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152. Where’s The Line Between Politics And Morality?

When can we legislate an opinion? Who is to say that an opinion is a fact? The left has long called to bring the personal into politics, while also calling to keep politics away from people’s private decisions. These two things cannot exist together in one’s mind.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

-Plato

After a long Twitter discussion, I realized that this was the question at the heart of the debate. Is there a point that we can legislate morality? If so, what is that point? And, is there really an objective morality that can be applied in politics?

Abortion Politics

The discussion I found myself in was one about abortion, whether one can be personally opposed to it, but legislatively allow it. I think this principle is sound, but that it has limits. Here’s the tweet:

I’m personally pro-life but legislatively pro-choice. Does that make sense?

tweet by @Smallgovdude

Legislation and Politics

So, today we’ll take a look at this principle to see if there is a threshold that allows us to “legislate morality.” And, I want to look at the political situation to see what is and what isn’t appropriate to legislate. This is an important discussion if we are to have a functioning society.

Personal Beliefs

We can have beliefs about what is right and wrong, and we should. We ought to learn about the world and living properly in it. That is a virtuous and noble endeavor. And, I think that it is useful to engage in dialogue with others about the beliefs we hold. That is when it turns toward politics because politics is the way in which we learn how to live together.

Political Opinions

Our political opinions are those opinions about right and wrong, and how they ought to be enacted in society. Our beliefs on politics are not simply what is wrong or right. Instead, it’s whether or not that action should be punished, how it ought to be regulated, and who is required to follow those rules. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and it is here that we begin to decide what is right and wrong for society.

When Politics and Personal Meet

When we start to go from our personal beliefs to the political ones, it can be hard to have that discussion. If we talk about banning something or punishing an action, there are others who will be affected, and they may take that personally. It’s important to be delicate but clear in these discussions so we can let people know we aren’t attacking them, but are trying to curb the effect of something that is wrong or harmful.

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236. Materialism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Conversation of Our Generation

According to Wikepedia, "Materialism is a form of philosophical monism that holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental states and consciousness, are results of material interactions. According to philosophical materialism, mind and consciousness are by-products or epiphenomena of material processes (such as the biochemistry of the human brain and nervous system), without which they cannot exist. This concept directly contrasts with idealism, where mind and consciousness are first-order realities to which matter is subject and material interactions are secondary." Valid Concerns and Good Points At first, it seems to make sense. Much of what we encounter is material. Our food, light, furniture, etc. is all material. It would be easy at first glance to think everything boils down to what is material. But, does that really comport with what we experience and know? Errors of Materialism Materialism leaves out a large chunk of the human experience. First, it fails, like naturalism, to fully account for the supernatural and the spiritual. And, in doing so, it denies free will and many other parts of our experience that are products of the spirit. Also, materialism doesn't allow for the abstract truths we know to be. Moral truths, natural laws, beauty, and even some mathematical truths can't exist if everything is material. So, materialism fails to explain all that we know about the world. Corrections There is more to the world than just the material. It doesn't fit with our understanding of the world. We experience more than just the material in art and music, as well as abstract concepts. We also experience the phenomenon of free will, which is impossible in a materialist world. In order to fully comport with reality, we need to take into account more than material things. In order to fully experience the world, we have to take account for the non-material parts of our lives. Related Episodes in this Series What is Objective Reality? What is Subjective Reality? Unity of Subject and Object The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 236. Materialism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  2. 235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  3. 234. The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality
  4. 233. Is Patriotism Good? | Reflections on the 4th of July
  5. 232. Unity of Subject and Object
  6. 231. What is Subjective Reality?
  7. 230. The Death of Socrates And What It Teaches Us Of Courage and Nobility
  8. 229. What is Objective Reality?
  9. 228. Peter Kreeft's Intro to the Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas
  10. 227. You're Not A Monk | Unexpected Advice From a Priest

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