Are laws about morality or a moral judgment? When it comes to same-sex marriage, we heard the expression that it’s not right for the government to tell two people in love that they can’t get married and its none of the government’s business to dictate morality. You might be reading this and might agree with that statement. Now, this article isn’t about a debate on whether same-sex marriage should be legal or not. I am using same-sex marriage as a way to show you that all laws are about moral judgments.
Therefore, let us first begin with the “two people in love” part of our argument. Do two people have to be in love? There are couples in this country that have had arranged marriages. Indian, Islamic cultures and other Asian cultures still practice arranged marriages. Even in the western world, you have the famously known mail ordered, Russian bride. Now I am assuming you won’t make it illegal for people to have to prove that they are in love to get married. The argument for love in same-sex marriage was only used as an emotional plea to win people over; it wasn’t about love. Why wasn’t it about love; I’ll show you.
First, why does marriage have to be between two individuals? You might have a situation where three of four people love each other and want to get married. Should they be allowed to marry? You might say, “of course they should. It’s none of the government’s business if consenting adults want to marry.” Again, you might be right but is it truly about love?
What happens if you have two people that are in love with each other and one person is sixty, and the other person is seventeen? In America that would be illegal for the most part because you are not considered a legal consenting adult until you are eighteen. Why eighteen years old? It is entirely arbitrary on our part to say you are a legal adult at the age of eighteen. Seventeen might be okay for some but how about places like the United Kingdom where the age of sexual consent is sixteen years old? Still fine with that. How about Quebec where the legal age of consent is fourteen years old? At this point, most people begin to say wait that is just way too young. I might be okay with even sixteen but fourteen is just pushing it. Some think even younger than fourteen is fine. Who are we to judge and discriminate against love?
You see the point isn’t about love it is about making a moral judgment about what is right or wrong. What we believe in society as the moral standard of society is what guides our laws.
Let’s get away from polygamy, polyandry, and legal age of consent and go with two adults that happen to be both legal consenting adults. The argument has been that government shouldn’t make laws against this and it’s none of their business, and they shouldn’t dictate morality.
So how do you feel about incest? If a mother and son or a brother and sister that love each other and want to get married why shouldn’t they be allowed? You might say that is wrong and disgusting. If it’s wrong and disgusting aren’t you just imposing your morality on a loving incestual relationship and therefore aren’t you just a close minded bigot?
Just like the age of consent, you need to explain why. With age of consent, it might be a medical argument on when the body is physically mature enough to engage in sex. With incest, some might argue that it shouldn’t be allowed because there is high-risk of congenital disabilities? If this is the case, should we make it illegal for people with physical and mental disabilities or genetic defects from getting married and having children? If so then to what degree?
If it’s all about genetics and birth-defects why not allow a father and son or a mother and daughter to get married? They have no possible way of producing offspring, and they are both consenting adults that are in love. Shouldn’t this be legally allowed?
You see the entire point of this exercise was to illustrate that all laws are about making a moral judgment. Everyone one has a worldview, and that guides a person’s moral compass. Let’s take abortion for instance. Let’s say a woman that is pregnant is driving to a Planned Parenthood facility to have an abortion. Right before she pulls into the facility, she is struck by a drunk driver and killed along with the baby. In California, my home State, a State completely dominated by militant pro-choice Democrats passed a law which would prosecute the drunk driver with two counts of murder. Now, it’s not murder for the pregnant woman to kill the child, but it is murder when the drunk driver kills the child.
It seems logical and inconsistent. Same with most people that state they are pro-life. They believe that abortion is murder except when it comes to rape and incest. Now in the rape case, you might argue that it wasn’t consensual sex. Therefore, that is okay, because somehow the baby in the womb ceases to be a life. What if the incest relationship was consensual would that be murder? Would it be more logical to say that since most people don’t believe a woman should have to carry a baby to term in the case of rape or incest, that most people are pro-choice with differing exceptions, and it isn’t about when life begins?
The question of when it’s a life and when isn’t it isn’t important for most people. Most people are against late-term abortions but seem not to think it’s life in the first trimester, except of course if a drunk driver kills the child.
You see, all laws are about making a moral judgment. As a society, we all have differing worldviews with many similarities. Those similarities which typically become the majority view in society end up becoming the laws of the land. Like in California, marijuana is okay, but crack cocaine isn’t. Porn actors engaging in sex for money is acceptable, but prostitution isn’t. Parental consent to teach sex education in school but none needed for an abortion.
Like it or not, all laws are about making moral judgments on what is and isn’t acceptable in society. You cannot divorce morality from laws. It’s impossible. Our laws are a reflection of society’s moral compass, and our moral compass comes from our worldview. Simply put, our worldview is the lens on how we see the world and engage it. It determines what we believe and what we find acceptable and what we reject.
Therefore, if you want to reshape society and culture, you must win the worldview argument. Those who control the worldview of society are those who control society. The battle of ideas is fought and won on the field of worldviews. When you cease to fight and take the premise of your opponent’s worldview you have already lost. All you are doing is negotiating the terms of surrender.
Therefore, if we are to resurrect the conservative movement in America, we must re-engage on winning the worldview argument. If and only then will we have a chance of winning and conserving the principles we hold dear.