[Note: the date stamp on this post has been changed from the original, so as to keep it on the main page and further enable the argument that has been taking place in the comments.]
There’s one thing we separate in our public consciousness here in the U. S. (and industrialized West more generally): the law and morality. We bristle at the suggestion that someone or some group “legislate their morality” on us. The law is simply a conventional code, in many peoples minds, that is agreed upon through the terms of a representative democracy, containing many items we can change, omit, and revise at the demonstrated will of the people and/or their elected representatives. A legal code is merely a convention for getting along.
This understanding, however, is sheer fantasy.
The law is not mere convention–though clearly there are conventional aspects to the law. The law is much more powerful than that, as Plato, Aristotle and many important thinkers have recognized throughout history. No, in point of fact, the law is a paedegogus, a tutor, instructing us in morality, inculcating in us notions of right and wrong, virtue and vice.
So the current understanding in the U. S. of the separation of Church and State is both philosophically unsound, and, ultimately, unworkable. And as the culture wars continue to flame, this is becoming more and more obvious.
We’ll start first with Aristotle:
Continue reading “The Law Always, Necessarily and Inescapably Legislates Morality”