SHORT OUTLINE OF APPLIED ETHICS

 

CLASSIC PHILOSOPHERS ON SEXUAL MORALITY: AQUINAS, KANT, DE SADE

Aquinas: Sex Only For Reproduction

Thesis: God implanted within human nature a set of instincts that define our purpose as human beings and establish what is morally right; the instinct to procreate tells us that sexual intercourse is for the purpose of having children

Unnaturalness of Fornication

Possible defense of fornication:

Criticism: body parts argument:

The various parts of our bodies have precise purposes: “our study should be that every part of man and every act of his may attain its due end”

Semen has the clear function of facilitating reproduction

Every non-reproductive emission of semen is sinful if it is done purposefully; it is thereby a sin against nature

Sex with infertile couples:

Naturalness of Marriage

Men need to stay with the woman a long time to help raise the child

Possible Criticism

We regularly use parts of our bodies for purposes other than their naturally-intended function (e.g., using our hands to walk), so misuse of semen is only a slight sin

Response:

Against Divorce (four arguments)

Against Polygamy (four arguments)

Against incest (four arguments)

Hume: The Usefulness of Conventional Sexual Morality

Varieties of Marriage Conventions

Marriage is founded on mutual consent for propagation and subsistence of offspring, and there are a variety of arrangements for such consent, provided that they do not run contrary to propagation and subsistence

Examples of different circumstances resulting in different marriage laws

Animal “marriage”

The variety of human laws on marriage are all conformable to nature, but not necessarily equally useful

Against Polygamy

Arguments for polygamy

Arguments against polygamy:

Against Voluntary Divorce

Arguments for voluntary divorce

Arguments against voluntary divorce

Extreme Punishment for Infidelity not Justified

There is no justification for imposing public shame on unfaithful women or raising young women to find sex repugnant

Speculative justification for public shame of infidelity

Criticism of this speculative justification:

Chastity as a rule

Social benefits of chastity as a rule

Chastity and women past child-bearing age

Kant: The Immorality of Pure Sexual Desire

Sexual desire vs. True Human Love

The nature of sexual desire;

The nature of true human love:

Combining sexual desire with true human love

Sex as a Union within Marriage

Property exchange argument

Sex crimes against nature: masturbation, homosexuality, bestiality

Masturbation:

Homosexuality:

Bestiality:

Marquis De Dade: Complete Sexual Freedom

Women Submitting to Any Man’s Desires

General argument: nature has given us an endless range of sexual impulses, including desires for countless sexual partners of both genders and of every age. Natural law, then, permits us to exercise our sexual freedom to the fullest.

Women are born vulguivaguous (belonging to all men), but in time became possessions of men

Houses of prostitution:

Men Submitting to Any Woman’s Desires

Women have the right to demand sex from any man

Children of the Fatherland

Criticism: this permissiveness will produces families without fathers, which is bad

Answer:

Adultery

Origin of adultery as a crime

Homosexuality

Natural law argument 1: “Nature places no great importance on fluid which runs through our loins, and is not concerned if we prefer to direct it down one path or another”

Natural law argument 2: “The desire for sodomy is the result of one’s physical form, and we cannot contribute anything to this”

Mill: Limits to Controlling Harm from Prostitution

Freedom to Fornicate, but Maybe not to Pimp (On Liberty)

Fornication should not be legally restricted, since it is injurious only to the agent

Defense of pimping:

Criticism of pimping:

Against Arresting Prostitutes in Military Towns (The Evidence of John Stuart Mill)

The government is entitled to control prostitution, but the Contagious Disease Acts violate women’s liberties by subjecting them to confinement for six months

Modest women can be subjected to this

Why the Act creates a double standard

Why issuing tickets to clean prostitutes is wrong

Why Lock hospitals are wrong

Wives should be permitted to divorce their husbands pass venereal disease on to them

Restraining Sexual Passion through Reason (Letter to John Russell)

Lecky’s conservative position:

The Harms of Prostitution and need for Equality in Marriage (Letter to John Russell)

Evil effects of prostitution

The burden should be placed on men

Equality of marriage

 

 

SUPREME COURT CASES ON SEX: STANLEY V. GEORGIA; EISENSTADT V. BAIRD; MILLER V. CALIFORNIA; LAWRENCE V. TEXAS

 

The Right of the Married to Contraception: Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

Majority Opinion: Marriage and the Right to Privacy (Justice William O. Douglas)

The constitution has been construed to protect many rights not explicitly mentioned

The issue of contraception within marriage involves a zone of privacy within the marital bedroom

Dissenting Opinion: No Right to Privacy (Justice Potter Stewart)

“it belittles that Amendment to talk about it as though it protects nothing but ‘privacy.’”

The right to possess obscene material: Stanley v. Georgia (1969)

Freedom of thought

People have the right to satisfy their intellectual and emotional needs in the privacy of their own home

Obscene material and deviant behavior

There is no evidence that obscene material leads to deviant behavior

Possessing vs. distributing obscene material

Distributing obscene material has the risk of falling into the hands of children or intruding upon the sensibilities or privacy of the general public; not so with merely possessing obscene material

The right of the unmarried to contraception: Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972)

No Grounds for Treating Married and Unmarried Differently: William J. Brennan

No grounds in Massachusetts law 272, 21 and 21A for treating married and unmarried people differently regarding contraception

MA attorney general: the object of the legislation is to discourage premarital sexual intercourse

This is in theory a justifiable rationale

But it is unreasonable to assume that the law aimed to punish fornicators with pregnancy

Justified Restrictions on dispensing Medicinal Substances: Dissent, Warren Burger

The obscenity test: Miller v. California (1973)

The Three Pronged Test: Warren E. Burger

Obscene material is not constitutionally protected

The test for whether a work is obscene (and thus not constitutionally protected) is that

(a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest [i.e., sexual desires],

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law [i.e., a state law prohibits that type of depiction]; and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value (i.e., such works are constitutionally protected).

No national standard is needed

Local community standards are the guideline

Obscenity is not a Constitutional Issue: Dissent, William O. Douglas

“obscenity” is not mentioned in the Constitution or Bill of Rights

First amendment freedom of the press is not specify or exempt obscenity

The right to homosexual activity: Lawrence v. Texas (2003)

Sex as a Liberty of Private and Intimate Conduct: Anthony Kennedy

Problem with Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) which upheld the constitutionality of states to criminalize and punish homosexual sodomy

Historical Laws regarding Sodomy

Early sodomy laws were against men and women alike and aimed to “prohibit nonprocreative sexual activity more generally”

Sodomy laws were not enforced against consenting adults acting in private, but, rather, against sexual attackers and pedophiles as a way of punishing them if they didn’t technically commit rape

“American laws targeting same-sex couples did not develop until the last third of the 20th century” (nine states since 1970)

Against Mandating Personal Moral Codes

While there has historically been widespread moral condemnation of homosexuality, the majority may not use “the power of the State to enforce these views on the whole society”

Discrimination of Homosexuality is Legal: Dissent, Antonin Scalia

The majority opinion “has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda,” and see the issue as one of combating discrimination against gays in public and private spheres

Issues about homosexuality should be determined by the majority through state laws, not by a court that is impatient for change

A benefit of leaving it to states to decide:

No Federal Restrictions on Gay Marriage: United States v. Windsor (2013)

DOMA Violates States’ Rights and Individual Equality: Anthony Kennedy

While marriage is within the authority of separate states, federal laws can regulate within limits the meaning of marriage in order to further federal policy

But DOMA goes too far and targets a class of people that several states sought to protect

Marriage is not just about sex, but also about a larger more enduring personal bond

DOMA “places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage”

DOMA Does not Violate States’ Rights: Dissent, Samuel Alito

The Constitution doesn’t speak to the issue of same-sex marriage and leaves the issue to the people though state and federal representatives

DOMA does not encroach on the prerogatives of the States, and allows state-sanctioned same-sex marriage; DOMA only defines “a class of persons to whom federal law extends certain special benefits”

 

ABSTINENCE ONLY EDUCATION: STAN E. WEED AND SHELBY KNOX

Pro: Stan E. Weed

Characteristics of Successful Programs

1. Adequate Dosage

2. Mediating Factors

3. Messenger

4. Evaluation

Medical Accuracy

A lot of sex education material is outdated.

E.g., condom use doesn’t prevent HPV (and cervical cancer); the CDC

An emphasis on information is not an effective strategy for changing adolescent behavior.

Changing Behavior—Consistent Condom Use and Abstinence

Three reasons why adolescents don’t consistently use condoms

Abstinence programs face a challenge from movies, music, peers, Internet pornography, which constantly push a sexual message

Why Not “Abstinence-Plus”?

1. Diluted Message

2. Separation of Messages

3. Withholding Information

4. Explicit Content

5. “Plus” is Not Effective

6. Contraceptive Availability Elsewhere

Conclusion

Contra: Shelby Knox

Purity Pledges: Efficacy and Side-Effects

Problems with purity pledges

Abstinence-Only Programming in the Public Schools: What’s Actually Being Taught?

Problems with abstinence-only programs

Sexuality Education: What Works? What Doesn’t?

Conclusion: Eliminate Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs

 

CLASSIC PHILOSOPHERS ON DRUNKENNESS

Aquinas: the sin of drunkenness

Whether drunkenness is a sin?

Two meanings of drunkenness

Whether drunkenness is a mortal sin?

Three case regarding the immoderate use and desire of wine

Whether drunkenness excuses from sin?

Three cases

Montaigne: The Advantages of Drunkenness

In favor of immoderate drinking

It is a vice, but not as bad as others (both regarding its effects on society and one’s conscience)

Don’t be a connoisseur, but drink indifferently with delight

Limitations of Drunkenness

Montainge’s stomach can’t withstand lots of alcohol, and he only drinks to wash down meals

Plato’s view of drinking

Drinking and old age

Whether a wise man be overcome by wine

Pufendorf: duties and responsibilities regarding drunkenness

Duties to Oneself

To the mind:

To the body:

Responsibility while Drunk

Drunkenness and crime

Drunkenness and promises

Drunkenness and reparations

Kant: drunkenness an animalistic vice

Temperance regarding bodily pleasures

Duty to care for the body, which involves temperance regarding the pleasures of the body

Animalistic and satanic vices

Satanic vices (goes far beyond regular vices):

Animalistic (we lower ourselves to animals):

Drunkenness is not as bad as gluttony since drunkenness at least makes one sociable; but drunkenness in private is as bad as gluttony

John Stuart Mill: the liberty to be drunk

Drunkenness and duties to oneself

Violating duties to oneself can only be punishable when they violate duties to others

Criticisms of the liberty to be drunk

Criticism: no one is isolated, and private conduct spills over into the public arena

Criticism: misconduct injures personal happiness, and thus the law may prohibit “experiments in living” that are shown to have failed

Responses to criticisms

When private conduct causes public harm, it should be punished, but only for its public harm

Can’t punish someone for being drunk, but can for a soldier or policeman to be drunk on duty

Drunkenness can also be punished when it tends to make a person violent

 

SUPREME COURT CASES ON DRUGS

Drug testing in hospitals: Ferguson v. City of Charleston

Unreasonable Search: Stevens

The issue: nonconsensual search with no valid warrant as a means of deterring pregnant women in prenatal care to not use cocaine

 “The Fourth Amendment’s general prohibition against nonconsensual, warrantless, and suspicionless searches necessarily applies to such a policy”

Dissent: Scalia

The issue: is not about whether the hospital was protecting the lives of unborn children, or whether the issue should be determined democratically by Charleston; it involves whether the hospital’s policy violates the 4th amendment’ prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures

This case is no different than when physicians or psychologists report information to the police

The police’s actions were also justified by the special needs doctrine:

“Only in those exceptional circumstances in which special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirement impracticable, is a court entitled to substitute its balancing of interests for that of the Framers.” (Blackmun, New Jersey v. T.L.O (1985)

Medical Marijuana: Gonzales v. Raich

Medical Marijuana and Drug Trafficking: Stevens

The issue: whether Congress’s controlled substances act legitimately applies to the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana for medical purposes pursuant to California under the Commerce clause of Article 1 of the constitution

Decision: Congress has a rational basis for believing that locally grown marijuana could be diverted into the illicit drug trade and “failure to regulate the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana would leave a gaping hole in the CSA”

Dissent: O'Connor

The majority decision undermines the federalist view that states are laboratories to “try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country

The ruling “gives Congress a perverse incentive to legislate broadly pursuant to the Commerce Clause”

Drugs and religion: Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal

Background

Issue: the UDV church ceremonially drinks hoasca, a hallucinogenic tea; it’s illegal under the controlled substances act as a Schedule 1 drug; the UDV claims it has a right to under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)

Drug Restriction burdens on Religion: Roberts

Peyote: 35 year old federal law exempts religious use of Peyote from the Schedule I ban; hoasca is similar and should be permitted

The government claims that the controlled substances act can be effective only if it isn’t undercut by religious exemptions; the Peyote exemption does not undercut government restriction of Peyote for non-Indians

 

DRUG HARM REDUCTION: ROBERT NEWMAN AND ROBERT E. PETERSON

Pro: Robert G. Newman

Introduction

“Legalization” is totally distinct from “harm reduction.”

Addiction is a “chronic medical condition,”

There is no such thing as safe drug abuse

Basic Concepts -- and Misconceptions

Four or so concepts and misconceptions

Effectiveness: Compared to What?

Standards for alcoholism are realistic: one day at a time; alcoholism can never be cured

Standards for drug addiction are unrealistically high: a cure

 

The Documented Impact of Harm Reduction: Personal Experience Leading To Personal Conviction

Examples of positive results of harm reduction policies

Examples of negative results from no harm reduction policies

Conclusion

“Denial of harm reduction services is not only inhumane, but suicidal”

 

Contra: Robert E. Peterson

Perspective is Important

“The chief criteria for any drug policy should be what impact the policy will have upon youth and families”

What is the “drug problem?”

The drug problem depends on one’s perspective: harm to infants, children, teens, young adults

The Harm Reduction Origin

The “Black Blessing”

Making Drug Peace

First assumption of harm reduction:

History Lessons

Examples from history of solutions to the drug problem

Is Drug Use, Drug Abuse?

Second assumption of harm reduction:

Is Drug Use the Problem?

Drug use is the cause of most drug-related harm: impaired judgment and physical ability

True Compassion

It is unethical to accept addiction, provide needles, and fail to promote treatment and rehabilitation

Does Harm Reduction Benefit the User?

Does Harm Reduction Cause Harm?

Examples from Europe about harm reduction policies

Harm Reduction-Impact on Drug Prevention

Harm reduction and drug prevention can never be partners

From the Mouth of Babes?

Human dignity and liberty is based upon human free will and reason. We cannot act, think, and choose fully as persons when our capacities are impaired.

 

CLASSIC PHILOSOPHERS ON FREE SPEECH AND CENSORSHIP: PLATO, MILTON, SPINOZA, MILL

Plato: Censoring Art

Censoring Corrupting Lyrics

The tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts

Lies in literature need to be censored to protect children

Examples from Homer and Hesiod

Beauty Produces Good Actions, Ugliness Evil Actions

Youth will be positively influenced by growing up around beautiful and graceful things

Milton: The Liberty of Unlicensed Printing

Knowledge requires open debate

Open debate is needed for pushing the boundaries of knowledge and discovering new truths

The value of even wrong ideas

Knowledge of good and evil are so intertwined that you can’t have one without the other

The Slippery Slope of Censorship

If censors restricted one kind of expression, they’d need to restrict them all, and then there would be countless censors monitoring everything

Spinoza: The Natural Right of Thought and Expression

Governments Cannot Control People’s Minds

No one can willingly give up his “natural right of free reason and judgment”

Governments cannot control our words

People cannot be compelled to speak only according to the dictates of the supreme power

The government’s role “is not to change men from rational beings into beasts or puppets” (ibid), but instead to allow us to develop our identities and use our reason unshackled.

Summary of argument

Six points

Mill: Free Expression and the Quest for Truth

Importance of controversial opinions

The world loses when intimidating people from following independent trains of thought

Benefits of allowing false opinions

To silence even false opinion assumes infallibility

Benefits of critiquing true opinion

Debates over true opinions are important to keep them alive (as opposed to a dead dogma)

Criticism: it makes no sense to say that truth prevails only when it is disputed

Reply:

Four benefits of freedom of opinion (i.e., “the mental well-being of humankind”)

SUPREME COURT CASES ON DRUGS

Drug testing in hospitals: Ferguson v. City of Charleston

Unreasonable Search: Stevens

Issue: nonconsensual search with no valid warrant as a means of deterring pregnant women in prenatal care to not use cocaine

Hospital claims their “motive was benign rather than punitive”

“The Fourth Amendment’s general prohibition against nonconsensual, warrantless, and suspicionless searches necessarily applies to such a policy”

Dissent: Scalia

The issue: is not about whether the hospital was protecting the lives of unborn children, or whether the issue should be determined democratically by Charleston; it involves whether the hospital’s policy violates the 4th amendment’ prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures

No violation of the 4th amendment

There were no unconsensual searches

The special needs doctrine would have validated those searches even if they were unconsensual

This case is no different than when physicians or psychologists report information to the police

The police’s actions were also justified by the special needs doctrine:

“Only in those exceptional circumstances in which special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirement impracticable, is a court entitled to substitute its balancing of interests for that of the Framers.” (Blackmun, New Jersey v. T.L.O (1985)

Medical Marijuana: Gonzales v. Raich

Medical Marijuana and Drug Trafficking: Stevens

The issue: whether Congress’s controlled substances act legitimately applies to the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana for medical purposes pursuant to California under the Commerce clause of Article 1 of the constitution

Decision: Congress has a rational basis for believing that locally grown marijuana could be diverted into the illicit drug trade and “failure to regulate the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana would leave a gaping hole in the CSA”

Dissent: O'Connor

The majority decision undermines the federalist view that states are laboratories to “try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country

The ruling “gives Congress a perverse incentive to legislate broadly pursuant to the Commerce Clause”

Drugs and religion: Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal

Background

Issue: the UDV church ceremonially drinks hoasca, a hallucinogenic tea; it’s illegal under the controlled substances act as a Schedule 1 drug; the UDV claims it has a right to under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)

Controlled substances act: indicates a list of drugs that are illegal under several schedules, with Schedule 1 being the worst (high potential for abuse, not safe, no medical benefit)

RFRA: reinstates the “Sherbert test” for religious use of drugs  (Sherbert v. Verner, 1963), which was reversed in Employment division v. Smith (1980)

Sherbert test: use of otherwise illegal drugs for religious purposes is permitted based on whether (a) the person has a claim involving a sincere religious belief, and (b) the government action is a substantial burden on the person’s ability to act on that belief.

Justified government interference under RFRA: the government can interfere with the religious use of drugs only if (a) the burden is necessary for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest,” that is, when it is more than routine and does more than simply improve government efficiency; and (b) the rule must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

Drug Restriction burdens on Religion: Roberts

Peyote: 35 year old federal law exempts religious use of Peyote from the Schedule I ban; hoasca is similar and should be permitted

The government claims that the controlled substances act can be effective only if it isn’t undercut by religious exemptions; the Peyote exemption does not undercut government restriction of Peyote for non-Indians

 

DRUG HARM REDUCTION: ROBERT NEWMAN AND ROBERT E. PETERSON

Pro: Robert G. Newman

Introduction

“Legalization” is totally distinct from “harm reduction.”

Addiction is a “chronic medical condition,”

There is no such thing as safe drug abuse

Basic Concepts -- and Misconceptions

Most addicts are by physical craving or need, not by hedonism, sometimes it is genetically predisposed

Similar to addictions to smoking and alcohol

Addicts voluntarily seek treatment

Addicts care about their health and use harm reduction initiatives (e.g., needle exchange services)

Effectiveness: Compared to What?

Standards for alcoholism are realistic: one day at a time; alcoholism can never be cured

This is consistent with other physical and mental ailments

Standards for drug addiction are unrealistically high: a cure

e.g., methadone substitution for heroin is dismissed since it is not a cure

Other harm reduction just decreases negative consequences, but doesn’t cure (e.g., needle exchange)

The double standard is not justified by the fact that drug addiction is self-inflicted; so too with alcoholism

In few areas of health is there a realistic hope of completely eliminating harm

The Documented Impact of Harm Reduction: Personal Experience Leading To Personal Conviction

Positive results of harm reduction policies in NYC (1970s) and Hong Kong

Negative results from no harm reduction policies in Russia

Conclusion

“Denial of harm reduction services is not only inhumane, but suicidal”

 

Contra: Robert E. Peterson

Perspective is Important

“The chief criteria for any drug policy should be what impact the policy will have upon youth and families”

What is the “drug problem?”

The drug problem depends on one’s perspective: harm to infants, children, teens, young adults

The Harm Reduction Origin

The notion of “harm reduction” was a carefully chosen expression to replace “drug legalization”

The “Black Blessing”

A major drug law reformer referred to AIDS as a “black blessing”

The interests of youth and children were not at the core of the harm reduction philosophy

A lot of harm reduction is closet legalization

Making Drug Peace

First assumption of harm reduction: the drug problem cannot be solved so we must accommodate and accept drug use

Other social problems are entrenched, but we don’t give up on them

History Lessons

History demonstrates that drug problems can be solved, in Sweden, Japan, China, and U.S.

Is Drug Use, Drug Abuse?

Second assumption of harm reduction: drug use is not always drug abuse and that drug use is not the primary cause of drug related harm

The primary use of drugs is to get stoned, and that is abuse

Is Drug Use the Problem?

Drug use is the cause of most drug-related harm: impaired judgment and physical ability

There is no safe illegal drug use. Drug use intoxicates and intoxication impairs reason and increases the risk and/or harm to self and others.

True Compassion

It is unethical to accept addiction, provide needles, and fail to promote treatment and rehabilitation

There is ample evidence that treatment and rehabilitation can be effective without needle exchange

Does Harm Reduction Benefit the User?

There is no convincing evidence that HIV or hepatitis is reduced by needle exchange

Does Harm Reduction Cause Harm?

The history of harm reduction demonstrates that the policy hurts youth, the public, and drug addicts and users

European countries have reversed experiments with harm reduction policies

Harm Reduction-Impact on Drug Prevention

Harm reduction and drug prevention can never be partners

When perception of drug harm decreases, drug use increases

From the Mouth of Babes?

Human dignity and liberty is based upon human free will and reason. We cannot act, think, and choose fully as persons when our capacities are impaired.

 

CLASSIC PHILOSOPHERS ON FREE SPEECH AND CENSORSHIP: PLATO, MILTON, SPINOZA, MILL

 

Plato: Censoring Art

Censoring Corrupting Lyrics

The tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts

Lies in literature need to be censored to protect children

e.g., Homer’s and Hesiod’s view of the Gods who ruthlessly quarrel and war with each other

Children cannot distinguish between literal and allegorical meanings of words

Beauty Produces Good Actions, Ugliness Evil Actions

Artists who depict vice, intemperance, meanness and indecency should be expelled from the country

Youth will be positively influenced by growing up around beautiful and graceful things

Milton: The Liberty of Unlicensed Printing

Knowledge requires open debate

Open debate is needed for pushing the boundaries of knowledge and discovering new truths

The value of even wrong ideas

Knowledge of good and evil are so intertwined that you can’t have one without the other

The Slippery Slope of Censorship

If censors restricted one kind of expression, they’d need to restrict them all, and then there would be countless censors monitoring everything

Spinoza: The Natural Right of Free Speech

Governments Cannot Control People’s Minds

No one can willingly give up his “natural right of free reason and judgment”

Governments cannot control our words

People cannot be compelled to speak only according to the dictates of the supreme power

“Not even the most experienced, to say nothing of the multitude, know how to keep silent”

There are limits, though, to speech, since unlimited speech can harm the government

The government’s role “is not to change men from rational beings into beasts or puppets” (ibid), but instead to allow us to develop our identities and use our reason unshackled.

Summary of argument

1. “It is impossible to deprive men of the liberty of saying what they think” (TPT 20.71).

2. Free speech can be granted for everyone without injuring the governmental authority, so long as people don’t act contrary to the existing laws.

3. Free speech can be exercised without disrupting public peace

4. People can exercise free speech without risking their loyalty to the government

5. Laws are entirely useless when they aim to restrict the expression of purely speculative ideas

6. Free speech is in fact necessary for the preservation of public peace:

Mill: Free Expression and the Quest for Truth

Importance of controversial opinions

The world loses when intimidating people from following independent trains of thought

Benefits of allowing false opinions

To silence even false opinion assumes infallibility

Benefits of critiquing true opinion

Debates over true opinions are important to keep them alive (as opposed to a dead dogma)

Criticism: it makes no sense to say that truth prevails only when it is disputed

Reply: when opinions consolidate concerning truths opposition may disappear, but we should contrive dissentions so we know the grounds of the belief

Four benefits of freedom of opinion (i.e., “the mental well-being of humankind”)

Suppressed views may in fact be true

Even an erroneous view may contain some truth

Even a true view will be viewed with prejudice unless it is vigorously defended

The meaning of the truth will become lost if it is not vigorously defended

SUPREME COURT CASES ON FREE SPEECH

Overthrowing The Government: Gitlow v. New York (1925)

The Dangers of Revolutionary Utterances: Edward Terry Sanford

Free speech and press are not unlimited

“a State may punish utterances endangering the foundations of organized government and threatening its overthrow by unlawful means”

“this freedom does not deprive a State of the primary and essential right of self preservation”

States don’t need to wait until it’s too late to act

“A single revolutionary spark may kindle a fire that, smouldering for a time, may burst into a sweeping and destructive conflagration”

Dissent: Holmes

The case did not pose a clear and present danger (as per Schnek v. U.S.)

The publication was not advocating an immediate uprising, but one at some indefinite time in the future

Criminal Organizations: Whitney v. California (1927)

States’ Interests in Preventing Criminal Organizations: Edward Terry Sanford

Freedom of speech is not an absolute right, and States may prosecute those whose utterances “incite to crime, disturb the public peace, or endanger the foundations of organized government”

This right of the State “may not be declared unconstitutional unless it is an arbitrary or unreasonable attempt to exercise the authority vested in the State in the public interest.

Imminent Danger and Time to Answer: Louis Brandeis (Concurrence)

The founding fathers valued free speech as a means of securing happiness and discovering political truth

 “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

Even if there is imminent danger, the evil must be serious

Fighting Words: Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1941)

Words that Inflict Injury: Frank Murphy

“the right of free speech is not absolute at all times and under all circumstances.”

New Hampshire’s law did not violate the 14th amendment since it narrowly targeted “the use in a public place of words likely to cause a breach of the peace”

Free Expression In Schools: Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)

Insufficiency of Mere Discomfort: Abe Fortas

Students speech cannot be restricted merely “to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint”

Students retain their rights

Dissent: Hugo Black

Students cause a lot of violence in society

School discipline, like parental discipline, is an integral and important part of training our children to be good citizens

Flag Burning: Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Expressive Conduct is Protected: William J. Brennan

The government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

This applies to expressive acts, not simply verbal expressions

Dissent: William Rehnquist

The flag is not just another symbol

For more than 200 years the flag has held a unique symbolic value

 

 

CLASSIC PHILOSOPHERS ON ABORTION: Aristotle and Aquinas

Aristotle: fetal development and abortion

Fetal development (history of animals, 7.3)

Male fetuses take shape at week 40, female ones at week 90, prior to that they are undifferentiated

Abortion (politics, 7.16)

Deformed infants should be killed through exposure

Where there is population control, excess children should not be killed, but abortions should take place before life and sensation occur

Aquinas: fetuses and the human soul

The sensitive soul is transmitted with the semen

Sensitive souls are not created by God, since this would make them eternal

The sensitive soul is passed on from the parents through the semen

The intellectual soul is produced from god, not semen

Different theories of the relation between the vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual souls

 “three souls of which one would be in potentiality to another”

The earlier souls develop into the higher ones

The correct view:

Earlier souls become corrupted and replaced by the next soul, which contains a more perfect version the early ones

the intellectual soul is created by God at the end of human generation, and this soul is at the same time sensitive and nutritive, the pre-existing forms being corrupted.”

 

SUPREME COURT CASES ON ABORTION

Reaffirming Rowe: Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

Retaining the Essential Holding of Rowe

Rowe reaffirmed based on institutional integrity and respect for precedent

Three principles:

Disagreement and Preserving Liberty

People of good conscience can disagree about abortion;

“Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code”

When reasonable people disagree, the government can decide either way, except when constitutionally protected liberty is at issue

Intimate Nature of the Woman’s Decision

Abortion is a decision that affects others,

But it is so personal that “the destiny of the woman must be shaped to a large extent on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society”

Five Guiding Principles:

Dissent: Scalia

When reasonable people disagree, the government can go either way, except when a protected liberty is at issue

Abortion is a liberty, but not constitutionally protected:

“(1) the Constitution says absolutely nothing about it, and (2) the longstanding traditions of American society have permitted it to be legally proscribed”

Rowe did not resolve the issue, but made it worse

 

EMBRIONIC PERSONHOOD AND BIOLOGICAL CONTINUITY: LEON R. KASS

Introduction

Moral standing of human embryos is critical to stem cell research, abortion, and other issues

Biological findings are necessary but not sufficient for moral judgments about embryos

Continuity and discontinuity

Biological continuity issue: whether lines of distinction can be drawn between embryos and adults

The Case for Continuity

Conception is the only boundary regarding the moral worth of a human

Criticism: places too much emphasis on genetic identity

Criticism: embryos outside the womb can’t develop without technical intervention

The Case for Meaningful Discontinuity and Developing Moral Status

Biological continuities are based on important features about the meaning of humanity

Primitive streak: the earliest structure of the vertebrae column (day 14)

Nervous system: important sensation and pain

Human form: “the human form truly signals the presence of a human life”

Special Respect

Early embryos are not persons, but are also not mere collections of cells in tissue culture

Embryos used only in medically valuable research

Criticisms

Special Cases and Exceptions

IVF “Spares”

Unused frozen embryos: most will not be used and thus die; we should “redeem some possible good from their existence and unavoidable demise”

The embryos are already lost, and we may be justified in killing to bring some further good

Criticisms:

Natural Embryo Loss

In unassisted reproduction, miscarriages are high (perhaps 80%)

We don’t mourn the death of these, and that “should teach us something about the limited significance of human embryos in the earliest stages”

Criticisms:

Prediction of Non-Viability of Embryos

We might create non-viable embryos for research, or select only nonviable IVF embryos

Creation of Non-Viable Embryo-Like Artifacts

Creating a thing that produces embryonic stem cells, but does is not but lackes the “qualities and capabilities essential to be designated a human life in process”

Criticisms:

 

CLASSIC PHILOSOPHERS ON SUICIDE: AUGUSTINE, AQUINAS, HUME, KANT

Augustine: Against Suicide

Suicide violates the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”

This commandment isn’t qualified as is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (i.e. “against thy neighbor”)

Suicide not Justified by High-mindedness

Not justified by high-mindedness, such as personal suffering, fear of possible punishment, wanting to attain immortality (e.g., Cleombrotus)

Aquinas: Against Suicide

Three arguments against suicide

Against Common Reasons for Suicide

Limits of Free will: doesn’t apply to killing oneself

Should not kill oneself to pass to a happier life, or to escape any unhappiness

Hume: In Defense of Suicide

Suicide and Duties to God

God established his providence (or divine rule) of the world through two laws:

Law of matter and motion: regulates physical stuff

Law of animal mind: regulates the purposeful action of the animal world

Normal human activity involves imposing our own purposes on the physical world, such as when we alter the flow of a river

Suicide is just another instance of altering the physical world (our bodies, specifically) for our own purpose, and thus consistent with divine providence

Suicide and Duties to Others

My responsibility to do good is reciprocally related to benefits I receive from society; but when I am dead, I can no longer receive the benefits, and thus have no duty to do good

Suicide and Duties to Oneself

All suicides have been done for good personal reasons since it involves overcoming our natural fear of death

Kant: Against Suicide

Two Common Arguments for Suicide

Suicide is permissible as a matter of freedom, so long as it does not violate the rights of others

Kant’s criticism:

Suicide is sometimes virtuous (e.g., Cato)

Kant’s criticism:

Suicide Compared to Death through War and Intemperance

War:

Intemperance:

Suicide against the inherent value of Humanity

People are entrusted with their lives, which have a uniquely inherent value

Suicide not Heroic

Suicide was considered noble in Roman times (e.g., stoics)

Kant’s criticism:

Kant’s criticism:

Suicide against religion

God’s intention is to preserve life, and we must regulate our activities in conformity with it

 

SUPREME COURT CASES ON THE RIGHT TO DIE

Living Wills and Discontinuing Nutrition: Cruzan V. Director, Missouri Department of Health (1990)

Majority Opinion: Informed Consent and Right to Refuse Treatment: Justice Rehnquist

Informed consent is required for medical treatment, based on the notion of bodily integrity

Corollary: the right to refuse medical treatment

Karen Quinlan

NJ Supreme Court held that Quinlan “had a right of privacy grounded in the Federal Constitution to terminate treatment”

Convincing Evidence Requirement

Missouri allows surrogate decisions for removing a patient’s water and nutrition, but there must be clear and convincing evidence that it reflects the patient’s interests

Dissenting Opinion: Primacy of Individual’s Interest (Justice Brennan)

“Cruzan has a fundamental right to be free of unwanted artificial nutrition and hydration, which right is not outweighed by any interests of the State”

Affirmative reasons to forego treatment:

State’s interest does not outweigh Cruzan’s:

Missouri’s safeguard: imposes a markedly asymmetrical evidentiary burden

Assisted Suicide and Withholding Treatment: Vacco v. Quill (1997)

Issue: whether the distinction between withholding lifesaving medical treatment and assisted suicide is arbitrary and irrational.

It is legally permissible to withhold life-saving treatment in all States, yet assisted suicide, which is essentially the same thing, is illegal in most States. Thus, laws against assisted suicide arbitrarily discriminate against some patients, and thus violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution

Majority Opinion: Assisted Suicide Distinct from Withholding Treatment (Justice Rehnquist)

No discrimination: Everyone is permitted to withhold life sustaining treatment, no one is permitted to assist suicide

Distinction between withholding life sustaining treatment and assist suicide are widely accepted

Causation:

Intent:

Distinctions based on intent are common

 

Assisted Suicide, Liberty and State Interests: Washington v. Glucksberg (1997)

Issue: whether prohibiting assisted suicide infringes constitutionally protected liberty

Whether a State’s interests might outweigh the liberty of the patient

Majority Opinion: Primacy of State Interests (Justice Rehnquist)

Liberty

Committing suicide is not a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.

State interests

States must have assisted suicide ban rationally related to state interests

Interest in preserving human life

Interest in protecting the integrity of the medical profession, and assisted suicide undermines this

 

ANIMAL RIGHTS EXTREMISM: PRO AND CONTRA: JERRY VLASAK AND JOHN E. LEWIS

Introduction: Senator James Inhofe

Animal rights extremist organizations: ALF, ELF, SHAC

“committed over 1,200 acts of terror and over $200 million in damages”

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC):

animal rights extremist organization which targets Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), a NJ based company that conducts experiments on animals

Harms businesses, may drive such research overseas to China and India

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (U.S. Code 18.43):

A bill that enhances the 1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act by increasing penalties, broadening the definition of “animal enterprise” and addressing “tertiary targeting”

Pro: Jerry Vlasak

Animal Liberation Press Office: seeks to clarify the motivation and philosophy behind these actions taken [by animal rights activists] in defense of our animal brothers and sisters

Huntingdon Life Sciences kills 500 animals a day “poisoning and torturing animals to death with household products, pesticides, drugs, herbicides, food colorings, sweeteners, oven cleaner and cosmetics”

“An estimated 12,800 animals died in the research of the sugar substitute, Splenda, including pregnant rabbits, beagle dogs and primates.”

Wastes “hundreds of millions of dollars doing unscientific drug testing and experimenting on animals”

Contra: John E. Lewis

Two Targets of Animal Rights Extremists

Goal of animal rights extremism: harass, intimidate, destroy property, inflict economic harm, with the ultimate aim of terminating normal business operations

Target 1:

Target 2 (secondary or tertiary targets):

Examples of Effectiveness

SHAC has forced well over 100 companies to sever ties with HLS

Question and Answer

Humans and Animals Morally Equal

Current laws regarding experimentation of animals are like laws permitting slavery

Assassinating Animal Researchers

Vlasak’s position

Lautenberg’s criticisms

Experiments on Rats and Mice

Experimentation on rats and mice a hugely wasteful use of scarce resource dollars that we have in the medical industry

Xenotransplantation

Human organ transplants are difficult, and Xenotransplantation won’t work any time soon

Conclusion

Lautenberg:

HLS is trying to save human lives, even if they don’t do everything right

Inhofe:

“It's either going to be the lives of these animals or human life,” but “we have a witness who equates animals lives with human lives, then that takes away all the argument”

 

SUPREME COURT CASES ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Suing on Behalf of the Environment: Sierra Club v. Morton (1972)

Majority Opinion: Requirement to Show Personal Injury (Justice Stewart)

Issue: whether the Sierra Club has a legal standing

Aesthetic damage is a legitimate justification for suit

Sierra Club: special interest groups like themselves, which has a unique commitment to environmental protection, can sue as an interested party

Criticism: the Administrative Procedure Act, under which the Sierra Club was suing, requires that a person can sue on behalf of the environment if that person himself has been injured by aesthetic damage.

Criticism: this opens the door to any person or group trying to impose their convictions based solely on their special interest.

Dissenting Opinion: Legal Rights for the Environment (Justice Douglas)

If the environment was granted the status of legal personhood, then environmental advocates could sue companies like Disney based on the legal standing of the environment itself

Addressing Global Warming: Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (2007)

Majority Opinion: Slow Progress Needed (Justice Stevens)

EPA does not dispute the existence of a causal connection between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

EPA’s argument:

Criticism:

Dissenting Opinion: No Clear Causal Connection (Justice Roberts)

Causal relationship according to Massachusetts:

Cards emit carbon dioxide; greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and injures; without new vehicle standards global warming is higher than it otherwise would have been; once EPA changes course, the trend will be reversed

Criticism: this ignores the complexities of global warming; EPA standards would control only a fraction of 4% of global emissions

Harm to Marine Mammals: Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council (2008)

Majority Opinion: Military outweighs Environmental interests (Roberts)

Navy Sonar training vital to national security, and this strongly outweighs the interests of environmentalists

Dissenting Opinion: Significant Harm to Marine Mammals (Ginsburg)

Harm to marine life is serious, as they Navy’s own environmental assessment indicates

The Navy’s interests are strong, “But those interests do not authorize the Navy to violate a statutory command, especially when recourse to the Legislature remains open”

 

PREVENTING POLITICAL INTERFERENCE WITH GLOBAL WARMING SCIENCE: PRO AND CONTRA

Pro: Francesca T. Grifo

Political interference is harming federal science and threatening the health and safety of Americans

Scientific Integrity

Scientific input should always be weighted from an objective and impartial perspective, and presidents and administrators agree

Examples Misuse of Science

Scientist Surveys

Atmosphere of Pressure

Political Interference with Climate Science

Unacceptably large numbers of federal climate scientists personally experienced instances of interference over the past five years

Barriers to Communication

Federal scientists have a constitutional right to speak about their scientific research, and administration's preferred policies undermine these basic rights

Inadequate Funding

Poor Morale

Morale among federal climate scientists is generally poor

Recommendations

Until this political interference ends, the United States will not be able to fully protect Americans and the world from the dangers of a warming planet

Creating systems to ensure long-term independent and accessible science will require the energies of the entire federal government

Pro: Roger A. Pielke

Politics and Science Have Always Mixed

Examples of six presidents prior to Bush who manipulated science for political ends

Difference today with mixing politics and science

Science in Policy is Unavoidably Political

Choice of scientific language:

Choices When Issuing Press Releases and Reports

The decision to issue a press release necessarily involves extra-scientific considerations such as the likelihood of making news (often involves funding rather than political ideology)

Science Advisory Committee Empanelment

Considerations of politics are unavoidable in the empanelling process in science and technology advisory panels

Scientific Cherry Picking and Mischaracterizations are a Part of Politics

e.g., selecting studies that link global warming with increase of hurricanes

Scientists Have Contributed to the Politicization of Science

Scientists themselves become partisans in the debate

 

ECO-TERRORISM: PRO AND CONTRA—CRAIG ROSEBRAUGH AND RICHARD B. BERMAN

Introduction: Scott Mcinnis

Acts of eco-terrorism have largely gone unpunished

The perpetrators are hardened criminals, not nature-loving hippies

Their tactics are condemned by mainstream environmental groups

Pro: Craig Rosebraugh

Early Influences

Reexamination of History

U.S. History: a distorted creation by white males

Social and political oppression: linked with animal oppression

Industrial revolution:

National Forests:

Leased to commercial loggers who decimated them

Only 4% of old growth forests remain

Environmental movement

Has failed to produce the necessary protection needed to ensure that life on this planet will continue to survive

Positive change in the US only comes about through civil disobedience

Earth Liberation Front

ELF formed in 1997: nonviolent property destruction

Wrongly labeled “terrorism”

Government Harassment

Was subpoenaed to testify

The hearing wasn’t for discussing the threats facing the health of the natural environment, but only in how to catch ecoterrorists

Conclusion

“I fully praise those individuals who take direct action, by any means necessary, to stop the destruction of the natural world and threats to all life.”

More such organizations are needed

Contra: Richard B. Berman

Eco-Terrorism a Serious Problem

Not peaceful civil disobedience, but criminal acts (1,000 documented ones)

Supporters of Eco-Terrorist Groups

Eco-terrorists get support from above-ground activist organizations: PETA funded ALF

Question and Answer

Congressman Inslee:we need to be fairly cautious and careful on who we convict without adequate evidence”

Berman is pointing accusatory fingers at groups that he is ideologically against, but hasn’t filed criminal charges against those groups

Berman’s response

Congressman Inslee:

Quote from Berman Our offensive strategy is to shoot the messenger. We’ve got to attack their credibility as spokespersons”

Berman’s response