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Old 06-03-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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Where should a persons freedom end by the legislation of a law to decide for them?

As was discussed in another thread on how both left and right of our political spectrum attempt to legislate various social and moral issues into laws. I see this pretty clearly but I asked myself, just where should a line be drawn between ones personal freedom to choose and the enactment of law to make this choice for the people. Please note, this thread isn't meant to discuss the specific examples listed but only to use them as an example in a more general premise.

I'll list some examples that are controversial but I feel are far reaching in their greater implications.

Bans on smoking in public, most notably eating establishments. The right to or denial of employ , rent, do business with people based upon any reason, including race, gender, religion. Hate based laws, gun ownership, self termination of life, drugs, etc... just to name a few.

If a person wishes to rent to only blacks or women, if a person only wishes to hire Muslims or Jews, if a person wishes to form a racial, gender or religious group that is inclusive to only those of similar mind, then why not? (government and public service excluded)

We understandably have laws meant to protect individuals safety and rightly so. (murder, assault, etc...) but outside of the incitement of violence, why shouldn't people be allowed to make these choices?

Hypothetical: I may be morally opposed to homosexuality or abortion based on religious beliefs, but shouldn't people have the right to marry any consenting adult they wish or be allowed the right to make the choice if they wish to carry a baby to term?

If a person wishes to smoke pot or snort cocaine, why shouldn't a person have the right to make this choice themselves? After all we have numerous laws to prevent public intoxication on behalf of public safety and if the argument is higher medical cost, this can easily be corrected via higher premiums for those who choose a less healthy lifestyle.

Point of the overall is not about any of these specific issues per say, but more to the political and social philosophical question of where should a persons right to choose things such as these end and a law making these decisions for them begin. Do you feel it is even possible that the general public is capable of making such decisions for themselves or do people require a law to tell them how to act responsibly?

Last edited by TnHilltopper; 06-03-2009 at 06:12 PM..
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Irvine, CA to Keller, TX
4,830 posts, read 6,547,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post
Where should a persons freedom end by the legislation of a law to decided for them?

As was discussed in another thread on how both left and right of our political spectrum attempt to legislate various social and moral issues into laws. I see this pretty clearly but I asked myself, just where should a line be drawn between ones personal freedom to choose and the enactment of law to make this choice for the people. Please note, this thread isn't meant to discuss the specific examples listed but only to use them as an example in a more general premise.

I'll list some examples that are controversial but I feel are far reaching in their greater implications.

Bans on smoking in public, most notably eating establishments. The right to or denial of employ , rent, do business with people based upon any reason, including race, gender, religion. Hate based laws, gun ownership, self termination of life, drugs, etc... just to name a few.

If a person wishes to rent to only blacks or women, if a person only wishes to hire Muslims or Jews, if a person wishes to form a racial, gender or religious group that is inclusive to only those of similar mind, then why not? (government and public service excluded)

We understandably have laws meant to protect individuals safety and rightly so. (murder, assault, etc...) but outside of the incitement of violence, why shouldn't people be allowed to make these choices?

Hypothetical: I may be morally opposed to homosexuality or abortion based on religious beliefs, but shouldn't people have the right to marry any consenting adult they wish or be allowed the right to make the choice if they wish to carry a baby to term?

If a person wishes to smoke pot or snort cocaine, why shouldn't a person have the right to make this choice themselves? After all we have numerous laws to prevent public intoxication on behalf of public safety and if the argument is higher medical cost, this can easily be corrected via higher premiums for those who choose a less healthy lifestyle.

Point of the overall is not about any of these specific issues per say, but more to the political and social philosophical question of where should a persons right to choose things such as these end and a law making these decisions for them begin. Do you feel it is even possible that the general public is capable of making such decisions for themselves or do people require a law to tell them how to act responsibly?
You sound like a Libertarian?
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Soccersupporter View Post
You sound like a Libertarian?
I suppose I have Libertarian inclinations socially, but I wouldn't consider myself one as I oppose the notion that a financial market should remain pure and free of governmental oversight. (for one example)

I do recognize that there is a need for a great many laws, but I'm only speculating what it states about our societal development that we place a bar at a given level in which the state takes over personal choices on private issues.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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[quote=TnHilltopper;9121167]

Bans on smoking in public, most notably eating establishments.

Employees have a right to a safe work environment.


The right to or denial of employ,

If you employ less than 15 employees you free to discriminate to your hearts content under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

rent,

If the landlord shares private space with a possible tenant, they are again exempted from housing discrimination laws.

In each of the above cases the rights of the individual have to be weighed against the rights of citizens.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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I think one thing we need to acknowledge/consider is the broadness of the country and the notion of the greater good.

In NYC, we have strict gun control laws, particularly with regard to pistols. However, most residents are within 1.5 miles of a well-staffed police station. Armed help is on the way quickly in most cases. It works for us - we sacrifice the rich to own guns because we recognize input environment, guns are more likely to be sold to the sketchy or trigger happy.

In parts of Upstate NY, there are minimal gun control laws. Areas are less sparsely populated and some towns don't even maintain a full time police force. You got trouble? You have to wait for a statetrooper to respond - help may well not be on theway quickly.

It's not really morality that moves these decisions for the vast majority in either area; it's a well-informed pragmatism that comes from the needs of the area.

There will always be folks on either side who wish to demonize the other - I generally suggest they go live that life for a while.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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Also, as much as I like Massachusetts, they do seem to have a reasonable solution to the question you pose - as long as your behaviour isn't likely to get up my nose, knock yourself out. Don't have to like it, don't socially accept it, but let it be legal.


I really have no idea how we're going to reconcile as a nation on abortion. For people of who genuinely believe it is murder, there's very little middle ground.
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:06 PM
 
11,133 posts, read 13,420,805 times
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[quote=ovcatto;9121858]
Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post

Bans on smoking in public, most notably eating establishments.

Employees have a right to a safe work environment.


The right to or denial of employ,

If you employ less than 15 employees you free to discriminate to your hearts content under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

rent,

If the landlord shares private space with a possible tenant, they are again exempted from housing discrimination laws.

In each of the above cases the rights of the individual have to be weighed against the rights of citizens.
I knew I can always count on you to provide some insightful and pertinent content.

Your statement that the rights of the individual are weighed against the rights of the collective citizenry are what I'm getting at.

What makes the choice for someone seeking a job a legitimate issue for legislation based upon a safe work environment? If you as a job seeker scan through the pages of various job listings and come across one for "tower hand laborer" and one for "office asst. manager", then you have the choice before you as to what level of job risk you as an individual are willing to accept. After all, if you are concerned with your health, you have the right not to choose a job working at a smoking establishment. Now your rights have been preserved as well as the establishments owners and patrons right to light up if they wish.

Why should it matter if it is shared space or not? If you were a black woman who was raped by a white man and have psychological issues stemming from a traumatic event or simply do not wish to rent to white men for no reason, why shouldn't they be allowed to say, no? It is after all your property.

If GM decided it was only going to hire white Polish decedents to work in its plants, then why should that present a problem? I mean if this were the case, their profit margin will drop by at least 50% and probably greater and they would be out of business anyway. Point being that in today's American work place and business environment, the denial of various ethnicity, gender bias, or religious intolerance would most likely result in diminished sales and profit, so thus be an unsound economic model, yet should it be a law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Missmoose View Post
Also, as much as I like Massachusetts, they do seem to have a reasonable solution to the question you pose - as long as your behaviour isn't likely to get up my nose, knock yourself out. Don't have to like it, don't socially accept it, but let it be legal.


I really have no idea how we're going to reconcile as a nation on abortion. For people of who genuinely believe it is murder, there's very little middle ground.
This is much the point in which I'm getting at in some regards. There are many things I may personally be at odds with, yet I can accept both the law and the right for others to make choices for themselves, even contrary to what I may believe. To those laws I disagree with, I hope to change, but ultimately the fact that there need be a law is what I question.

Are people and in this case the American public, so irresponsible that we require such a plethora of laws to tell us how to act responsibly? Have we regressed so far and become to intolerant of our fellow citizens that we cannot afford those we disagree with a place?
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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With respect to laws and codes, there are two main reasons that spring to mind:

The differences - heterogeneity of a place. If folks are reasonably well spread out, and of similar background - class, education, I think there's less need for regulation. When you hit densely populated place with a lot of different folks at different levels, you're going to need more laws. In NYC, I care deeply if a neighbor wants to keep a few egglaying chickens. I'm going to hear it & smell it no matter
what (18' lots). Put me on a 1 acre lot, I care a whole lot less.


I was driving in NH yesterday, and they have signs that under 18 must wear a seatbelt. Underneath, the motto, "common sense for all". I've been thinking a lot about that.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:23 PM
 
11,133 posts, read 13,420,805 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missmoose View Post
With respect to laws and codes, there are two main reasons that spring to mind:

The differences - heterogeneity of a place. If folks are reasonably well spread out, and of similar background - class, education, I think there's less need for regulation. When you hit densely populated place with a lot of different folks at different levels, you're going to need more laws. In NYC, I care deeply if a neighbor wants to keep a few egglaying chickens. I'm going to hear it & smell it no matter
what (18' lots). Put me on a 1 acre lot, I care a whole lot less.


I was driving in NH yesterday, and they have signs that under 18 must wear a seatbelt. Underneath, the motto, "common sense for all". I've been thinking a lot about that.
So you suggest it may have to do with in part a social dynamic of demographic dispersal?

I won't disagree that is part of it but I disagree that is the reasoning of the whole of it.

I would enjoy pointing out the lack of participation in an intellectual political and social discussion as yet another example.

When presented with a thread that offers the opportunity to forward or argue some fundamental issues that are center to political philosophy, both sides of this contemporary issue seemed to have dropped out. There are no talking points to refer to from the part, there are no notes to draw from in wiki, so a person much offer their own opinion and in the course of doing so, most voices normally heard are absent.

This merely points out another example of what is wrong with American politics, and that is the will to act upon ones own opinion deprived of sources to defend it.

See prior postings on fear.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:38 PM
 
31,370 posts, read 34,726,858 times
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[quote=TnHilltopper;9122549]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post

I knew I can always count on you to provide some insightful and pertinent content.
Thank you,

My response,

"What makes the choice for someone seeking a job a legitimate issue for legislation based upon a safe work environment?"

Well, legislating worker safety has a long a sometimes glorious history. Whether they are a waitress in a smokey bar or an office assistant manger we have attempted insure that their work environment is safe from hazards, the smoking analogy falls short in this regard since both areas are considered smoke free these days, so let's reverse the question; shouldn't waitresses enjoy the same smoke free environment as office workers?

By the way, I am a smoker.

The other aspect of the argument based is based upon the faulty assumption that waitresses in bars have the same job skills as office assistant managers, usually they don't and even if they do, there certainly are other considerations, hours of work, pay etc, real employment opportunities. But more fundamentally why should workers have to choose between safe and unsafe occupations at all? Additionally, there are social costs for unhealthy or injured workers, born by insurance, possible benefits paid for disability and healthcare.

As for your wildly, but entertaining, hypothetical landlord, if she only intends to rent a single family home without the use of a rental agent, she is exempt from the Fair Housing Act. As for the rest, I would argue, as the statute implies, that renting on a larger scale is a commercial venture and as such is subject to state and federal regulations.

As the Polish only GM, why would it present a problem... well we know what the problem in fact that was the situation in during the Great Depression especially for Chrysler and GM, Ford having begun hiring of black employees in 1914. But the same argument applies, as large companies involved in interstate commerce, the right to discriminate denies the right of equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Personally I can't think of more fundamental rights as to live where one can afford to live or to work in order to provide for one's family.
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