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Old 09-09-2019, 05:19 PM
begbert2 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 13,267
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I fully agree. That's my whole point. Laws aren't based on anything objective. If they were, then our laws would just be discovered by scientists. Somebody would collect the evidence, establish that slavery, for example, is counter-productive, publish the figures, and then everyone would enact laws ending slavery. The law would work like chemistry or physics. It would be a process of revealing objective truths.

But that's not how it works. Our morality is completely subjective. And our laws reflect that.
Scientists don't come up with laws because the laws predate the scientists and the people who make the laws don't bother to ask the scientists opinions (and sometimes seem to hate science, even).

Laws get formalized because somebody wants the laws made - and only sometimes does their reason for it involve morality. In the case of murder I'm pretty confident it didn't involve morality - the practical downsides of living in a murder-filled hellhole are so amazingly obvious that if you ARE in a murder-filled hellhole you'll be actively working to create a bubble of civilization where murder (at least of you) isn't allowed. Wanting not to be murdered isn't a moral thing.

Similarly, criminalizing theft clearly had a lot less to do with theft being immoral and a lot more to do with people going all vigilante if the government isn't doing the job.

Laws only can start involving morality when the bottom two levels of Mazlow's pyramid are taken care of for the people doing the law-creation on the subject in question. Which is to say, people can only start worrying about the morality of slavery when they're not overly concerned about being enslaved themselves. Prior to that point it's not a moral issue; it's a safety and comfort issue.

Which I guess is a long way of saying that law-based morality only comes into play when you're telling other people what to do. So while some laws are based in morality, a whole lot of other ones aren't. (And that's not even mentioning stuff like traffic laws, which also aren't.)

Last edited by begbert2; 09-09-2019 at 05:20 PM. Reason: typo