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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Should we ban banning things?

Well, obviously not. We do need bans on some things - murder, rape, robbery, assault and battery, and on and on...

But it doesn't follow that it's either necessary or desirable to ban every damn thing that we might disapprove of (as individuals, or even with a broad consensus).

Anyway, David Allen Green has a good post on all this. I can't say that it's a good thread, though. The quality of the responses leaves a lot to be desired.

3 comments:

Mike said...

Coincidentally I read today: Peter Singer on banning cigarettes.

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/singer80/English

Spencer Troxell said...

regarding what we should and shouldn't ban, I think George Carlin had a very entertaining take on the whole idea:

"I think either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all! Personally I lean to our unlimited rights!I have the right to do anything I please. But, if I do something you don't like, I think you have the right to kill me."

It's better in context:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiBt-pqp0E

March Hare said...

Nothing should be banned, but people's rights should be enforced. Obviously that leads to people's rights coming into conflict and that leads to various acts being banned (things that lead to non-consensual harm to person or property) but in general the principle should be to uphold rights, not ban (perceived) harm.

If you accept that principle then the only real conflict comes from the definition and extent of people's rights. Which is a much better argument to have than the one about what we should stop people from being allowed to do.