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Legislating Morality

Americans often use the phrase, "you can't legislate morality." By most accounts, this sentiment is simply mistaken. Most of the most important legislative issues facing our country are, at heart, moral issues: abortion, assisted suicide, the drug war, the use of the death penalty, to name a few. It is interesting and instructive to investigate our laws (present and pending) to see what moral issues are at stake. Additionally, reviewing these laws can help us gain insight into the moral theory or theories that underpin them. Are most of our laws based on utilitarianism or Kantian deontology? Do laws subscribe to Mill's ideas about personal freedom and the harm principle?

The Web links that follow will give you some places to start an investigation of these laws. If you want to explore laws pending in your own state, county or city then you may need search a bit further. Most state governments have excellent Web sites with links to all pending legislation. The same is true for many local governments.

Internet Sites of the State Legislatures: Links to every state.

Campaign Finance, Ethics & Lobbying 

Congress.Org -- Your Link to Congress


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