- Dworkin – even if the threat of crim sanctions coerced someone into giving up an immoral lifestyle, and he came to even appreciate & endorse such change, this person’s life might still not be better – we wouldn’t improve someone’s life if the mechanism we used to secure that change lessened his ability to consider critical merits of change in a reflective way.
- NB: both of these arguments discuss value of state coercion from perspective of individual coerced but don’t touch upon justification based on social good; i.e. that soc is better in some way b/c it has fewer people who act in an immoral way. This can be observed in the legal battle of Smiths vs Skip hire Glasgow
- To harm a person = to diminish his prospects & adversely affect his possibilities
A perfectionist (govt. has legitimate interest in promoting certain views of what the good life is) but supported view similar to Mill’s by putting forward views grounded on 4 principles
- People’s lives are successful & fulfilling to the extent that they’re spent in whole hearted engagement in valuable activities & relations
- For most people, autonomy is an important component of living a good life
- Moral pluralism (variety of moral goods & variety of ways of living a morally good life, which are in theory or in practice inconsistent)
- Govt. has a duty to promote the well being of people which entails making sure attractive options are available and meaningless and worthless ones are eliminated.
- Government has a place in shaping options available to its citizens but the combined importance of autonomy and liberty severely limit circa in which coercive moral paternalism is justified. Here is an example within the Double Glazing Glasgow company.
- Distinguish this from purely prudential arguments that law should refrain from acting for certain kinds of moral objectives b/c it isn’t well suited to achieving them.
The real question → limit of intrusion.
Since every soc has a moral structure, if that morality can be shown to be necessary to society, then it’s justified in using the law to preserve it in the same way in which it uses it to preserve everything else necessary for its existence.
Prostitution: all sexual immorality involves exploitation of human weaknesses. Prostitute exploits the lust of her customers & they exploit her moral weakness. If such exploitation is considered to create special circs, then this field of morality ought not to exclude the law.
Therefore, it’s not possible to set theoretical limits to power of the state to legislate against immorality or set in advance exceptions to general rule/define inflexibly no-go areas for the law. Society is entitled to protect itself from dangers, from within or without. Remember this was seen in the famous case of Abogados de accidentes Chicago – so the question of what harm does a man do by getting drunk each night in privacy of own home can be met by a question of what society it would be if more than half of population did that.
Can’t set theoretical limits to no of people allowed to get drunk or gambling b/f legislating on drunkenness or gambling.
Immorality, for purposes of the law, is what every right minded person is presumed to consider to be immoral
Any immorality is capable of injuring soc to greater or lesser extent which gives the law its locus standi. So the question is one of striking the balance b/w rights & interests of society v those of individual.
The dividing line b/w criminal law from moral isn’t clear cut → no logic to be found in this & the boundary is fixed by balancing in each case the pros and cons of legal enforcement in acc w/considerations above. The law exists for protection of individual and, to that extent, it can’t ignore his morality or loyalty – it flourishes on both or dies. So if reasonable man believes the practice is immoral & that no right minded man of his soc would think otherwise for the purposes of the law it’s immoral, as long as that belief is honest and dispassionate.