In two prior posts, here and here I write about the idea that humans are incapable of creating a moral standard, because moral standards shouldn’t change and humans are constantly changing what they think is right and wrong. Taking this idea to it’s logical limit means that any government that exists should not try to legislate morality. This is because any government that exists is controlled by humans, and if humans can’t develop a moral standard, why can government suddenly make laws that dictate morality? Several concrete examples of this idea are shared below.
Prohibition is known as the only constitutional amendment that was nullified, and it was nullified quickly at that. It was ratified as an amendment to the constitution January 16, 1919 and then the country watch as an underground network of gangs and the associated crime grew as the countries desire for alcohol did not wane. This is the part of our history where men like Al Capone grew in power and financial capability. It is also part of our history where people start to make their own alcohol at home (moonshine in the south and bathtub gin in the north). This amendment was so unpopular and not taken seriously at all that it was ended about 15 years later on December 5, 1933. Though this amendment was repealed, there are still massive restrictions on the use of alcohol, including what activities you can perform while drinking and where you can go when you are drinking (you can’t drink and drive even if you don’t harm anyone and you can’t drink in public outside of a bar depending on the state you live in)This was the governments first attempt to control the substances that we put in our body, unfortunately it would not be their last.
Marijuana unfortunately has had a much different history than alcohol. A full history of the drug is given here, however, in short the Great Depression brought about fear of the Mexican immigrants that were coming over and there was a lot of propaganda showing a correlation between violent crime and weed. Because of this, states like California and Utah outlawed the sale of marijuana in 1913 and 1914, respectively. Marijuana was effectively criminalized with the approval of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (Marihuana was the original spelling that was used for marijuana), and things went downhill from there. To this day, the citizens of the US are fighting for the basic right to ingest whatever they want to ingest without being bothered by law enforcement officers. According to DrugWarFacts.org, 16.6% of people in state prisons have a drug offence as their most serious charge and 51.8% of the people in federal prison are there for the same reason. Going further, the ACLU says that 52% of all people incarcerated for drug arrests were for marijuana. This means that to this day, there are families that are being broken up for trying to make some money for their families.
I have never fully understood why people in government want so desperately to control the sexual behavior of other humans. Prostitution is one of these behaviors. I think it is ridiculous to outlaw prostitution because you can have sex with whomever you want (except in Virginia), but you can’t exchange money after that action. The idea that prostitution is illegal but there is something called the “walk of shame” is a little more than silly to me. However, the only state that allows prostitution at all is Nevada where there are 28 legal brothels. Being a Christian man I consider prostitution to be an immoral act, however, I recognize the fact that not everyone shares my moral beliefs and I never want to use the government to force other people to live the way I have chosen to.
Gambling is another activity that is only regulated by the government because there is to much money involved. I am personally not a gambler and will never be a gambler simply because I get literally no enjoyment out of it, but I know that there are people out there who do and just like prostitution I never want to use the government to force others to follow my moral beliefs. Gambling is made more complicated because there are different forms defined by law, if you include lotteries, then every state has a form of gambling but when you get into private gambling it is far more restrictive. You also should ask yourself why it is acceptable for the government to provide a form of gambling to the people and it is not for private citizens?
Whatever political affiliation you have, these types of regulations should make you wonder why people in power have such a strong desire to control the public’s behavior. Why is it that we as a population find it so difficult to just let people live their lives and leave them alone? Being a Christian man and leading my family with Christian values makes me live a lifestyle that doesn’t allow at least one of the above activities, however, I have no desire to force other people to live this way. Even if people make mistakes (which they will), we are all allowed to do just that and learn lessons from those mistakes. Implementing the “live and let live” philosophy in your life will allow you more time to worry about improving your own life and set you free from trying to control everyone else’s.