Moreover, the concentration of economic power in the hands of government is something every true friend of civil liberties should, by now, have learned to fear. There is an even deeper truth—one going beyond economics—to which libertarianism responds: Law and government exist to protect human persons and secure their well-being.It is not the other way round, as communist and other forms of collectivist ideology suppose. Stringent norms of political justice forbid persons to be treated as mere servants or instrumentalities of the state.Are you saying that practical considerations should, or even can, be left out of the argument? In a proper understanding of morality, practical considerations are not “merely” practical. The moral case for the reform of unilateral-divorce laws includes reference to the devastating, poverty-inducing, crime-promoting social consequences of the collapse of a healthy marriage culture and the role of unilateral divorce in contributing to the collapse.The moral argument for restoring legal protection to the unborn includes reference to the adverse psychological and, in some cases, physical consequences of abortion on many women who undergo the procedure.Sound positions cannot be effectively advanced and defended by citizens and statesmen who are unwilling or unable to engage moral arguments.That is why we should, in my opinion, rededicate ourselves to understanding and making the moral argument for the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, and the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of one man and one woman.
published an essay entitled “Law and Moral Purpose” (now behind firewall), by Robert P.
What do you think about a pragmatic approach to these issues?
We must not adopt a merely pragmatic understanding or speak only of practical considerations in addressing the pressing issues of our day.
No; the general welfare—the common good—requires that government be limited.
You distinguish between government’s primary and subsidiary roles.