Creating order is the only way to do what people call morally good.

To do that we must have laws.

We forbid stealing. What is stolen has to be returned. Not paying a fair wage or the best wage you can is theft.

We forbid slander. We forbid backbiting for we all have weaknesses and have done terrible things or would have done them given the chance.

We forbid murder. We forbid people who are able from not coming to the aid of others who are being attacked.

We forbid unfair discrimination based on sex, age, belief, nationality and colour. Discrimination should be based on ability or the lack of it.

We forbid the concealment of crime for that is just rewarding the crime. Some will claim that they committed a crime because they had had a hard time and were angry at the world. Why believe them?

We forbid the pollution of the environment.

We forbid parents not supporting their children. We do not forbid partners cheating on one another for they can be there for their children even if they do break up. We forbid it for other reasons.

We forbid rape and sex involving people under sixteen. The young person who resists the pressure to have sex is the strong one and the really normal one. Normality is judged by referring to the use of commonsense to do the best thing for yourself and others.

We only permit these things when lives are at stake or for the sake of a greater good. For example, the dirt will have to be dished on a person when it is for the equal or greater good of another.

Some may object: “Why these rules and not others? Order will still be maintained if we permitted racism and a certain amount of murder. You can’t say that permitting these is bad for it causes trouble for the law has to be enforced by causing trouble.”
The answer is that these two things would be needless evils. The rules need to be as liberal as possible for you don’t need a lot of control over people to organise society. Where there is no law we have to live as if there were a law. We have to live out the best code of right behaviour that we can find.

We feel that we want these rules. Even when we feel like breaking them we prefer them to be maintained for they make us feel safe. The way we naturally feel about them would be a sufficient reason to stand by them and preach them for that would guarantee the greatest possible happiness of the greatest number in a harmless way.

Thomas Hobbes insisted that human beings are fundamentally and essentially selfish with each one caring only about his own needs and being willing to harm others to fulfil them. He said that one proof of this was the way we locked our doors at night when we retired. He said that though there are public officers and laws to protect us we would attack any burglar (Leviathan, chapter 13). This attitude of Hobbes drew him to the conclusion that everybody should be controlled almost completely by the state and the law. He wanted the lions, human variety, caged in by laws and restrictions. This he felt was the only way to make human beings behave themselves. This was necessary because there are ways a person can commit crimes and guarantee or almost guarantee getting away with them. A person can tell a discreet lie about somebody to get the job the other person is after, for example. So the law needs to be geared to prevent this being possible. The answer is that true rational self-interest does not need to want to hurt other people and so a big brother state is not needed.


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