[SOLUTION] Social Justice Legislation
Before composing any essays this week, carefully read Sections XXVII-XXXVII (pages 139-179) in the Nordhoff text, which can be found under the “Content” tab above. Read this section carefully, as it covers many topics of great importance to the nation, like “Protectionism, Free Trade, Strikes, Unions, and Social Justice legislation like Civil Rights and Prohibition laws.” After reading the Nordhoff passage, compose and upload an original essay which deals with the following issue: 327. In legislating upon the use of spirituous liquors, a wise law-maker would remember that the craving for stimulants is universal among mankind; that spirituous liquors and wines are of important use in diseases, and when moderately used are doubtless of service in preventing some diseases; that the right of a man to decide whether or not he needs a stimulant cannot be declared by any general law, because each case must necessarily be judged upon its own features, and it must therefore practically be left to himself; that it is not a function of law to prevent a man injuring himselfelse the government would have to interfere in every act of our lives: but only to prevent him from injuring others; and that, finally, a law prohibiting the sale and use of an article in universal demand cannot be carried into effect without vexatious and justly hateful searches in private houses and interference with individual desires and tastes. To a wise law-maker, therefore, greatly as he might be impressed with the evils arising to society out of the misuse of spirituous liquors, a general law totally prohibiting their use and sale within a state, or the United States, would seem inexpedient, because it could not be enforced, and, if it could be, would involve an unjust and vexatious interference with individual rights. In this passage, we find Nordhoff discussing an issue being debated in the late 1860’s: the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. His argument was that the prohibition of a product with near universal demand, and which has inarguable benefits if used moderately, creates a law which unnecessarily limits personal freedom and results in unacceptable invasion of personal privacy. As we all know, the nation did prohibit the use of alcohol, and all of Nordhoff’s predictions came true concerning the loss of freedoms which arise from government trying to prevent people from harming themselves. Prohibition was rather quickly repealed. For purposes of your essay for this week, re-read the Nordhoff passage, but substitute the word “marijuana” each time he speaks of alcohol, liquor or wine. Does his analysis still ring true? Does government overreach its proper limits and needlessly infringe upon personal liberties when they imprison individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana–a product in great demand with indisputable medical benefits? In a related example, while Mayor of New York City, Mike Bloomberg outlawed the sale of “Big Gulp” sodas because people must be prevented from making themselves obese, and people must be protected from the scourge of too large soft drinks. Earlier this year, Mike Bloomberg ran for President as a Democrat, and his ads tout his promise to restrict private ownership of guns. If elected, would he abide by Nordhoff’s definition of “wise legislators”, or could we expect a rash of new laws to protect us from ourselves? By the end of Sunday, compose and upload an essay of 350-500 words which addresses the dual topics of “marijuana” laws, restrictions on sizes of soft drinks, and gun confiscation in light of Nordhoff’s prediction of the outcome of such governmental intrusion into personal liberties. By the end of Week Four on Wednesday night, compose and upload a responsive post to one of your peers. Pick someone whose position differs from your own, then respectfully and rationally argue for your position.
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