Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The separation of legal and moral

If you haven't done so already, go ahead and take the world's smallest political quiz by clicking here.

Some of you have been asking, “Gee, Ken, where do you fall on that scale?” Well, I'm happy to report that I am a fairly consistent Libertarian in my political views.

So, some of you are reading this and trying to figure out how someone who claims to attempt to live his life through a biblical perspective could possibly identify himself with a political philosophy that would lobby for the legalization of recreational drug use, prostitution, and people driving without seat belts.

Let's start with something simple - a few years ago the state of Delaware passed the smoking ban. This ban prohibits the smoking of tobacco inside any public building, restaurant, bar, outhouse, etc.

I spoke out against that legislation at every turn.


I'll go a step further. I believe the tobacco industry is despicable and traffics in addiction and human misery.

But, the fact remains that we're supposed to have property rights in this country. Which, in my humble opinion, means the state government would be entirely within its rights to ban smoking in state buildings. But, it does NOT mean the state government has the right to tell a private property owner that he cannot allow his patrons to engage in a legal activity in his establishment.

On principle, this is wrong.

Hopefully, you can see how I can hold a personal view against a certain industry (tobacco), choose not to engage in a certain activity (smoking), and yet argue against legislation that would ban said activity and impact said industry.

So, what about recreational drug use and prostitution (or insert other activity you may find offensive, abhorrent, or just plain "icky")?

In these cases I believe the “respectable” masses are using the law as a shortcut to public morality - in other words, we are more interested in using the police, courts, and correctional system than our true convictions to make us feel comfortable.

You see, it's easier to get the legislation passed to get “those undesirable elements” arrested, prosecuted, and locked away than it is for us to try to address the underlying issues that might lead a person to make such destructive choices.

Don't worry, I know that my societal dreams won't come to pass in our lifetimes, and the cruel irony is that if all the Libertarians in the country were to gather and organize… well, that's just it, they wouldn't… by our very nature Libertarians are individualists who can't really work together as a large group. So you can all rest easy that the politicians, police, judges, and guards will continue to protect you from those undesirable elements.

Seriously, let's have a conversation on this - let's just explore this concept together…


Denise Saxon said...

I'm glad they banned smoking in bars because it's hard to sing karaoke in all the smoke. :-) AND, I do smoke from time to time. However, you do have valid reasons for digging the legislation are purely selfish. :-)

rhitt.garrett said...

I do not smoke, and never have. Tobacco smoke causes intense respiratory reaction in me, which I lived with for many years. It seems to me that laws, rightly used, are to determine reasonable boundaries by which a society is to live. Some boundaries are ideological, some are physiological, all are more or less subjective. But in an objective sense, I know by experience that my quality of life is order of magnitude better as result of no-smoking laws. If smokers can figure out a way to smoke without forcing their smoke on others, then I might support their repeal.