To Be, But Not to Do... Should that be the question?

No Man is an island, entire of itself...
(John Donne)

While I take my medicine I'd like to post the following for your consideration: Is a reasonable model of morality that there should be no limits to be whatever you are or care to be, only limits on what you do as that alone reasonably impacts others?


Michael Lockridge said...

I am partial to systems of social order that impinge the least upon the individual. I rather enjoy diversity and individuality in a rather pluralistic society.

So, a legal system that minimally restricts the acts of citizens, intended to regulate only as necessary to minimize conflict.

Morality would remain an individual thing, or a corporate thing within whatever social sub-set you elect to join. The general society would establish and enforce only such laws as might be necessary to reduce conflict between individuals (or their sub-set orders).

This is, of course, very general and highly idealized.

As stated, I consider your proposal reasonable.


Harvey said...


I have to agree with Michael (and, I suspect,with you) that common law, although derived from moral principles, is not the same as ethics or morality. Law is what the group decides is acceptable behavior on the part of its members; morality is what the individual thinks is acceptable behavior for him/her. Ideally, the two will largely overlap, but in usual practise, law is about what one cannot do without external consequences, while morality should be about one can do to make this life kinder, better, more productive, in ways that the individual perceives he would want to be treated by others. All of this says nothing about people's innermost thoughts (as religion tries to do), only about what the individual chooses to do with those thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a great base morality to have as long as it's taxed.


Pliny, did you know about the bible website that has almost the exact same address as yours? I find it kind of creepy. Like they trolled blogspot land for atheist or skeptic sites waiting for an accidental redirect. Here it is.


At first blush it does seem purposeful doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that part about the bible website isn't completely tangential. I accidentally typed it in while trying to come "here."

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

hmmm possible explanations?

Fundi's can't spell?

True believers have no problem being deceivers? (way to broad and unfair to many)

seems too much of a coincidence.

Maybe I should add a link to my site called "Bibleoledgeonline.com" or all the variations.

Oh well, to any BibleCollegeOnline people who mistakenly add an 's', since the Bible itself borrows so heavily from great works of preceding cultures I suppose I should be flattered.

Anonymous said...

So intelligent, yet so humble. How do you manage it?

Anonymous said...

My mind went conspiracy theory for about a nanosecond when I typed in Asylum's blog with the misspell, but apparently the Bible Study site has all of 'blogpot.'

Perhaps they blog pot as well.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...


Humility? yes indeed - of my great abundance of many virtues, humility is one of my best traits if I must say so myself ;)

FYI Your note on blogpot'ing got me to thinking - what other variations are out there?

Yes it's true - there is a http://www.bongspot.com/

Asylum Seeker said...

What the hell kind of name is "blogpot"? "Bongspot" at least makes sense. I wonder if there is a "blgspot" and a "blospot"...

Also: I'd say that your proposal makes sense. Morality seems, at its best, to only be about how not to negatively affect those around you in a significant manner. In the sense of being someone who has behavior that has such an effect, there are prohibitions about being a certain way. Outside of that, there should be no reason for there to be a "moral" demand for them to change who they are.