Utah Politics/Region

Josh Coates jcoates at archive.org
Thu Feb 3 22:30:38 MST 2005


whew!  let me try and make this as short as possible:

>>um...the short answer is "cuz that's how our socially based legislative
>>process works."
>Does that make the laws just? No.

unjust according to *who*?  *your* personal moral frame of reference??  *my*
personal moral frame of reference??

look, i'm just saying different social groups have different concepts of
what is just/moral/right whatever.  if there are more of them than you, then
guess what?  they make the laws - even if you think they are unfair.  that's
just the way the world works.  it's not an opinion, it's a clear
observation.

>"Each citizen named Josh Coats that wants to use Linux as an
>OS must apply for a license from the county and will be taxed 67% of their
>income to the county"

you misspelled my name.  and if the legislative system supports the creation
of that law - guess what?  i either pay the tax, change the law or move
somewhere else.

>In the movie BraveHeart, you may recall the laws that were on the
>books that allowed the noble to claim the right of "Prima Nocte" or "First
>Night" with a bride.

braveheart was a crappy movie.  i gave it 3/5 stars.

>The problem becomes when these groups
>try to corrupt law in order to use it to take away anothers life, liberty,
>or property.

more of the same.  your personal moral frame of reference is going to tell
you what life, liberty and property is.  for example, social groups often
have dramatic differences in their ideas of what 'liberty' is.
get it?

>Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
>Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
>...
>And again I ask : You do not mind being the lamb?

if the lamb is too slow on the draw, then he's lunch.  social darwinism,
right?

okay - just so we dont get crosswired here - you are arguing that the
founding fathers make provisions to look out for the little guy.  i think
that's great.  let's do it.  i can say that because i share the same basic
morals framework as you do.

BUT, what i'm suggesting is that you back up and look at the big picture -
look beyond our specific country and legal system.  humans that live
together make up rules based on *their* values.

-thomas jefferson made up a bunch of rules based on his societies morals and
values.  our society accepts them.
-montezuma made up a bunch of rules based on his societies morals and
values.  aztec society accepted them.
-governor boggs made up a bunch of rules based on his societies morals and
values.  missouri accepted them.

and here in utah, if a mormon governor makes up some special mormon law
based on his utah mormon societies morals and values, then guess what?  we
have a process for our local society to accept them.  if we do, then guess
what?  you either deal with it, use activism to change it or move somewhere
else.

you can't say which societal based law is wrong or right.  how do you decide
that?  only in the context of your personal moral framework.  c'mon, this is
basic moral relativity - unless you are prepared to say "yeah, except my
morals REALLY ARE correct, and everyone elses aren't".  but i think that
would be silly to say (though not necessarily silly to think.)

ok, so this isnt very short..if this goes on, i suggest we take it offlist,
but i think we're just about done..

Josh Coates
http://www.jcoates.org

-----Original Message-----
From: plug-bounces at plug.org [mailto:plug-bounces at plug.org]On Behalf Of
Art Pollard
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 9:45 PM
To: Provo Linux Users Group Mailing List
Subject: RE: Utah Politics/Region


At 04:23 PM 2/3/2005, you wrote:
>Barry Roberts:
> >The main point is, why do you get to enforce your personal morality with
>laws?
>um...the short answer is "cuz that's how our socially based legislative
>process works."

Does that make the laws just? No. Just because there is a process does not
make it fair or just.  Iraq had a process up until about March 23rd
2002.  If you questioned anything, they cut your hands off, your tongue
out, or tortured your family -- if you were lucky.  That is how their
socially based legislative process worked.

>TuxGirl:
>"...that doesn't give us the right to impose our beliefs on others who come
>here..."
>
>ah - actually, it does - at least legislatively.

Just because we "can" do something does not give us the right to do
so.   God gave us:

1) Life
2) Liberty
3) Property
4) The right to defend our life, liberty and property.

Law exists when we assign that right to a third party.  In this way we do
not have to spend our time and efforts each and every day defending our
life liberty and property from those who may wish to take it away.  We have
in effect created law so that specialists (policemen, county DA, AG, etc.)
can defend us allowing us to go on with our lives.

However, just because we have created law to defend life liberty and
property does not mean that law can not be used unjustly.  Law can also be
used to steal life, liberty, and property unjustly.

If I were to get together with some of my friends and pass a law in Utah
County saying: "Each citizen named Josh Coats that wants to use Linux as an
OS must apply for a license from the county and will be taxed 67% of their
income to the county" it would not be just -- just because the law is on
the books and is enforceable.

If there is something that is immoral and is unjust if you were to pass a
law requiring it, the actions would not automatically become just and
moral.  In the movie BraveHeart, you may recall the laws that were on the
books that allowed the noble to claim the right of "Prima Nocte" or "First
Night" with a bride.  Those were legitimate laws on the books.  They were
not right nor moral and yet their society lived under them.  They were
legitimate laws enforceable by law and through force if they were not
obeyed.

Just because you can accomplish something through law does not make it any
more right.  A good rule of thumb is that if you can not accomplish
something by yourself morally, it is not just nor moral for you to pass a
law to accomplish the same thing.  If I like your car and take it, it is
called stealing.  If I like your car, get together with some friends pass a
law and impound it for no other reason than we want it, it is still
stealing.

>just want to refer back to my "sociology 101" reply to this thread.
>for those of you who missed it, it goes like this:
>
>people have morals.
>people make laws.
>people make laws based on their morals.

Well, according to our Consitution and the Declaration of Independance,

>so, any kind of statement like this:
>
>"hey, what gives all you [insert social/religious/philsophical group here]
>the right to make laws just because you happen to believe in [insert moral
>code here] and the rest of us don't??"
>
>..is a silly statement.  i trust that it's silliness is self evident.  in
>case it's not, play the 'fill in the blank' game with any group or law you
>can think of, and you'll figure it out.  try "aztecs" and "human sacrifice"
>versus "christians" and "murder".  you get the picture.

A just system of laws should be able to remain the same no matter who is in
power.  The citizenry of Utah, New York, Massachusetts, the Taliban, or the
Khmer Rouge.  As long as the citizenry respects the laws and the laws do
not seek to curtail people's freedom and liberty, all these groups can
exist under the same set of laws.  The problem becomes when these groups
try to corrupt law in order to use it to take away anothers life, liberty,
or property.

>if you don't like the laws the the local/global dominant social group
>legislates, then you can change them through the legislative process, or
you
>can go somewhere else.  it's that simple.

Benjamin Franklin said :

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

 From your statement, I can assume that you do not mind being the lamb.

>different people, different morals, different laws.
>if you are part of a moral minority in your community and are outraged at
>the legislative influence of the majority, get used to it - it's the same
>everywhere.

Just because it is the same everywhere does not make it right.  If the
preponderance of the civilization were involved in ritual child murder (to
use an extreme example), the laws that permitted such actions would not be
just or moral nor should they be obeyed.  Just because the majority is
involved does not mean that the laws that permit it should exist.  (BTW:
The example I chose is not that extreme.  The Greeks and Romans on which
our civilization and legal system is based both "exposed" their children to
wild animals and abandoned them in the wilderness if they were not wanted
-- this is the basis for the story of Oedipus.)

So, should law not protect in the words of Benjamin Franklin the "lamb" ?

And again I ask : You do not mind being the lamb?

-Art




--
Art Pollard
http://www.lextek.com/
Suppliers of High Performance Text Retrieval Engines.
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