Ethics and the Law Term Paper

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Ethics and the Law

It is morally acceptable for the law to require people to do things for their own self-development?

"Political theory is a branch of moral philosophy, which starts from the discovery, or application, of moral notions in the sphere of political relations." This statement, indicated in the literary work, "Two concepts of Liberty," summarizes my personal views on law and self-development. I believe it is morally acceptable to require people to do things for their own self development. Aspects such as making children attend school, requiring high schools to offer basic curriculum courses, or requiring systemically viable institutions to be certified, I believe, all are morally acceptable laws. Although society overall benefits from the self-development of its own constituents, the world benefits as a more educated population continues to drive economic prosperity (Berlin, 2000).

Few would argue over the merits of self-development and its obvious advantages. However many believe that it's up to the individual alone to decide upon personal aspects of self development. Within a vacuum this theory seems plausible, as America, the worlds most powerful country was founded on liberty. However, when juxtaposed against the massive and sizeable collapse of past years, this theory loses its power. I therefore would argue that morally acceptable laws are great for self development, but they also protect society overall. Aspects such as globalization have cause increase competition from globally dynamic institutions. America manufacturing is losing competitiveness. Our children are falling behind in both math and science scores as compared to their Asian counterparts. All of these aspects are, in some way, correlated to laws requiring people to do things for their own self development.

In the literary work "What's wrong with Negative Liberty," the author explains many of the nuances of the concept of liberty. In many instances, liberty can be a detriment to society when used in an illogical manner. Therefore, the article insinuates that laws should be morally acceptable and provide for the overall well-being of society. Negative liberty, the work argues can ultimately abate the overall influence of society on prosperity. The article describes negative freedom as a means of what an individual can, and can to do within the context of society. Therefore, freedom is defined as individual independence from others. This has the potential however to create factions and alliances that could ultimately undermine the American political and economic system. Positive Freedom as the article illustrates, defines freedom as a collective unit rather than distinct individuals. I believe, it is through positive freedom that morally acceptable laws can be practice and implemented. The article further illustrates that through positive freedom, society can help realize a point of self-actualization. During self-actualization, individuals find meaning within their own personal lives, within the context of societal norms and behaviors. As such, it would be morally acceptable, under the concept of positive freedom, to have laws that facilitate the overall notion of self development. Under the concept of negative freedom however, these arguments have little standing. In fact, negative liberty desires the freedom from hindrance in regards to individual activities. This concept argues against moralist interventions. These freedoms believe in the notions of freedom of speech, movement, and religion. However, unlike positive freedom, these notions do not necessary need to further society (Oakes, 1996).

Due primarily to the two very divergent aspects mentioned above, I believe it is morally expectable to have laws that require individuals to do things for their own self development. As a nation, as indicated above, our society must evolve. Competition is fiercer, technology is more profound, and society is becoming more demanding. As such, laws that reinforce continual improvement ultimately benefit society. Furthermore, self-development even protects society in many respects. Through the ability to be more productive in the case of farming, or the ability to reduce systemic risk in regards to banking, or the overall interpretation of the preamble of the constitution, society ultimately benefits. Through these benefits society will realize a better quality of life, and a more robust economic system. Therefore, I believe the benefits of such behavior and laws far outweigh the costs. Although some opponent may say that laws for self development ultimately infringe on individual rights, I would vehemently disagree. America has the deepest, widest, most transparent capital markets. I have the…[continue]

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