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[–] PsychoticKumquat 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

I'll try to answer these. Please don't downvoat me to hell, I just want a discussion. Let's jaw.

Keep in mind that I respond to these questions concerning the nature of government by assuming a hypothetical, uncorrupted government with the best interests of humanity at heart.

1) Is there any means by which any number of individuals can delegate to someone else the moral right to do something which none of the individuals have the moral right to do themselves?

2) Do those who wield political power (presidents, legislators, etc.) have the moral right to do things which other people do not have the moral right to do? If so, from whom and how did they acquire such a right?

  • Morally delegating such a power to someone else is impossible, therefore politicians have no more moral right than an ordinary citizen. However, politicians do not legislate based on bestowed moral rights, they are selected by the vote of the people to make calls based on their best judgment in order to protect those who elected them. This right is not one that comes from morality, it is one that comes from trust. There are problems that single men and women cannot solve, and leadership is crucial. Plus, moral issues are not cut and dry (refer to the trolley paradox). In many situations, there is no good moral choice to make, especially since so many groups of people have different ideas on what constitutes morality. The leader's job is to make the "least-worst" call, not the moral one. So yes, government does not operate within strictly "moral" boundaries, but the rights to lead and make tough decisions with murky moral outcomes is not a right that one is born with. It is bestowed. The people have the right to choose a spokesperson, a leader, and it is the leader's responsibility to make good on their faith. The leader also has a responsibility to the people who didn't elect them, even the people who don't live in their country. All people are created equal, all life is valuable. The leader must be able to make pragmatic (not necessarily moral) decisions within this context.

3) Is there any process (e.g., constitutions, elections, legislation) by which human beings can transform an immoral act into a moral act (without changing the act itself)?

  • Not at all. As I mentioned above, it's not always possible to make a moral choice, and that's just a fact. This comes with the territory, and the government shouldn't white-wash it.

4) When law-makers and law-enforcers use coercion and force in the name of law and government, do they bear the same responsibility for their actions that anyone else would who did the same thing on his own?

  • Yes. If you kill someone, you kill someone. It's serious. You've snuffed a life out. The act is lightyears away from moral. Pragmatism is important here, however. Why did you kill them? If you did because they were sleeping with your spouse, then your act is most likely unfounded. If you did so to save the life of another person, or even to selfishly save your own, then you have made a choice that is still immoral, but understandable. There is no such thing as a "just war"; But there is such a thing as a "necessary war", at least for the defenders.

5) When there is a conflict between an individual's own moral conscience, and the commands of a political authority, is the individual morally obligated to do what he personally views as wrong in order to "obey the law"?

  • No, you're not obligated to do anything. Conscientious objection is an important freedom. If the population is objecting en masse, then the government needs to reconsider. It's not representing the will of the people correctly if so many are opposing the decision.