Total Posts:7|Showing Posts:1-7
Jump to topic:

The Meaning of Legality

CanWeKnow
Posts: 217
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/14/2014 11:49:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
During my Gov. class last hour my teacher was talking about Theocracies.
Teacher: "It is legal to be an Atheist in the United States. Correct?"
I thought about it for a second, and then interjected with,
Me: "It's not illegal to be an Atheist."
She looked at me funny and then repeated what she said earlier.

This got me curious.
In my mind, something that is legal is permitted by law. In other words, the government specifically sanctions it.
Something that is not specifically sanctioned or condemned is neither legal or illegal. It simply... is. Like breathing. Breathing isn't legal or illegal. It just is.

Now, I guess you could say that the Constitution's sanction on religion makes not having a religion legal. That doesn't really matter to me anymore. The only reason that I would want to make this distinction is to highlight (what I think) the purpose of government is, not to tell us what we are allowed to do, but rather what society thinks we shouldn't do. I feel like the former is a much more restrictive and authoritarian outlook than the latter.

What I want to know is whether or not others think the same way I do. Is something that is not illegal therefore legal or is it just... there? Is this a silly distinction to make?
I don't know. My photo class is too uneventful not to post this though.
TrueScotsman
Posts: 515
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/14/2014 11:56:16 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/14/2014 11:49:57 AM, CanWeKnow wrote:
During my Gov. class last hour my teacher was talking about Theocracies.
Teacher: "It is legal to be an Atheist in the United States. Correct?"
I thought about it for a second, and then interjected with,
Me: "It's not illegal to be an Atheist."
She looked at me funny and then repeated what she said earlier.

This got me curious.
In my mind, something that is legal is permitted by law. In other words, the government specifically sanctions it.
Something that is not specifically sanctioned or condemned is neither legal or illegal. It simply... is. Like breathing. Breathing isn't legal or illegal. It just is.

Now, I guess you could say that the Constitution's sanction on religion makes not having a religion legal. That doesn't really matter to me anymore. The only reason that I would want to make this distinction is to highlight (what I think) the purpose of government is, not to tell us what we are allowed to do, but rather what society thinks we shouldn't do. I feel like the former is a much more restrictive and authoritarian outlook than the latter.

What I want to know is whether or not others think the same way I do. Is something that is not illegal therefore legal or is it just... there? Is this a silly distinction to make?
I don't know. My photo class is too uneventful not to post this though.

A helpful way to look at, is to view the law as the moral minimum. In other words, while everything is not restricted.. it's not necessarily advisable.

Though the law often gets morality wrong too, but that's a different discussion.
CanWeKnow
Posts: 217
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/14/2014 12:14:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/14/2014 11:56:16 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:

A helpful way to look at, is to view the law as the moral minimum. In other words, while everything is not restricted.. it's not necessarily advisable.

Though the law often gets morality wrong too, but that's a different discussion.

Haha, yes this is very true.

I think I view the government as a restrictive force, rather than a permissive force, and that's why I think Legal and Not Restricted are separate ideas.

We are free to do whatever we want by default. Those kinds of actions are Not Restricted.

Actions that are Legal should then be actions that we were previously unable to do.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/14/2014 2:58:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/14/2014 12:14:53 PM, CanWeKnow wrote:
At 1/14/2014 11:56:16 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:

A helpful way to look at, is to view the law as the moral minimum. In other words, while everything is not restricted.. it's not necessarily advisable.

Though the law often gets morality wrong too, but that's a different discussion.

Haha, yes this is very true.

I think I view the government as a restrictive force, rather than a permissive force, and that's why I think Legal and Not Restricted are separate ideas.

We are free to do whatever we want by default. Those kinds of actions are Not Restricted.

Actions that are Legal should then be actions that we were previously unable to do.

I liked how you framed the OP semantically.

What I would say is that legality is indeed based upon what society thinks you shouldn't do, so when people say something is legal that simply means that there are no legal restrictions to the behavior. In that sense, saying that "breathing is legal" is kosher...it just means that the government isn't going to get into your business about it. You'd never ask about it though, right? What you would ask is about things that you know there are government restrictions over, and you're not exactly sure what those restrictions are - for example, "is driving at 3AM legal when there's a curfew?" Maybe it is for some people, but not for teens.

The underlined I disagree with. I think the best way to frame it is to just say that what is newly "possible" is typically a subset of what is "legal". For example, drones...new technology, no laws anywhere regulating their use...so we drone Yemen and no one knows what to do about it. It's not illegal, that much is certain.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
ADreamOfLiberty
Posts: 1,570
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/14/2014 3:18:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
All that is not illegal is legal, even under repressive dictator ships there is far more you are allowed to do than you are not. It is impractical to list a near infinite list of positive 'allowances.'
LOL, yeah, it's pretty amazing how they think they can "reason" with you. - Sidewalker, speaking of advocates for sexual deviancy.

So, my advice, Liberty, is to go somewhere else. Leave, and never come back. - YYW

And that's what I did. Contact me at http://www.edeb8.com... by the same user name if you have anything you'd like to say.
CanWeKnow
Posts: 217
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/15/2014 11:34:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/14/2014 2:58:04 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/14/2014 12:14:53 PM, CanWeKnow wrote:

Actions that are Legal should then be actions that we were previously unable to do.

I liked how you framed the OP semantically.

What I would say is that legality is indeed based upon what society thinks you shouldn't do, so when people say something is legal that simply means that there are no legal restrictions to the behavior. In that sense, saying that "breathing is legal" is kosher...it just means that the government isn't going to get into your business about it. You'd never ask about it though, right? What you would ask is about things that you know there are government restrictions over, and you're not exactly sure what those restrictions are - for example, "is driving at 3AM legal when there's a curfew?" Maybe it is for some people, but not for teens.

The underlined I disagree with. I think the best way to frame it is to just say that what is newly "possible" is typically a subset of what is "legal". For example, drones...new technology, no laws anywhere regulating their use...so we drone Yemen and no one knows what to do about it. It's not illegal, that much is certain.

Hmm.

I should have been more specific with my word choice because I do agree with the above statement.

Rather, legal acts are those backed by the authority of government.

For example, the bank is legally allowed to come after me if I don't pay my loan back.

But, my friend who loaned me $500 on a verbal contract with no witnesses can't legally come after me. It also isn't possible for him to illegally come after me as long as his actions don't fall under one of the various harassment or assault laws that are too complicated for me to look up.

It is possible for him to bug me and give me friendly reminders. This action isn't restricted by law but also isn't backed by governmental authority.

o_o
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/15/2014 11:52:17 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/15/2014 11:34:47 AM, CanWeKnow wrote:
At 1/14/2014 2:58:04 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/14/2014 12:14:53 PM, CanWeKnow wrote:

Actions that are Legal should then be actions that we were previously unable to do.

I liked how you framed the OP semantically.

What I would say is that legality is indeed based upon what society thinks you shouldn't do, so when people say something is legal that simply means that there are no legal restrictions to the behavior. In that sense, saying that "breathing is legal" is kosher...it just means that the government isn't going to get into your business about it. You'd never ask about it though, right? What you would ask is about things that you know there are government restrictions over, and you're not exactly sure what those restrictions are - for example, "is driving at 3AM legal when there's a curfew?" Maybe it is for some people, but not for teens.

The underlined I disagree with. I think the best way to frame it is to just say that what is newly "possible" is typically a subset of what is "legal". For example, drones...new technology, no laws anywhere regulating their use...so we drone Yemen and no one knows what to do about it. It's not illegal, that much is certain.

Hmm.

I should have been more specific with my word choice because I do agree with the above statement.

Rather, legal acts are those backed by the authority of government.

Yeah, I was just toying around with your idea about "breathing is legal". We wouldn't say that because there's no nebulousness about it, even though technically you could say it's true, because there are no govt restrictions on it.

Your below examples and even your original atheist example to a certain extent have a good amount of nebulousness, which you do illustrate quite well, so we would say that "banks can legally go after you" and "your friend can't legally go after you", and "it's legal to be an atheist".

Your point about the government only saying what you "shouldn't do" and not what you "should do" or "can do" was a really good one IMHO.

For example, the bank is legally allowed to come after me if I don't pay my loan back.

But, my friend who loaned me $500 on a verbal contract with no witnesses can't legally come after me. It also isn't possible for him to illegally come after me as long as his actions don't fall under one of the various harassment or assault laws that are too complicated for me to look up.

Minor semantics: It's easily possible for him to illegally come after you. He could illegally kill you too, which is called murder.

=)

It is possible for him to bug me and give me friendly reminders. This action isn't restricted by law but also isn't backed by governmental authority.

o_o
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?