, individuals are just too messy to deal with these problems on their own. It ends in a collectivist rather than an individualist approach. It tends to throw us into one big moral commune.

“He is not a moral man,” a friend of mine said, in reference to a prominent attorney of our mutual acquaintance. It took me aback for a moment. Not because I questioned the assessment. Rather, because it opens the door to a flood of the kind of jokes people love to make about lawyers … often enough, with good reason.

What struck me was the great sadness with which my friend, himself an attorney, made his statement. It was not an accusation, but a sad recognition that a man vested with playing a prominent part in some of the most crucial...