If you vote your personal morals are you voting against personal freedom

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  • #51
Archon
Skyhunter said:
Would not the best society be one where every individual enjoyed maximum personal freedom?

In order for everyone to enjoy maximum personal freedom, everyone must respect, and not infringe upon the personal freedom of others. This principle is the foundation of social morals, as opposed to personal morals which are naturally based on personal beliefs.

With this as the guiding principle, as opposed to the hypothetical argument about society’s survival, we can therefore create a standard to measure whether or not a law is just.
I think we're basically arguing different forms of the same thing. You think that we should have laws that allow the maximum possible amount of personal freedom to the maximum amount of people, while I think that we should keep laws that are somehow necessary for the continuity of society (keeping in mind Hurkyl's point), and discard those laws that only restrict personal freedoms. The end result is the same: the greatest number of people possible have freedom from the imposition of unnecessary morality-based laws.

We have to consider the question "at what point do the needs of society exceed the needs of the individual?" It is at this point that the break between the broad categories of laws I've been talking about happens.
 
  • #52
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Skyhunter said:
Would not the best society be one where every individual enjoyed maximum personal freedom?

In order for everyone to enjoy maximum personal freedom, everyone must respect, and not infringe upon the personal freedom of others. This principle is the foundation of social morals, as opposed to personal morals which are naturally based on personal beliefs.

With this as the guiding principle, as opposed to the hypothetical argument about society’s survival, we can therefore create a standard to measure whether or not a law is just.
YES PLEASE! Can we register everyone and just have a vote on all issues separately, rather than join a party that supposedly closey represents our beliefs (during the campaign) and ditches them afterward? This may sound ridiculous to some, but I'm wondering if this has ever been considered an option before?
Prohibition is an example of a moral law based upon speculation of harm to society.

I agree. Morals and values are not stagnant, like the rest of the universe they are in a constant state of flux. Therefore laws based on personal morals, or the common values of society are doomed to become obsolete. As society evolves, so must its institutions, otherwise its institutions, instead of being uplifting and good for social evolution, they become detrimental to social growth.
Let's see... where have the morals gone in the last 20 or so years? (please note, I'm not condemning or condoning just making a point if I can :smile: )

Curse words. Nudity. Extreme violence. Gay / Lesbian. Masterbation.

all the previous have existed before it was socially acceptable... it was just kept behind closed doors and people were happy then too.

The smoking in public places tends to be an interesting counter to my post of the mock Moral Freedoms Act as cigarette smoke travels and invades other people's airspace without intent.

So yes, I agree that law based on morals is not effective or efficient for an evolving world. As well, with immigration, the mix is ever changing... For a country that is built on immigration, Conservative America in itself is an oxymoron. :tongue2:
 
  • #53
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Archon said:
We have to consider the question "at what point do the needs of society exceed the needs of the individual?" It is at this point that the break between the broad categories of laws I've been talking about happens.
Excellent question! Society is made up of individuals. Let's let everyone bring up all the topics that they are concerned about, vote on each of them and set up a structure that is based on the thought and belief fibres of each individual.

Not everyone will have their way exclusively, but at least you know that you will have contributed to the overall effect? I really like this... thanks for your inspiration everyone! Now how do we get it started?
 
  • #54
Skyhunter
outsider said:
Excellent question! Society is made up of individuals. Let's let everyone bring up all the topics that they are concerned about, vote on each of them and set up a structure that is based on the thought and belief fibres of each individual.

Not everyone will have their way exclusively, but at least you know that you will have contributed to the overall effect? I really like this... thanks for your inspiration everyone! Now how do we get it started?
We have the technology. Why can't everyone get a voter registration card that works like an ATM card. Issues can be discussed online, like we do right now. After debating the issues, blogging with candidates, etc, we could actually make informed choices.

Imagine that. :smile:
 
  • #55
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Skyhunter said:
We have the technology. Why can't everyone get a voter registration card that works like an ATM card. Issues can be discussed online, like we do right now. After debating the issues, blogging with candidates, etc, we could actually make informed choices.

Imagine that. :smile:
If we could bring up a questionaire like:
blacks can ride in the front of the bus ........ 1 2 3 4 5
guns should require licensing.......... 1 2 3 4 5
continue waging war in the middle east....... 1 2 3 4 5
north korea is a threat.............. 1 2 3 4 5
smoking should be allowed in all public places..... 1 2 3 4 5

wouldn't it also be great if we could take the candidates words verbatim and clarify what they are trying to say instead of having multiple ways to interpret their repsonses?

We would also be able to force the issues on them and see which questions they are avoiding too...

we would ask the candidates, based on the poles, how they they handle the countries concerns... and take it from there...

who's writing the software for this right now? :wink:
 
  • #56
loseyourname
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Moonbear said:
However, I don't think such an example relates to the topic of this thread. Actually, noise ordinances are a good example of laws that are NOT based on morality.

This is where philosophical rigor comes in again. To me, everything brought up here is a matter of morality. Strictly speaking, any statement that dictates what a person ought to do is a moral statement. That a person ought not to disturb others with loud music might be a mundane and relatively uncontroversial statement, but it's still a moral statement. I suppose that's why the idea of laws not being based on morals sounds, prima facie, rather absurd to me. Every law I can think of at this moment tells us what we cannot do, derivative on the idea that we should not do these things.
 
  • #57
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loseyourname said:
This is where philosophical rigor comes in again. To me, everything brought up here is a matter of morality. Strictly speaking, any statement that dictates what a person ought to do is a moral statement. That a person ought not to disturb others with loud music might be a mundane and relatively uncontroversial statement, but it's still a moral statement. I suppose that's why the idea of laws not being based on morals sounds, prima facie, rather absurd to me. Every law I can think of at this moment tells us what we cannot do, derivative on the idea that we should not do these things.
an existentialist hard at work... i'm not a pro, but what you say sounds pretty right, however there must be some rules to govern society so we can be "happy" and "free". I guess what you are saying would disqualify this entire thread as a valid discussion, but i think anyone who has contributed to it realizes that there are certain freedoms that we would like to have in our lives building off of the constitution. When some people start to impose laws based on the morality of a specific group is when it becomes unconstitutional. I think you knew this, but I had to call you out on the existentialism stuff... there really is no point to the human race then :smile:
 
  • #58
loseyourname
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Moonbear said:
Despite the appearance that the controversy is that of those with certain religious beliefs infringing upon the rights of a pregnant woman without those beliefs, it is actually the controversy over whether an embryo/fetus has rights, and if it does, are the rights of the fetus or the rights of the woman to be given more weight?

Yes, I really hate that this is always treated as a religious issue. It clouds things and elicits so much emotion from both sides; it is nearly impossible to have a reasoned debate or even discussion on the matter.

So, there are some cases where morality cannot be avoided in making laws. Indeed, the most fundamental rights we have are based on moral values. What constitutes a right that requires protection is a moral question.

I don't think people realize how heavily morality permeated everything we do. Whether or not anybody should even have any rights is a moral question.

I don't think it's possible to maintain a civilized society without some degree of law-making based on morals. If we were entirely without morals, we would have NO laws (we would not care about the safety of others, we would not care if people had rights, we would not care if something one person did interfered with something another person wanted to do or how they resolved it) and anarchy would result. The other extreme is no better, where we lack any freedom. It comes down to what are universal or fundamental views of morality vs. what are individual or small group views of morality that are not consistent across society.

Of course, what is universal and fundamental even seems to change over time. The only real constants seem to be that we shouldn't kill or rob each other for no good reason. Of course, then we must question what constitutes a "good" reason.
 
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  • #59
loseyourname
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outsider said:
an existentialist hard at work... i'm not a pro, but what you say sounds pretty right, however there must be some rules to govern society so we can be "happy" and "free". I guess what you are saying would disqualify this entire thread as a valid discussion, but i think anyone who has contributed to it realizes that there are certain freedoms that we would like to have in our lives building off of the constitution. When some people start to impose laws based on the morality of a specific group is when it becomes unconstitutional. I think you knew this, but I had to call you out on the existentialism stuff... there really is no point to the human race then :smile:

I'm not too sure what you mean by any of this. I never meant to give the impression that I thought this discussion was pointless. It's just that the way it is framed is based on a misnomer. Let's face it: we all want the same thing. We all want the world to be governed according to our own personal conception of morality. In some cases, that personal conception is that one should be free to do anything that doesn't infringe upon the freedom of another. In other cases, that conception is that one should be restricted by the laws laid down in sacred scripture. There are many conceptions that lie somewhere in between these two. Then we have the US Constitutional conception of morality: we have all of the rights enumerated to us as citizens in the first ten amendments, except where they place others in direct and imminent danger. Anything else is potentially subject to legislation.

Is there really such a thing as existentialist ethics, by the way? People from Kierkegaard to Sartre were all considered existentialists, but varied wildly in their moral outlooks.
 
  • #60
Skyhunter
loseyourname said:
I don't think people realize how heavily morality permeated everything we do. Whether or not anybody should even have any rights is a moral question.



Of course, what is universal and fundamental even seems to change over time. The only real constants seem to be that we shouldn't kill or rob each other for no good reason. Of course, then we must question what constitutes a "good" reason.
I hope I was not misleading. I attempted to separate personal morals from social morals. Ultimately you are right, morality does permeate everything we do. Personal freedom can be considered a moral value.

I was trying to find a common moral value that we could all agree about. The idea of universal personal freedom was the one that seemed glaringly obvious to me. I think it was the focal and main ideal that was used by the framers when they wrote the constitution.
 
  • #61
loseyourname
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Skyhunter said:
I was trying to find a common moral value that we could all agree about. The idea of universal personal freedom was the one that seemed glaringly obvious to me. I think it was the focal and main ideal that was used by the framers when they wrote the constitution.

Ethically speaking, that position is known as libertarianism. It does seem to provide the basis for the Bill of Rights. There is another major influence in the US Constitution, though, that can be at odds with libertarianism. That is the whole 'social contract' idea, that a given regime governs with the consent of its citizenry and can basically do whatever the citizenry will allow. In principle, the social contract theory would take precendence, in that even the Bill of Rights can be amended or even abolished. It would, of course, never happen because the citizenry would never consent to it. This does raise an interesting question, though: Do really hold so tightly to these liberal ideals because they actually constitute the best form of governmental ethics or simply because we are Americans and have been socialized into holding liberal ideals?

For that matter, how did libertarians come to be considered conservative?
 
  • #62
honestrosewater
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loseyourname said:
Every law I can think of at this moment tells us what we cannot do, derivative on the idea that we should not do these things.
What about procedural or technical types or elements of laws, i.e., where the goal has been determined by morals and the law just sets out the best way to achieve that goal? For instance, if it's decided that people shouldn't make disturbing noise, you must still determine when a noise qualifies as disturbing. Meh, just a side note. :rolleyes:
Or a better example: People shouldn't drive drunk. When is a person 'drunk'? How will their drunkenness be tested? Under what circumstances must a person submit to a test? And so on.
 
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  • #63
Skyhunter
loseyourname said:
For that matter, how did libertarians come to be considered conservative?
I know some young republicans from the Reagon era. They tried to convince me that Libertarian values were the same as conservative values. I argued the difference is that conservative republicans want personal freedom for corporations. And you cannot have universal personal freedom and be able to shirk the personal responsibility by forming a corporation.

Libertarians are not corporatists. Modern republicans are.
 
  • #64
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loseyourname said:
For that matter, how did libertarians come to be considered conservative?
I think that happened with the rise of neo-liberalism, which is pretty much synonymous with republican conservatism these days.
 
  • #65
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loseyourname said:
I'm not too sure what you mean by any of this. I never meant to give the impression that I thought this discussion was pointless. It's just that the way it is framed is based on a misnomer. Let's face it: we all want the same thing. We all want the world to be governed according to our own personal conception of morality. In some cases, that personal conception is that one should be free to do anything that doesn't infringe upon the freedom of another. In other cases, that conception is that one should be restricted by the laws laid down in sacred scripture. There are many conceptions that lie somewhere in between these two. Then we have the US Constitutional conception of morality: we have all of the rights enumerated to us as citizens in the first ten amendments, except where they place others in direct and imminent danger. Anything else is potentially subject to legislation.
It was my error to conclude from your post that since laws were based on morals that as long as there is law, there is no real freedom. And as I said before, I do agree with you. However, such a society will not likely ever exist (at least I hope not) and so we have to try to try to work with what we and discuss what that entails and what would be a fair direction for all. Not that it matters, but I always enjoy reading your perspective.
Is there really such a thing as existentialist ethics, by the way? People from Kierkegaard to Sartre were all considered existentialists, but varied wildly in their moral outlooks.
I have only read briefly (one book and I don't recall the title) on existentialism and IMO don't feel it is healthy for progress... and as far as I understand, everything is game/not game from an existentialists perspective. I would be interested in hearing your insight on this topic if it can somehow tie into the thread (i don't want to send it off track).
 
  • #66
Existentialists are bohemians, they 've all been contracdicted and all beein trying to explain something they couldn't explain in the end..
 
  • #67
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Nomy-the wanderer said:
Existentialists are bohemians, they 've all been contracdicted and all beein trying to explain something they couldn't explain in the end..
so what's your take on morals and freedoms?
 
  • #68
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morals are freedom killers... so you will need to scrap your morals and trade it in for freedom. Basic morals are referenced in most religions as far as not killing and stealing and wanting other peoples property... (sounds like capitalism is a sin against basic morals)... so we should all be able to agree on a similar set of basic morals and work on the freedoms from there on on... please feel free to take reference to the Moral Freedoms Act previously posted... I will be away from PF for a few days... enjoy.
 

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