Morality versus Legality

Technotranscendence (
Wed, 7 Jan 1998 05:56:37 -0500 (EST)

At 06:38 PM 1/6/98 -0700, Mark D. Fulwiler <> wrote:
>> But my original point was that there is a difference between morality and
>> legality -- or what is right and wrong and what should be up to the law --
>> whether enforced by a government or what have you -- to decide. Does
>> anyone agree with me on this?
>The government, if it exists, should only enforce laws to protect people's
>liberty and property and make sure contracts are enforced. However, under our
>current legal system, acts which are not immoral, like taking drugs are
>criminalized, while theft by the government (taxation), certainly immoral, is
>quite legal. Ideally, everything immoral should be illegal, and everything
>should be legal. I am however, speaking of rational morality, not the often
>idiotic kind advanced by religion.
>For an example of immorality posing as morality, see the truly vile piece
by Dr.
>Sally Satel (an evil psychiatrist) in today's Wall Street Journal advocating
>using coercion against drug users "for their own good." It's a shame this Nazi
>bitch is given space in one of our leading newspapers, but the WSJ is run by a
>bunch of superstitious religious conservatives who have no idea of the real
>meaning of freedom.

Mark conflates morality and law. I believe the two are distinct. There are
which are immoral which should not be illegal, such as smoking. Smoking is
self-destructive -- yet it should not be outlawed. Under a rational morality,
smoking would be wrong, but no police officer would come knocking at your
door if you smoked. Ditto for overeating, lack of exercise, most drug use.

Rational morality cannot be forced. It must be spread by persuasion. The
only time force can be used is when someone initiates or threatens to
initiate force. Then it is just a matter of defense or just retaliation.

Daniel Ust