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View Diary: Legislatures Shouldn't Penalize Murder Because It's "Immoral" (16 comments)

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  •  Murder can be penalized because (2+ / 0-)
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    johnel, rigcath

    it's the premeditated and irrevocable taking of a human life with no good-enough reason. The unpunished-murder experiment has been tried throughout history, across cultures, and most cultures have decided it is not to be tolerated (unless committed by the powerful) because its social costs are overall greater than its benefits.

    Marriage equality involves no such taking, and no a priori material harm can be demonstrated as arising from it. Until we try the experiment and collect several generations of data, there is no basis from which to argue its harmfulness.

    I haven't entirely sidestepped issues of morality here, but have tried to briefly deconstruct it in a more materialistic way.

    I should think Scalia would agree with me on this mechanistic, materialistic methodology -- he having stated his belief that if the "game of justice" is played according to the rules, the outcome is perfectly acceptable to him even if it results in a death sentence for an innocent defendant.


    by raincrow on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:40:06 PM PST

    •  I was having a conversation earlier (1+ / 0-)
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      with Mr. Beagle, and the problem I have with this argument is...who gets to decide when there's a harm?  I mean, in the case of a murder, that's pretty clearly harming someone.  But what about incest, or prostitution, or even abortion?  

      Who gets to decide if there's a harm? Lots of pro-life groups believe abortion is harmful and damaging to women...I'm sure for a small minority of women that's true.  Does that small harm mean there's a reason to ban abortion?  How do we decide how much harm is "enough" to justify regulating behavior?  

      •  What would be the alternative? (0+ / 0-)

        "Who gets to decide" and "how do they decide" are always the questions.  Whatever the terms one sets on legislation, somebody has to decide when and whether those terms have been met.

        I think what I'm saying is, I'm not sure there is a possible argument to which your objection wouldn't apply.

        •  That's my point. (1+ / 0-)
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          We can't say that morality is an insufficient basis for a law because there's no way to know when a law is justified on the basis of morality and when its justified on the basis of harm.  

          •  wait, I'm not sure I follow (0+ / 0-)

            are you saying that the question of "when is something harmful" is as subjective as the question of "when is something moral"?

            Because ... I'm not sure I agree, but that's an interesting point.

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