Saturday, 13 August 2011

Legal and right are not the same thing...

You would think - after the unedifying sight of MPs justifying their snout-in-trough behaviour by saying it wasn't against the rules - that people would understand that legal and right are not the same thing.

I was arguing against proposed legalisation of gay marriage and asking why, if marriage could be re- defined to mean two people of the same sex shacking up, it could not also include incest, bigamy etc. One response is that homosexuality is legal, whereas the others were illegal and therefore wrong.

So, one more time: any action may be
Legal and right - such as helping an old person across a road
Legal and wrong - such as abortion
Illegal and right - such as following your informed conscience (eg as the owner of a BnB in the UK)
Illegal and wrong - such as setting fire to a shop or looting it.

Legality tells us little about right and wrong: it offers some clues, which may be more or less accurate depending on the civilisation of the society in which we live. But to argue something is right because it is allowed, tolerated or even encouraged by the State is ludicrous.

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