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I'VE GOT IT! [Jul. 30th, 2005|11:10 am]
Finally... I finally found the word I'm looking for.

Yes, laws should be based in moral principles, but laws should be based in morality, not holiness. Morality is that set of things that are right and wrong; holiness is that kind of stuff that you feel your religion commands that isn't based upon accepted ideas of right and wrong.

So, you can certainly legislate against non-consensual sex of all forms. You can't legislate against consensual sexual acts that are unholy.

You can legislate against theft and murder and so forth; you can't legislate against breaking the sabbath or eating pork.

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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2005-07-30 06:24 pm (UTC)
I agree, but right now, the word "morality" has legs. Talking about "ethics" could be clobbered, but talking about "morality, not holiness" could make moral people nod and say "Yeah, that makes sense."
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2005-07-30 07:29 pm (UTC)
Remember, I agree with you. But, even if you look at what you just said, "telling people how to behave". Well, behaving includes "don't hurt each other unjustly, be honest, etc.."

The best way to break down the idea that laws should be based in morals (and with Republicans in control, the implication is "and morals come from (an idolatrous form of) Christianity") is to give people an idea that they think they already knew (and most of them did)... "Yeah, but there's more than one kind of morals, isn't there?"

Really, the difference between "morals" and "ethics" can be awfully hazy, and sometimes the biggest difference is the flavor of the word. "Morals" have been used so often is such slimey ways that it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, sometimes. But I do understand the appeal of the word and the idea.
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[User Picture]From: nsingman
2005-07-30 09:15 pm (UTC)
Your distinctions seem a bit arbitrary, John. I've met vegetarians who would happily legislate against eating pork, for example, on the basis of no "holiness" whatsoever. Perhaps you mean that laws shouldn't be based solely on a religious prohibition? Still arbitrary, though; I see no reason why atheist prudes should be allowed to outlaw marijuana or prostitution, but religious prudes shouldn't.

The motives don't matter; the restrictive laws do.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2005-07-30 10:54 pm (UTC)
Well... you're right, the distinction isn't useful for answering questions, but I think it's useful for expressing the question. Even if you say the government should be allowed to legislate "morality", it clearly shouldn't be allowed to legislate holiness, because, face it, for any one religion's holiness, there's almost certainly another that proclaims the same thing unholy.

Think of it this way: I'm saying is that you, as a libertarian, think a lot more is "legislating holiness" than I would. Taxation? That's legislating the holiness of an undefinable (Well, infinitely redefinable)"common good". So, we could debate where 'morality' ends and 'holiness' begins. But, if we used that structure, at least we'd know where we disagreed, and better understand why.
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[User Picture]From: ruth_lawrence
2005-07-31 02:53 am (UTC)
Well, you *can* but you shounoughta.

This is a good clarification!
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