Mark D. Fulwiler (
Wed, 07 Jan 1998 13:34:58 -0700

Michael Lorrey <> wrote:

> Subject: Re: Morality versus Legality
> Technotranscendence wrote:
> >
> > 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
> > moral
> > >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
> > acts
> > 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.
> >
> Correct. Law should only be applicable to cases where one individual
> hurts another in some way without consent. Every person should have the
> right to do whatever one wants with oneself, no matter how immoral, and
> only with others with their consent. THis is what I find so ironic about
> religious people trying to legislate morality. If a person has no legal
> choice but to be moral, where is the virtue??? Virtue comes from making
> the concious choice for being good, which can only occur if the
> individual is totally free to choose either way.

I disagree that "vices" such as smoking, drinking, whoring around, etc.
are immoral. To me a virtuous persion is someone who doesn't coerce,
harm or cheat others.

Who's the moral person in this example?

1. Mr. A. He never drinks, smokes, overeats or has sex but has just
embezzled $50,000 from his company.

2. Mr. B. He smokes, drinks, overeats and goes to hookers every night,
but has not embezzled $50,000 from his company.

Religious people are not really trying to legislate morality. They are
really acting immorally in trying to force their personal preferences on

Mark Fulwiler