Passing laws that tell people what they can or cannot do. Examples: laws against public nudity, gun control, age of consent, drinking age, drug laws, voluntary euthanasia legislaton, and many, many others.

The underlying idea here is that the government should 'watch out' for it's citizens by making dangerous and/or immoral things illegal. Or, at least, what the majority of the country considers to be dangerous and immoral. Basically, the majority dictates what is and what is not allowed.

This is not the way America is set up. At least, that's not how it's supposed to be, as Jefferson and all the others signed it. As it's supposed to be, the Constitution and Bill of Rights simply outline certain rights humans have claim to. Namely, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The government is then supposed to enact laws that prevent citizens from infringing on the rights of other citizens, and punish those that choose to do so.

At no point is it said that the government is supposed to tell the citizens how to live, or how not to live. The whole idea behind the American government is that it is possible for a government to exist that doesn't get in the way of it's citizens, doesn't tell people how to live. Make no laws in respect to religion, that type of thing. Government is simply supposed to be a framework that allows human beings to exist side by side and to protect the rights of each individual citizen.

Is it the government's place to say whether two men or women may be married? Absolutely not. Define marriage? Do you really want the government doing that?

Is it the government's place to say whether a man can choose to end his own life? No. To deny his right to death is to deny his right to life. They are one and the same. It is a choice of free will, to end one's life, and it endangers no one's rights.

There's thousands of other places where the government oversteps it's bounds. For example, there's no legal basis in the concept of 'income tax'. When it was first passed, the government really thought that they were needed, so they ignored the legality of it. It still passed by only a thin margin. We are just so used to them now that we don't even consider it.

Morality must not be legislated. The only moral value that this country should legislate is the right of each person to choose and live their own life, as they see fit. Anyone who pretends to be a friend of democracy and liberty and the Constitution should be able to see this.

(legislating morality is ) Passing laws that tell people what they can or cannot do.

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure you will), but don't all laws tell people what they can or cannot do? A law that doesn't tell anyone to do or not do anything is a waste of paper.

So, I guess the real question should be, what laws legislate morality, and what laws do not?

The government is then supposed to enact laws that prevent citizens from infringing on the rights of other citizens, and punish those that choose to do so.

That sounds fair to me. But what sorts of activities could infringe upon the rights of other citizens?

laws against public nudity, gun control, age of consent, drinking age, drug laws, voluntary euthanasia legislaton

You're right. A lot of the above examples do seem to have no bearing on any other individual, and I would agree with you in saying that they are probably an example of the government overstepping its bounds. However, what is the purpose of gun control if not to prevent me from shooting you? Age of consent laws prevent adults from manipulating and sexually exploiting vulnerable adolescents. Although I believe each person should be allowed to choose his or her time of death, voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are a slippery slope that could lead to doctors and family members pressuring the terminally ill to die faster.

Personal freedom is a very important and valuable thing. But when you enter into a social contract, you accept the some limitations in return for all the benefits awarded to you as a member of society.

The expression legislating morality is commonly used in the United States by libertarians, social liberals, and others who oppose sectarian, authoritarian, and/or unjust laws. The argument is that "morality" is private, and that government has no business "legislating morality". However, this has never been a particularly useful or productive piece of rhetoric, for one simple reason:

To legislate is to legislate morality.

Every act of legislation — in particular, every act of legislation which deals with crime or tort — addresses moral matters. Consider a law which states that murder shall be punished with life imprisonment in the state penitentiary. This law condemns murder as an act worthy of punishment. It also states moral acceptance of the act of imprisonment, and the state as the agent of punishment. These are not morally neutral claims, and (other than the first) they are not without significant controversy in history and in modern society.

Nevertheless, many libertarian and liberal Americans do not think of a law against murder as "legislating morality". Rather, we use the expression to refer to laws against things like recreational drug use, homosexuality, heresy, or nudityvictimless acts our authoritarian opposition regards as immoral. We use this expression because we do not consider these things immoral — or (in some cases) because we consider the use of government violence more immoral.

Morality refers to the standards by which members of a society judge the conduct of other members of that society. In a democratic society, everyone participates in the creation and promulgation of moral standards. To put it bluntly: Morality is not the exclusive purview of conservatives and authoritarians. If liberals and libertarians wish to oppose the writing of authoritarian moral standpoints into law, we need to quit sounding like we oppose "morality", and start pointing out why authoritarianism and the prosecution of victimless crimes — not homosexual sex or marijuana smoking — are immoral.

In order to truly see what legislating morality is all about, you have to take a look back to the founding of the USA. The writing of the constitution was heavily influenced by John Locke, who was also a supporter of natural rights and Social Contract Theory.

Social Contract Theory is a theory that tries to explain the origin of government. Essentially, it states that small human tribes created rules that assured group survival. You gave up the right to murder, in exchange for everyone else giving up the right to murder, thus increasing your own chances of surviving as well as the group's.

Now, if people had continued to follow the original system Social Contract Theory put in place, there would be no such thing as legislating morality. Legislating morality is when you begin to go beyond protecting the safety of one another and sacrificing rights, and move into the grey area of taking rights away for reasons that don't directly affect the tribe's survival (I say taking away because there's no way you could get the entire tribe to agree on a set of moral values). That my friends, is legislating morality.

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