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Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible?
~Norman L. Geisler , Frank Turek
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List price: £13.92
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Average customer rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Sales rank: 1035924

Product Information

Media: Paperback
ISBN/ASIN : 1592441521
Manufacturer : Wipf & Stock Publishers
Release data : February, 2003

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  • Subjects - Business, Finance & Law - Law
  • Subjects - Religion & Spirituality - Religious Studies - Church & State

  • A selection of product reviews

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Thought Provoking - to the point!

    Turek gets it right. The connection between what we can legislate, and what we can't, is clearly made. This is a book everyone should read. It is correct in it's logic, a real find.....

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Great book!

    A thought provoking and common sense look at where we've been, where we are, and where we need to be. The book makes many strong factually supported arguments identifying the need to legislate morality.

    1 star1 starNo starNo starNo star    The Two Kinds of Crimes

    Unfortunately the main point of book is based on a faulty premise. The authors draw an equivalence between crimes with clear victims -- theft, murder, etc. -- and so-called "victimless" crimes such as gambling and using drugs. These two categories are said to differ only in degree, not in kind. There really are no victimless crimes, according to this book, because, for example, families and marriages can be ruined by gambling and drugs. Our actions affect all those we come in contact with -- our families, workplaces, and communities.

    Therefore, laws to prevent these "crimes" are just as legitimate as laws against murder. Naturally the degree of punishment should differ greatly, but in principle they are the same.

    We begin to see the problem with this line of reasoning when we extend the concept. What about someone who loves skiing or eating fatty foods? These people are increasing the chance that they will die early, which impacts all those around them. Should these actions be considered criminal too? Where do you draw the line?

    OK, so where do I draw the line? Why are the two kinds of actions (murder versus drug use) different in kind? It's because "victimless" crimes harm people in the context of voluntary relationships. When two people get married, the both expect to benefit. If the husband then drinks constantly and the wife at some point sees that she is not benefiting from the relationship, then she may decide to separate or divorce him. But what she suffers in a LACK of anticipated benefit, not a positive harm as occurs in the case of a murder.

    The law as properly conceived is nothing more than the organized sum of each individual's right to self defense. That's the basis of morality in legislation. No one suggests that a wife should be able to literally force her husband not to drink (by locking him up, for instance). For the same reason, the law should not presume to do so either.

    By missing this fundamental point, the usefulness of this book is limited.

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