Monday, April 11, 2016

Morality in the Relations Between People

If asked about what laws are proper most people will provide an example of a law that initiates force against their fellow citizen who is behaving peacefully.  Drug prohibitions, government regulations on business, minimum wage laws and speeding laws are two easy examples.  Most people consider those laws "moral," but that's because most people conflate the two types of morality.

Firstly there's the morality that's relevant to each of us as individuals.  How we treat people.  Then there's the morality that applies to our relations with other people.  The problem with conflating them is people take what they regard as moral / proper behavior for themselves personally then claim that it should be enforced on everyone through legislation.  I wouldn't personally choose to work for a job that paid only $5/hour.  I'd feel "taken advantage of."  However, that's very different morally from me saying I ought to be granted the power to have a State official arrest/beat/kidnap/imprison someone who does have a job only useful enough to justify a $5/hour wage.  Likewise for someone only productive enough to earn a $5/hour wage.

In our relations with other people the only morally consistent approach is the non-aggression principle.  Don't initiate aggression.  Leave people free to choose for themselves.  I may not agree with their choices, or regard their choices as moral if it was applying to my own individual actions..... however, again, that's not sufficient to say I should be given the power to criminalize my preference.