Moral Does Not Mean Legal, And Other Issues We Need To Sort Out Before This Upcoming Election


There is a truth central to American politics.

Actually, scratch that. The concept of “truth” is far too pure for modern American politics.

There is a notion central to American politics. It is as follows: the right thinks the left is ignorant; the left thinks the right is heartless. However, the success of Donald trump’s vitriol-driven presidential campaign has cast a bright, unflattering light on the existence of a severely ignorant sect of republicans. As a young libertarian-leaning republican with liberal friends*, I have long believed that they think me/those like me heartless simply because they don’t truly understand my politics, and that if I ever bothered to calmly and logically explain my convictions, they would be able to soften their attitudes towards the right in general, if not to actually cross the aisle.

I still think this, but the disillusionment granted me by Trump and those he has enticed to vote for him has made me realize that a simple explanation of the issues and my particular views on them could serve a wider purpose than just enlightening my friends: it could help educate the vast percentage of the population that has developed the unfortunate habit of being led by their emotions instead of their brains.

I’ll start with gay marriage. I have selected this not because it’s an incredibly important issue per se, but it is heavily relevant to the times, and it’s an issue on which people tend to feel strongly.

Many in our society have begun to equate “moral” with “legal”. In a liberated nation, something I still dare hope for, these ideas must be separated.

Moral values are up to each human being to decide and define for themselves; government has absolutely zero business attempting to impose any kind of morals on any citizen.

I can already hear two different responses to this. The first is, “duh, that’s why we need the separation of church and state”. Well, yes, but religion and morals are also not synonymous. Plenty of values have their basis in a religious text, but plenty of people do not subscribe to an organized religion, and everyone still has a set of values by which they intend to live their life.

“Okay, what if i decide, like many religious extremists have, that murder is acceptable under some circumstances?” your moral values have now crossed a line, my friend. Once your execution of your values impinges on the inalienable rights of somebody else, that is when the government should by all means get involved. Examples: homicide, rape, robbery should certainly be illegal.

When this separation of morality and the law is applied to marriage, it follows that marriage between two adults of the same sex should not be prohibited by law. If these two consent to the union, and want to make it official with a big ceremony, in a church, park, or anywhere else meaningful to them-why does the government have any interest in this? As far as i’m concerned, big brother is not invited and never need know about it. Same goes for heterosexual weddings-the state has no reason to know about them, either.** There is, however, a third person that need consent to each wedding, and that is the person who officiates it. Just as no two consenting adults should be prohibited by law from marrying one another, no church or minister or other religious official should be compelled by law to perform a wedding not in line with their set of morals.

See the theme in all this? Adults can make their own decisions without being prodded in any one direction by the long arm of the law. It’s condescending to think otherwise, which is exactly what big government does: condescends.

The inclusion of moral direction in the law assumes that people are not competent to deduce right and wrong for themselves.

This is condescending in that the government is made up of exactly that-people; in fact, people who for some reason think themselves worthy to establish and enforce a moral compass for hundreds of millions of individuals. this is not their right, it is the right of each person, and if we were ever to actually be free, the rights of individuals would need to be returned to them. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog