State Imposed Moral Standards? | INFJ Forum

State Imposed Moral Standards?

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by tovlo, Apr 10, 2009.

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  1. tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    I'm curious how people here tend to consider the involvement of government on moral issues?

    On moral issues I do not personally value, I would hope for a time when people would not choose to engage in them, but also tend to reserve myself from the battle to make/keep it illegal.

    I recognize there's a valid argument in if it's illegal, people will not choose it. I acknowledge for some portion of the population that's true. But I also wonder if we lose a battle of understanding when we engage in a battle of legal force. I wonder if it's somewhat like an authoritarian parent whose children obey because they fear the punishment, but don't really understand the rules. I prefer, in parenting and in government, a style that is more focused on providing ample information for people to make educated choices and then recognizing I am not omnipotent and if someone chooses other than I would have chosen for them, it might not mean they made the wrong choice.
     
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  2. just me

    just me GONE

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    I believe too much government is a bad thing. I trust your evaluation regarding parenting to be a wise choice. I have found there to be many that cannot make wise decisions because of their environments they are in. I recall a student standing toe to toe with a teacher regarding the treating of a situation similarly to what you touched on. The student argued the teacher had no idea what it was like trying to handle an angry ghetto woman who wielded a knife. Point taken. The teacher lived in an upper class neighborhood and had been kept from that type of lifestyle.
    When people are in the position to make wise decisions it is best they make their own. Poor and impoverished people do not always make wise decisions based on their need to survive.
    I feel morals and ethics should be more as guidelines and possibly taught and experienced rather than ruled by a government. I do believe a governing body should use morals in their decisions to better govern the people, as Solomon prayed for understanding so that he could better rule and thus serve his people.
    I do question where the line is drawn, though. Morals should be taught and experienced, but should also be rewarded in our youth with at least words uplifting to their hearts. I prefer to be open-minded regarding freedom of choice on most issues, but also have to give place for certain morality that should not be acceptable in society. continuing
    While I do not condone the dragging through the streets of a corpse, I feel that to be an extreme example of what I feel was intended. I feel morals should be reflected in our laws. The lack of morality is also the opposite extreme of what I feel was intended. I do believe omnipotence to also be an extreme definition of knowing what is moral and what is not. Most people will admit certain things to be immoral, the same as most people may agree on what is moral. Tantamount immorality in a society should not be the end result of freedom of choice or the society itself will end up suffering from it.
    What a joy it is to see a child make a great decision. Having too much government making those decisions would take away entirely too much from life experience. Life experience is, after all, mostly what most would want for their children....I think.
     
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    #2 just me, Apr 10, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  3. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Hey! State imposed moral standards are awesome! As long as they are my moral standards.
     
  4. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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  5. OP
    tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    :rolleyes:
     
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  6. OP
    tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    Appreciated. However, who is the arbiter of whether it was wise or not? How can any other person know or understand all the circumstances that had to be considered in making the decision?

    I value this a great deal.

    I wonder, the moral framework one leader may draw on to help guide their actions may differ from the one another might turn to. Can all of those frameworks be respected and valued?

    As a parent, I certainly haven't refrained from sharing with my children my own moral framework and why I value it. I also let them know that it pleases me when they choose in ways I might have chosen for them. I have not always been successful at tamping down my ego when they have not chosen as I would have, but I do try to remain open and see the world in which they have had to choose when their direction differs from mine.

    Do you mean that you personally would not accept, or do you mean there should be a universal definition of what is moral and what crosses the line into unacceptable?

    To be honest, I'm not even sure how I feel about laws. I was going to say that I valued this, but then couldn't. If laws must be, then I value that people would engage in the creation of those laws by turning to a system of morality to guide them, as in the Solomon example you offered.

    Oops. I realize I meant omniscience, not omnipotence. Yes, perhaps it is the extremity, however I don't know if I think anything short of it is sufficient for declaring universal morality.

    I think there are things many would agree on. I think there is little, if anything, everyone would agree on.

    Society is always in a constant state of suffering. Allowing freedom of choice will not create it, and neither will restricting it limit that suffering. In my opinion, it would only change the nature of it.

    Having a child make a decision I value is indeed a great moment of pride. Having a child make a decision I do not value, pains my ego and often causes me to fear for them and for myself, however, I still think it is a beautiful expression of self.

    I value very much what has been offered here and I appreciate that the effort was taken to say it.
     
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    #6 tovlo, Apr 10, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  7. OP
    tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    Because I worry about these sorts of things, I hope you saw the smile of appreciation in my eye roll. I enjoyed the point. I couldn't resist a smirking eye roll, though. :wink:
     
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  8. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    I was thinking of starting a thread very similar to this all week.

    If you have a moral standard, then the last thing you want near it is the state. A state uses coercive power and that more or less will completely undermine whatever value is inherent within a moral.
     
  9. OP
    tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    Yeah? I hope you feel justice has been done to your idea.

    I agree that state as I have experienced it, and as I am able to envision how the historical states I'm aware of may have operated, do not seem to behave in ways that manage to avoid leaving scars when they hold morality in hand.

    Do you think there is a state that could be envisioned where power could co-exist with morality and not wound at least some portion of it's constituents?

    I sense in this that coercion is a violation to your sense of morality. In my own moral framework, it also would be. Do you think a moral framework exists (whether you would value it or not) where coercive power would be acceptable?
     
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    #9 tovlo, Apr 10, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  10. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    No. States and morality simply don't mix.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Under that moral proposition, then you can use coercion if you don't mind others using coercion towards you.
     
  11. OP
    tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    Yep. A version of this was among the options I considered.
     
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  12. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Rewrite your morals?
     
  13. Motor Jax

    Motor Jax randomness included
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    use of coercion is against my morals...

    my morals no man will take away from me... they cannot and will not steal them...
     
  14. just me

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    My object is to share some rather interesting ideals a certain group of mostly intellectuals from years past that have somewhat been lost between the cracks in the floors of our heritage. I only wish to share, and dare not offer opinions at this time....that will come later. The involvement of government on moral issues may be the theme of this thread, but I do find place for these most valuable men's words in the discussion of rather the involvement of morals in our government, if I may find place for the two comparisons to be the one and the same. Please ask me to delete this, tovlo, should you find it in any way out of order or context and I will be delighted to. Please note the abject attitudes of those that helped secure a place in this world for our government when the thought of the absence of religion and morality was even thought to be removed from the
    foundations of this new government: America.
    I will continue to add til I tire with editing.....
    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indespensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. from George Washington's Farewell Address

    We have no government armed with the power capable with contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    Statemen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People
    in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. John Adams

    I proceed in the next place, to enquire, what mode of education we shall adopt so as to secure to the state all the advantages that are to be derived from the proper instruction of youth; and here I beg leave to remark, that the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Benjamin Rush

    Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time.
    They therefore that are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure and which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments. US Senator Charles Carroll

    From the Leader of the Boston Tea Party.....
    The rights and freedom being given of the Almighty...The rights of the colonists as Christians...may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.
    as the Declaration of Independence was being signed...
    We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.
    to James Warren, 1779....
    A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader....If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
    from the Public Advisor..... Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.
    Samuel Adams, who has so much more to say

    The principles of morality and religion are the best foundation of national happiness.
    James Madison, 1785

    The great pillars of all government and of social life are virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed...so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger. Patrick Henry, 1789

    Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principals of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world. Benjamin Franklin, 1778

    from one known to many as the Father of the Bill of Rights...No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justive, moderation, temperence, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles. George Mason, written into the Virginia Declaration of Rights
    I momentarily tire a bit
     
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    #14 just me, Apr 11, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  15. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Big surprise. JM thinks that Christianity should be enforced by the state.

    But I can post a long list of quotes by notable public figures as well...

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_buckner/quotations.html#II

    "All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution": freedom for religion, but also freedom from religion. (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 38. Jefferson proposed his language in 1776.)

    It seems men like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison have been "lost" between the cracks of JM's heritage.
     
    #15 Satya, Apr 11, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  16. just me

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    Satya, do not place words in my mouth; I can speak for my own self.
     
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  17. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    Why is it that what men 330 years ago wrote is taken as such an authority for resolving this now? I think it's more relevant if it is right or wrong, and for the time as it is now.


    State imposed religion? No way. It's a disgusting concept.
    State imposed morality? To an extent you have to have it. Ideally the state should be maximizing liberty for its citizens while keeping them from encroaching on each others' liberties. Murder is illegal because you encroach on the liberty of one's life when you murder someone. However, the state should endeavor to get involved with peoples' morality to the least extent possible...which it currently certainly does not do.
     
  18. just me

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    I find it interesting to study how these men that many years ago were fleeing a governing authority that had something missing in it. I also find it interesting how they gathered to make a Constitution that would better serve the people than the government or governments they were leaving
    armed with experience and knowledge. I find it interesting how a society can forget how their country was founded and why.
    I also find your questions interesting and will ponder them. Thank you for your candor and thank you for the way you ask your questions. I have come to appreciate the way you bring this other personality into our discussions.
     
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    #18 just me, Apr 11, 2009
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  19. Duty

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    People seem to talk about them as if they are the absolute authority, and what they say is what we should follow. It's almost like people don't understand that the founding fathers were fallible men who can be just as wrong about things as anyone else.

    Idk, maybe I'm mistaking you all for a bunch of Si functioning peoples (which you all are obviously not) that look to the past to resolve nearly all questions. It's interesting what these men had to say about things, it's just that their opinions are so often taken as the absolute authority for how American government should be run.
     
  20. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    That's 230 years, assuming you're talking about the founding fathers of the U.S. :D
    You bring up a good point. Why must we judge our government according to an old document? Why is the Constitution assumed to be perfect (except for the occasional amendment)? Would it be so wrong to rewrite it?
     
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