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Should all laws made from gut reactions be abolished?

emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Plenty on this board want that many, if not all, of our laws to be based on solid reasoning and not popular opinion or panicked emotion. That makes a kind of sense. Laws created with strong logic in mind usually benefit society the most by being fair to citizens and they stay on the books for decades whereas laws carried by gut feelings are usually prejudiced and fizzle out after a year or two. If a bill's line of reasoning can't stand up to scrutiny, the proposed law probably wasn't a very good one in the first place.

But let's not forget laws serve the people (not the majority, the whole people) and if there are no people, there is no law. If the people want things done a certain way that is contrary to solid reasoning, should the legal process accommodate them and create laws based on what 'feels right'? If you agreed with the previous paragraph, you'd say no, emotion shouldn't be a part of law-making. But consider these three points:

1) I can't pick up a pet from the shelter, take it home, douse it in gasoline, and light it on fire. Animal cruelty laws prohibit such savage behavior. The point of the law is clear - to prevent animals from suffering - but why do we extend protections to animals? Pets are property, legally. Pets aren't citizens. Assuming I bury the charred puppy carcass properly, there's no risk of disease spreading. So what's the logic behind animal cruelty laws? Emotionally, the answer is as plain as day - torturing animals is distasteful and murdering a defenseless dog is inhuman, showing a lack of control and empathy on my part. There are laws against animal torture and dog fights because that's the way people want it.

2) I can't walk around nude in public on a warm, sunny day. The men in white coats would take me away if I tried but what's the reasoning behind the decency law? I'm not in danger of dying from exposure. I'm not harming anything or anyone with my clothing-optional lifestyle. No one can strut around nude in public because that's the way people like it.

3) Separation of Church and State. Church is a big organization. State collects taxes from big organizations but not from Church. Religious institutions enjoy a tax-exempt status (though I believe some minimum charity/community service is required - I might be wrong on that) because that's the way people feel it should be.

Abolishing all laws not based on solid reasoning means the best we could do is discourage dog fights, public nudity, and taxing churches but these things wouldn't be illegal. Is there a place in our society for laws based on 'it just feels proper'?

emnmnme on
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Posts

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited February 2010
    All laws are based on 'gut reactions' - hat tip to Mr. Hume.

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Without a set of moral axioms you wouldn't have any laws in your scenario.

    There are no laws based on pure "reasoning." You need a set of assumptions on which situations are better than others, and the reasoning entails which type of enforcement will get you your ideal situation.

    Now, I do support banning laws based on the moral axiom "what the Bible says is true."

    Ideally the fundamental axiom for a system of laws is "suffering is bad." Also, possibly, "the strong should not oppress the weak," though that can be construed as a corollary of the first in most cases."

  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    My gut says maybe.
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Abolishing all laws not based on solid reasoning means the best we could do is discourage dog fights, public nudity, and taxing churches but these things wouldn't be illegal. Is there a place in our society for laws based on 'it just feels proper'?

    False premise

    11793-1.png
    Spoiler:
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Separation of church and state and their tax exempt status is certainly not a "gut reaction". It is a well thought out plan to not only ensure religious freedom but also to keep the kind of bad things that happened with religion in Europe from happening in the US.

    It isn't because it "feels right" and to suggest so shows extreme ignorance of reality.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • ResRes __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    Animal cruelty is illegal in an overwhelmingly large part due to the fact that that it disgusts most people. But it still stands up to scrutiny: making it illegal allows us to highlight anti-social behavior. I mean there's not much difference between stabbing a dog to death, and putting an arrow or bolt or bullet through a deer's lung and watching it run a hundred meters off before it collapses and its tension pneumothorax chokes the life out of it. Except the fact that killing deer for sport is perfectly acceptable, socially, and killing stray dogs isn't. It's enforcing a taboo. The only people that are going to go through that taboo are really fucked up people that really, really want to kill stray animals. If it was socially acceptable, then, well, they would still do it, but so would a lot of other people.

    Nudity is (in certain places) and should be legal. I'm not going to rock out with my cock out but there's no reason I shouldn't be allowed to, none at all.

    As for religious organizations' tax-exempt status, this serves to prevent government from using taxes to restrict religious practices. No harm there, either.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • mrflippymrflippy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    What about public disturbance type things?

    Should I be able to call the cops on the annoying college kids who are having a party and blaring loud music and keeping me up at 3am when I really need to sleep because I have work in the morning?


    Edit: Public nudity could also be considered a public disturbance too I suppose.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Res wrote: »
    Animal cruelty is illegal in an overwhelmingly large part due to the fact that that it disgusts most people. But it still stands up to scrutiny: making it illegal allows us to highlight anti-social behavior. I mean there's not much difference between stabbing a dog to death, and putting an arrow or bolt or bullet through a deer's lung and watching it run a hundred meters off before it collapses and its tension pneumothorax chokes the life out of it. Except the fact that killing deer for sport is perfectly acceptable, socially, and killing stray dogs isn't. It's enforcing a taboo. The only people that are going to go through that taboo are really fucked up people that really, really want to kill stray animals. If it was socially acceptable, then, well, they would still do it, but so would a lot of other people.

    I'd say there actually is quite a bit of difference between your two scenarios.
    Most sport hunters also then eat the deer they kill. They also don't intend to make it suffer.

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Without a set of moral axioms you wouldn't have any laws in your scenario.

    There are no laws based on pure "reasoning." You need a set of assumptions on which situations are better than others, and the reasoning entails which type of enforcement will get you your ideal situation.

    Now, I do support banning laws based on the moral axiom "what the Bible says is true."

    Ideally the fundamental axiom for a system of laws is "suffering is bad." Also, possibly, "the strong should not oppress the weak," though that can be construed as a corollary of the first in most cases."

    Yeah, basically this.

    Core values - freedom, comfort, security, happiness - are largely emotional and arational. I use the word "arational" to imply that they are outside of rational thought, not necessarily contrary to it.

    We can use rational thought and empirical evidence to work out which values are dependent upon others, thereby determining which values are most important. We can use thought and evidence to work out the best way of maximizing these values and do our best to guarantee that our efforts today will not backfire later on.

    But peel back enough layers and you eventually get to a set of values that we old dear because of feelings.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    mrflippy wrote: »
    Edit: Public nudity could also be considered a public disturbance too I suppose.

    This is exactly how the law is structured in the UK. Situations where someone there is a sexual motive are covered under different laws (sexual assault, IIRC), but public nudity isn't illegal, it only becomes illegal if it is deemed to be a breach of the peace, which requires someone to complain.

    On topic, There are a group of former civil servants in the UK that have been making noises about exactly the issue the OP raises: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8481943.stm
    In particular it has been noted that the sheer volume of new legislation passed under the current administration is massive compared to previous governments.

  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Res wrote: »
    Animal cruelty is illegal in an overwhelmingly large part due to the fact that that it disgusts most people. But it still stands up to scrutiny: making it illegal allows us to highlight anti-social behavior. I mean there's not much difference between stabbing a dog to death, and putting an arrow or bolt or bullet through a deer's lung and watching it run a hundred meters off before it collapses and its tension pneumothorax chokes the life out of it. Except the fact that killing deer for sport is perfectly acceptable, socially, and killing stray dogs isn't. It's enforcing a taboo. The only people that are going to go through that taboo are really fucked up people that really, really want to kill stray animals. If it was socially acceptable, then, well, they would still do it, but so would a lot of other people.

    I'd say there actually is quite a bit of difference between your two scenarios.
    Most sport hunters also then eat the deer they kill. They also don't intend to make it suffer.

    Let me get this straight: I can go to the pound, pick up a dog, bring it home, set it loose in the backyard and shoot it as long as I,

    a) eat the dog afterwards
    and
    b) kill the dog quickly

    That's legal? 'Cause if so, hot dog!

    Point I'm trying to illustrate, it doesn't matter if sport hunters eat and kill quickly. The point being made in the original quote is that killing dogs (pets) is a social taboo, and hunting deer is not. One requires a person to break a social taboo while the other doesn't.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I'm not certain a person could be convicted under animal cruelty laws for humanely killing and eating a dog.

    At least, I can see how a credible case could be built were any prosecution to result, and I wouldn't expect such a case to be prosecuted, depending on the wording of the laws in question.

  • bluefoxicybluefoxicy Registered User
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    3) Separation of Church and State. Church is a big organization. State collects taxes from big organizations but not from Church. Religious institutions enjoy a tax-exempt status (though I believe some minimum charity/community service is required - I might be wrong on that) because that's the way people feel it should be.

    There's no such thing as "separation of church and state" per se; you're looking for the first amendment, which dictates that "Congress shall pass no law restricting... the free practice of religion..." Passing tax law that restricts churches from operating would fall vaguely under this. I believe that churches must also qualify as an NPO -- they can't turn a huge ass profit, they have to qualify as an NPO charitable organization.

    That said, you're pretty much head on here. We have decency-driven laws because issues must be addressed, but they're all based on fuzzy concepts of civilization.

    Let's assume we don't have animal rights. This seems proper to me; animals have no rights. That being said, I'm sympathetic to the general idea that you shouldn't be horribly mistreating animals. Moreover, our society would develop much differently if we didn't actively discourage immoral and savage practices.

    Think about this: If we didn't discourage drug use, everyone would smoke pot and possibly use cocaine or heroin, in a more controlled but still destructive manner, and still erode society's ability to function. In the past, we entertained ourselves by watching human beings be put to death by hanging, and prior to that by gladiator fights (big guy with a sword killing little guy) and feeding to lions.

    Do you think it's a stretch for us to raise an entire society on the national past time of torturing animals? Do you think the behavior would be isolated? Less of a problem than universal use of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or even alcohol?

    On the other hand, we have a lot of fast-reaction laws where we've decided we need to protect ourselves from witches, terrorists, and pedophiles. We have laws against holding "obscene" material; pornography, possibly, but not obscene pornography. One case involved a picture of a woman naked painted like a cow on her hands and knees... this might be illegal, because it's obscene. We have the Cyberbullying laws now too. We have the entirely ineffective COPA, which has been deemed illegal itself.

    All of these laws form at a finger-snap to react to an immediate issue, not a developed issue over time. This is not something PETA lobbied for for a decade, which we've enjoyed for decades, and then one day decided we need to sit down and examine ourselves as a people and decide if we really want to continue this way. We woke up one day and said, shit, liquid explosives! Ban water from planes! (okay that's not a law but you get the point)

    Some of our "warm and fuzzy" laws are functional. Some are non-functional (COPA). Still, there are those that are reflexive, poorly-conceived reaction to a problem that just made itself known last week, and already had a bill written up 2 days later. There are also those that continue along the line of flawed thinking, because that is the norm; they take a partially implemented policy and implement it further as times change, to catch up. Eventually we find out society or technology loses its momentum but the laws don't.

    What you're trying to discuss here is a very, very difficult problem. We're again dealing with people, not machines; I can optimize it but you won't entirely enjoy it.

    People call me Wood Man, 'cause I always got wood.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    mrflippy wrote: »
    Edit: Public nudity could also be considered a public disturbance too I suppose.

    Loud music keeping you awake is disturbing but casually walking down Main Street in your Birthday suit isn't preventing other people from doing their thing.

    EDIT: Here's another one. If I spray graffiti on my neighbor's fence, it's petty vandalism. Seriously vandalizing another person's property causing destruction and need of major repairs is a felony. I think there's a dollar amount in damages you need to cross to get into Felony Town. However, grave robbery is also a felony though it doesn't have that dollar amount attached. If I dug up your dear old great aunt Flo and used her corpse in my life-sized marionette play, I'd be looking at three years in prison. No real harm is done so why is the penalty so harsh? Because that's the way people enjoy it.

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  • bluefoxicybluefoxicy Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    Core values - freedom, comfort, security, happiness - are largely emotional and arational. I use the word "arational" to imply that they are outside of rational thought, not necessarily contrary to it.

    We can use rational thought and empirical evidence to work out which values are dependent upon others, thereby determining which values are most important. We can use thought and evidence to work out the best way of maximizing these values and do our best to guarantee that our efforts today will not backfire later on.

    But peel back enough layers and you eventually get to a set of values that we old dear because of feelings.

    Logically communism is best, with a benevolent dictator.

    No, not really. Logically, given no restrictions, communism with a benevolent dictator is best if and only if every single person is going to cooperate as per our model.

    When we change the model of individuals and use that to model society, we find something very, very different. It's the difference between my stance that everyone should be armed, trained to use firearms, trained to use and defend against lesser weapons (a staff, a sectional staff, knife, sword), and trained for hand to hand; and the other (possibly more popular? I can't tell) argument that we should take all that away from people and teach them to avoid all violence to improve public safety.

    In my model, I assume that you can't remove all firearms. I also assume that the nature of bad people is that they will find easier targets; make everyone an easy target and more people willing to take less risk will find the barrier to entry into the criminal world amiable. My solution, of course, is to structure society such that most people can and will kick your ass if you give them a reason to. Teach people that they should step in and defend others if they can, not cower back and wait for help (I was taught to never intervene myself, find an authority figure instead).

    Now you have a situation where the risk of attacking, robbing, or raping someone is high-- high likelihood of being caught, and people are very much willing to use threats of violence and carry them out if you make them. Yes, if you continue to threaten someone at knife point, the first time you lose your footing and back the knife away I am going to be where you are, breaking bones on your body that you need to have in one piece to continue threatening anyone's safety.

    In the other model, we assume that we can reasonably remove enough firearms AND that other weapons are ineffective enough for this to make a difference AND that people will call or somehow summon the police AND that the police will arrive fast enough to 'catch the bad guy" (this is the barrier to entry; we don't need to protect the victim) to offset the fact that we can't effectively remove all weapons. We also disincline people from being violent.

    Now you have a situation where obtaining a gun is difficult and risky. You're also not so hot on being violent. You're also pretty sure the police will catch you if you actually murder someone. Hopefully, overall incidents will decrease and society will improve.

    For obvious reasons, I prefer the first model to the second; besides that I think the second model is flawed (the risk isn't driven up enough versus my model), I feel a society of people with some backbone and will to stand up for what they feel is right is far more civilized than a society of cowards. This in itself is not a logical decision (well, the first half is; honor and valor and whatever are just bullshit).

    Our entire society is based on things like this. In reality, people will fall into three classes: the rich and powerful, the middle class, and the poor. We repeatedly attempt to bring the poor up to a survivable level, but the fact is that once people are comfortable they will stay there; if we make it comfortable to be poor, such that you always have food, water, a shower, but no luxuries, then why not be poor? Social life is a pretty decent luxury, as is sex.

    Still, this shows us something important: People don't want to be scared. They don't want to be out freezing on the street, wondering how they're going to get food. They want to have sex, yes. They want to be happy. If most people are not happy, they will band together under leadership that promises to make at least most of them happy. If your entire country is a body of abused serfs under a handful of rich noblemen, eventually the serfs will form their own government and then quickly behead all the noblemen.

    That's the easy part. The hard part is, as above, figuring out things like gun control, terrorism laws, drug and alcohol laws, etc. I favor Britain's alcohol laws (parent can buy you drinks when you're 14; you can buy beer at 16; buy liquor at 18) because it avoids the shocking introduction of infinite access to alcohol when you turn 21 (remember when you realized you could cook bacon whenever you want, or just buy candy or icing and eat it out of the tube? And you got sick that week? Yeah it's like that).

    Mind you I'm admittedly also more interested in sexually-driven societies like Greece. This isn't because of optimization or logical analysis; I just find sexuality fascinating. I don't even have sex much, and when I do I don't really enjoy it much on a personal level. So my opinions are not perfect logical analysis; I may talk as if they are, and cover both sides of an argument in a very structured way, but I have my attachments.

    People call me Wood Man, 'cause I always got wood.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    mrflippy wrote: »
    Edit: Public nudity could also be considered a public disturbance too I suppose.

    Loud music keeping you awake is disturbing but casually walking down Main Street in your Birthday suit isn't preventing other people from doing their thing.
    If it's causing enough of a distraction that people have trouble driving, it's a nuisance to the point we can legally address it.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • IaculusIaculus Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Ban laws based on gut reactions? No, thanks.

    I'd like to keep food safety right where it is.

  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    We should certainly at least ban laws from being tagged with people's names, or anything other than something simply descriptive (and perhaps even that).

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    mrflippy wrote: »
    Edit: Public nudity could also be considered a public disturbance too I suppose.

    Loud music keeping you awake is disturbing but casually walking down Main Street in your Birthday suit isn't preventing other people from doing their thing.
    If it's causing enough of a distraction that people have trouble driving, it's a nuisance to the point we can legally address it.

    Would it be a stretch to say anything could be a disturbance if it ticks people off. A Black man and a White woman walking down the sidewalk holding hands would distract drivers in Racist Land and cause a disturbance.

    I also remember reading about how the SCOTUS couldn't ban pornographic movies from playing at drive-in theaters even though the screen could be seen from public highways. Their advice was for drivers to look away.

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  • TalleyrandTalleyrand Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Maybe, but we should definitely repeal all blue laws immediately

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Torturing and murdering animals is a warning sign of much more sociopathic behavior

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I suppose a corollary to this is that the law frequently doesn't work the way that people instinctively think it does.

    Witness the frequency with which the media bemoans an acquittal "on a technicality", with the relative significance of various aspects of the applicable law apparently gauged by whether or not the public think the person in question is guilty.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Torturing and murdering animals is a warning sign of much more sociopathic behavior

    Bull fights. The old style where they spear the bull twenty times and then stab in through the brain. Are the people who attend bull fights showing warning signs of being sociopaths?

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  • ResRes __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Res wrote: »
    Animal cruelty is illegal in an overwhelmingly large part due to the fact that that it disgusts most people. But it still stands up to scrutiny: making it illegal allows us to highlight anti-social behavior. I mean there's not much difference between stabbing a dog to death, and putting an arrow or bolt or bullet through a deer's lung and watching it run a hundred meters off before it collapses and its tension pneumothorax chokes the life out of it. Except the fact that killing deer for sport is perfectly acceptable, socially, and killing stray dogs isn't. It's enforcing a taboo. The only people that are going to go through that taboo are really fucked up people that really, really want to kill stray animals. If it was socially acceptable, then, well, they would still do it, but so would a lot of other people.

    I'd say there actually is quite a bit of difference between your two scenarios.
    Most sport hunters also then eat the deer they kill. They also don't intend to make it suffer.

    Let me get this straight: I can go to the pound, pick up a dog, bring it home, set it loose in the backyard and shoot it as long as I,

    a) eat the dog afterwards
    and
    b) kill the dog quickly

    That's legal? 'Cause if so, hot dog!

    Point I'm trying to illustrate, it doesn't matter if sport hunters eat and kill quickly. The point being made in the original quote is that killing dogs (pets) is a social taboo, and hunting deer is not. One requires a person to break a social taboo while the other doesn't.

    Yes, that is what I was getting at. I was not intending to imply that hunters are sadists.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ResRes __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Torturing and murdering animals is a warning sign of much more sociopathic behavior

    Bull fights. The old style where they spear the bull twenty times and then stab in through the brain. Are the people who attend bull fights showing warning signs of being sociopaths?

    No. The "rules" of human behavior change completely in large crowds. People will do things under the cover of, say, a riot, than they ever would on their own.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • MrMisterMrMister 7 cards in hand Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    There are no laws based on pure "reasoning."

    KANT ATTACK

    KANT ATTACK

    Valuing scholarship above all else, the inhabitants of the Ivory Tower reward those who sacrifice power for knowledge.
  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited February 2010
    MrMister wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    There are no laws based on pure "reasoning."

    KANT ATTACK

    KANT ATTACK

    I want to say that was Sublime, but I Kant.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Qingu sez there are no god-given, self-evident, inherent rules for civilized men. Nothing is tattooed on your thigh when you're born and nothing is guaranteed. There are no laws that are universally held as 'right'. That is, laws all cultures arrive at through independent thinking/trial-and-error.

    I say nay!

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  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yawn. False dichotomy: the only two possible human reactions are not "gut reaction" and "pure mechanistic reason".

    By the way, there are plenty of places where you can walk around nude on a warm, sunny day without fear of arrest. Perhaps you should move to one of them?

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  • King RiptorKing Riptor Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    mythago wrote: »
    Yawn. False dichotomy: the only two possible human reactions are not "gut reaction" and "pure mechanistic reason".

    By the way, there are plenty of places where you can walk around nude on a warm, sunny day without fear of arrest. Perhaps you should move to one of them?

    Nobody wins in that scenario.

  • override367override367 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I'd be more or less happy if we could make drug use not a crime, but something you get treatment for (although making healthcare public might help first...), nuke our sex offendor laws and start over (distinguish between drunken sidewalk peeing with a child somewhere within 6 miles and molesting your nephew, for starters), and get rid of most existing decency laws/FCC power to stop boobies (for more reasons than just me liking boobies)

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  • AtomikaAtomika (citation needed)Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I for one would like an end to penalization based on precedent.

  • King RiptorKing Riptor Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I'd be more or less happy if we could make drug use not a crime, but something you get treatment for (although making healthcare public might help first...), nuke our sex offendor laws and start over (distinguish between drunken sidewalk peeing with a child somewhere within 6 miles and molesting your nephew, for starters), and get rid of most existing decency laws/FCC power to stop boobies (for more reasons than just me liking boobies)

    Sex offender laws do need to be fixed. There's literally no way to bring that up and not ruin your political career though.

  • AtomikaAtomika (citation needed)Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Personally I don't see how the FCC isn't a direct contradiction of 1st amendment rights.

  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I see no problem with any law passed as a "gut-reaction" provided that it accomplishes the same goal as one passed through "careful reasoning." How a law came into being is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned, really it's the character of the law itself that I find to be at issue.

    Laws that encourage human flourishing are good

    Laws that don't, suck ass

    Go go gadget Virtue Government!!

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Neitzsche
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    mythago wrote: »
    Yawn. False dichotomy: the only two possible human reactions are not "gut reaction" and "pure mechanistic reason".

    By the way, there are plenty of places where you can walk around nude on a warm, sunny day without fear of arrest. Perhaps you should move to one of them?

    Silly goose, I know it's a false dichotomy. The exaggeration is meant to highlight there are laws made without logic entirely. Most laws can be justified by reason, a few can't. So I agree not to try to kill you and you agree not to try to kill me and we make the government enforce the agreement so we get more accomplished at the end of the day. Ta da! Murder is illegal for a good, emotion-free reason. Murder is also monstrous and emotionally distressing so we keep it illegal by choice, too.

    EDIT:
    ... it's the character of the law itself that I find to be at issue.

    The hell? Can you explain this because it sounds like, to me, you're saying good intentions make good laws.

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  • AdrienAdrien Registered User
    edited February 2010
    MrMister wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    There are no laws based on pure "reasoning" that isn't bullshit.

    KANT ATTACK

    KANT ATTACK

    Fixed that there.

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  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Plenty on this board want that many, if not all, of our laws to be based on solid reasoning and not popular opinion or panicked emotion. That makes a kind of sense. Laws created with strong logic in mind usually benefit society the most by being fair to citizens and they stay on the books for decades whereas laws carried by gut feelings are usually prejudiced and fizzle out after a year or two. If a bill's line of reasoning can't stand up to scrutiny, the proposed law probably wasn't a very good one in the first place.

    But let's not forget laws serve the people (not the majority, the whole people) and if there are no people, there is no law. If the people want things done a certain way that is contrary to solid reasoning, should the legal process accommodate them and create laws based on what 'feels right'? If you agreed with the previous paragraph, you'd say no, emotion shouldn't be a part of law-making. But consider these three points:

    1) I can't pick up a pet from the shelter, take it home, douse it in gasoline, and light it on fire. Animal cruelty laws prohibit such savage behavior. The point of the law is clear - to prevent animals from suffering - but why do we extend protections to animals? Pets are property, legally. Pets aren't citizens. Assuming I bury the charred puppy carcass properly, there's no risk of disease spreading. So what's the logic behind animal cruelty laws? Emotionally, the answer is as plain as day - torturing animals is distasteful and murdering a defenseless dog is inhuman, showing a lack of control and empathy on my part. There are laws against animal torture and dog fights because that's the way people want it.

    2) I can't walk around nude in public on a warm, sunny day. The men in white coats would take me away if I tried but what's the reasoning behind the decency law? I'm not in danger of dying from exposure. I'm not harming anything or anyone with my clothing-optional lifestyle. No one can strut around nude in public because that's the way people like it.

    3) Separation of Church and State. Church is a big organization. State collects taxes from big organizations but not from Church. Religious institutions enjoy a tax-exempt status (though I believe some minimum charity/community service is required - I might be wrong on that) because that's the way people feel it should be.

    Abolishing all laws not based on solid reasoning means the best we could do is discourage dog fights, public nudity, and taxing churches but these things wouldn't be illegal. Is there a place in our society for laws based on 'it just feels proper'?

    laws can have logic behind them even if there isn't an immediate danger. the laws that you've brought up here DO serve purposes, they are just purposes that are harder to see if you're looking for instant gratification.

    1) cruelty to animals desensitizes a person to cruelty in general. We don't want that in our society

    2) there are very few reasons why you would NEED to be nude in public, so making this illegal prevents sexual assault to some degree with minimal societal cost. Beyodn that, we as a species have evolved to the point where we really NEED clothing in many climates, so requiring clothing in public is also for your own protection, so that you do not die of exposure.

    3) giving churches tax-free status makes perfect sense so long as the church is operating not-for profit. There are plenty of other not-for-profit organizations out there that have nothing to do with religion.

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  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    haha wait

    I like that "separation of church and state" is a "gut reaction".

    Like there wasn't much in the way of thinking of discussion they were all "ewwwww can you imagine a steeple all up in our congressional dome? EWWWWWWWW!"

  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Qingu sez there are no god-given, self-evident, inherent rules for civilized men. Nothing is tattooed on your thigh when you're born and nothing is guaranteed. There are no laws that are universally held as 'right'. That is, laws all cultures arrive at through independent thinking/trial-and-error.

    I say nay!
    I don't see how they have to be mutually exclusive.

    I define morals as "rules governing animal behavior"; laws are morals which are enforced. Humans are animals. Like any other animals, certain behaviors increase our fitness on an individual level, or on a social group level, or both.

    For any given society, there is probably a set of morals and/or laws that result in the optimal "fitness" by whatever standard you want to use to define it. This set of morals can be discovered through reasoning. The catch is figuring out what standard you want to use. This too can be negotiated through reasoning. I think the standard "whatever causes the least amount of suffering" seems the most reasonable.

    However, on a macro-scale, morals and laws clearly evolve based on fitness within changing social and technological environments. Slavery fell out of fashion, not uncoincidentally, around the same time industrialization rendered slave-based economies obsolete. Women suffrage gained traction as new technologies enabled women to enter the workforce.

    Also, I am uncomfortable with the idea that there is a set of unchanging ideal morals devised through reasoning. Because as society changes, what constitutes "fitness"—even by the same standard—changes. A society where birth control and abortion are available is different from a society where it hasn't been invented yet; ideal morals based on the rational standard of "avoiding suffering" will be different. Likewise for a digital society with little scarcity and a physical society with lots of scarcity. The ideal morals for governing an internet message board are different from the ideal morals governing a tribe in Afghanistan.

  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    haha wait

    I like that "separation of church and state" is a "gut reaction".

    Like there wasn't much in the way of thinking of discussion they were all "ewwwww can you imagine a steeple all up in our congressional dome? EWWWWWWWW!"

    I also like that seperation of church and state apparently just boils down to "church don't pay taxes", but whatevs. I am just responding to the points in front of me.

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