I find it very interesting that the Left likes to complain about the members of the Right – specifically those called Social Conservatives – who are out to be “The Morality Police.”
Not because the Left is wrong here. They’re right to complain about this. It’s just ironic that they, of all people, do.
What do I mean?
Well, The United States of America, after all, was founded on the idea of being a “Free Country.” I’m not suggesting that they succeeded at it. We had to fight a civil war, for one thing. But the goal – the idea – of the founding was that of a “Free Country.” I think that most of the mainstream Left will recognize this; at least in those terms.
But, what does this mean? What is a “Free Country?” Free from what?
A Free Country is one where we’re free from the Morality Police. The government would police people to stop them from initiating force on each other, but it isn’t supposed to use the police – i.e. the force of the law – to otherwise intervene in our moral lives. Again, at least in those terms, I think the mainstream Left is with me.
As a Leftist friend of mine mentioned to me recently, people have wildly different ideas on what is or isn’t moral. Some people think that homosexuality is immoral. I’ll use that as an example, because that’s something that Leftists generally cite as an example of the Morality Police. Well, whether homosexuality is moral or immoral doesn’t matter to the law in a Free Country. The homosexuals aren’t initiating force on anyone, so the police rightfully have nothing to say on the matter. That’s the difference between a Free Country and one in which there’s a Morality Police.
Now, some clever folks might point out that stopping people from initiating force on each other is a moral judgment on the initiation of force. And, indeed, it is. This is the one, single, moral edict that a Free Country makes by law. I would argue that this is moral precisely because to use force in any other circumstance would be far more immoral than any “good” achieved by enforcing other ideas about morality at the point of a gun, even if those ideas were correct.
But the beauty of a Free Country is that you don’t *have* to agree with me about any other point of morality. Only the one: that to initiate force is evil and that we must use the force of law to stop it. Beyond that, the law can and should be blind to all other questions of moral behavior. It should police that one thing, and nothing else.
So to complain about the Morality Police is precisely correct. In a Free Country, there shouldn’t be a Morality Police. Good show, Leftists! I genuinely applaud this.
But why do I find it ironic?
Because the Left are the biggest cheerleaders for the Morality Police of them all. The Left declares, “You rich people should give more of your money to charity than you are. And if you don’t want to, we’ll force you to.” That rich people “should” give more to charity is a moral statement. And their call to use government to enforce this moral statement on people who haven’t initiated force, themselves, is exactly what it means to be the Morality Police. It’s exactly what they (rightly) criticize Social Conservatives for. This is naked, bald-faced hypocrisy of the worst kind.
So, yeah… I find it ironic.