Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hating Freedom

We think of ourselves as a pretty freedom-loving lot in the United States, but the more I think about the idea of multiple parallel societies with separate institutions for people of differing beliefs, the more I think no one would be able to tolerate it. Here are a couple examples:

-You're secular, but you work for a Catholic company, which provides you with a Catholic health care plan, which won't cover contraception, abortion, euthenasia, or your live-in partner. Sure it's all very well to let the silly Catholics go have their own health care system, but the first time some poor innocent secular person gets stuck in it, would people really have the discipline to say, "Nope. Sorry. If you don't want to have these problems go get another job at a secular company."

-A Islamic woman is caught in adultery and a sharia court sentences her to death.

-Secular humanists decree that within their society infanticide is acceptable up until a child can speak in sentences of at least four words and use the concept of "self".

Although we generally embrace freedom and pluralism, the whole concept of law suggests that there is a single set of standards to which everyone can be held. And a plethora of parallel law systems is very nearly the same thing as legal chaos. "What, you caught me stealing? I think I'll convert from Islam to Catholicism where the punishment might not be as severe."

Pluralism is all very well when it comes to encouraging everyone to celebrate their own holy days, eat their own foods, and speak their own languages. But I'm not sure any society, certainly not one with America's history and cultural attitude towards public morality, could successfully sit on its hands and tolerate multiple diametrically opposed moral/legal codes.

After all, we tried the idea of having slave states and free states, and that didn't work very well...

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