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As an Evangelical who came of age in the early 1980s, I remember so well the clarity of the world. Democracy vs. Communism and the Moral Majority vs. secular humanism. We figured God would use the church to turn America';s politics and culture to Jesus and righteousness. 30+ years later--what a different world it is! Paul told us to pray for Caesar, not to elect Peter. I will still cast my vote. Nevertheless, my best Christian righteousness will be seen in my love of God and neighbor, far more than in any devotion to a candidate, party, or policy position.
What should public policy on morality be based on? Since we live in a world where opinions abound, I was wondering what various people think would makean agreeable standard for determining what values of morality communities and law should define. How shouldor would such a thing be defined. I have a few thoughts, and their potential flaws. Authoritarianism: The standard is set by some authority (such as the bible, king, or law). The flaw is that there has to be an agreed upon authority, otherwise it won't work (unless you live in a dictatorship), and just because an authority sets a code of morality doesn't mean it will be right or good. Unless the authority is set, what is moral will continue to shift. Utilitarianism/Prioritarianism: A logical way to determine things based on maximum utility. However, this leaves to question what the best things are for utility. Sometimes the choices based on utilitarianism can lead to decisions that generally would not be seen as humane. Hedonism: Pleasure is good and should be maximized and sought after. This seems to be what society is trending towards. Current and past stands on morality can't all be encompassed by this. It doesn't take into account productivity of a society. It would not resemble current morals society seem to have roughly agreed upon. Non-Aggression principal: So long as it doesn't hurt others people are free to do as they choose. This doesn't account for a general belief in stopping people from destroying their lives via drugs, sex, suicide etc... Golden Standard: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Even if all people did this, there would still be hurt feelings as not all people are sensitive to all of the same things. Majority rule: The majority of the community decide. The flaw is that minority opinions get silenced. I think most people apply a mix of these ideas, however when there is conflict between these ideas how would you resolve which one to follow, or how to act. Also I think to an extent many LDS moral beliefs are Authoritarian in nature, due to the fact that we follow what we believe God to have professed is good and right. Typically from what i've seen through history is that there are 2 major ways that are usually used to resolve issues on morality, culture, and differences in society. War, and Diaspora. There can and will be compromise on occasion. Generally though like minded people gather into new communities. The problem with this is that pretty much all land is regulated by various governments, there isn't many places new social groups can move to, other than concentrating within a pre-existing nation. I thought it was an interesting thought in that people have to work more to find compromise rather than moving away. Are morals an absolute truth that can be seen or derived, or relative, or arbitrary? What people belief can have a huge impact on how they approach these subjects. Any other ideas, or things that I have missed? I'm somewhat partial to the non-agression principal, yet with utilitarian exceptions.