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Morals and the government

write a one page double spaced response to the following discussion.

I believe that it is important that the laws reflect moral ideals that are present among humanity. If people were to avoid considering the moral obligations when considering implementing a new law, wouldn’t this cause significant harm among society? I believe that at least some moral values must intertwine with the aspects of our legal system. I think that this is also important as it is clear that our society and societal norms are constantly changing, and therefore our laws must reflect and adapt to these changes. It is clear that our morals are developing as these changes continue. However, I am wondering how difficult this could be considering the wide range of morals that differ from person to person. I would like to think that the general consensus of moral laws is agreeable in regards to what is considered right and wrong. For example, I believe that it is morally wrong to steal, and that laws reflect this. I do not see why these two aspects, morality and law, should be distinct. In my opinion, I believe that it would be more of an effort to create a significant distinction between the two rather than admitting to a complementary relationship between law and morals.

Similarly, I believe that it is important that elected officials, like legislators and judges, address the moral beliefs of the country and use this analysis in order to create laws that cater more specifically to society. I think that by noting significant moral views, law would be more applicable to the public in the sense that the motivations of the law would be understood. I believe that police officers are different though because they are not elected officials. I believe that a police officer’s duty is to enforce the law as it is written, and not to contest it based on personal beliefs. However, I am aware that moral ideals are delicate and unique to each person and therefore this could become difficult. I think that even by adapting the overwhelming consensus of the public that there would still be groups who have different morals that would not be pleased. For example, racism is a topic that has been heavily addressed in the legal system throughout the past few hundred years. I believe that we are at a point in society where most people truly believe in equality among all people, unrelated to one’s race, gender, sexuality, etc.. I think most people would agree that it is morally right to have the law reflect that all people should be treated equally and have equal rights. Overall, I think it is important that when considering the influence that morality has on law making, that the overwhelming majority of the population reflects these morals,

  • Manage Discussion Entry

    Thanks for the post, Colleen. The way you phrased your discussion brought the following scenario to my mind, and I’d like to know what you think. Picture the situation of a morally ambitious lawmaker (be they a legislator or a judge). This lawmaker believes that all persons have equal dignity and should be treated equally under the law. What is this lawmaker (and thus, we could say, the law itself) morally obligated to do? Should the lawmaker try to use the law push society towards a moral condition that it does not already generally recognize as correct, or should the lawmaker try to appeal to the moral views of people directly, hoping to persuade them to accept a different vision of what is good, in the hopes that once hearts change laws will too? One could, for instance, think of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education (1954)–in the eyes of some, this was the Court pushing its view of morality upon people who did not accept that moral vision as correct. In your view, should law lead the way to a more fully moral society, or is it better for law to record and formalize the moral evolution that society has already gone through up to that point?

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