Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

modern states, although as yet no metes and bounds have
been fixed for legislation on moral and social questions.*
Nor have writers on legislation succeeded much better. Mr.
Mill, who carried personal liberty very far, and holds it to be
the highest aim of the state to aid the development of the
individual, yet would put the sale of spirituous liquors under
restrictions. And I cannot find, after considerable reflection,
any definite limits which may not be varied by the habits of
society and the dangers of society.
The following limit has been proposed : that any immoral
act, which is of injury only to him who commits it, ought not
to be the subject-matter of a law. Thus, if a man were not
connected with society by any family or other close ties, he
might get drunk as he pleased without being amenable to
law; but if he is a father of a family, or a minor, he ought to
be punished. And so the supplier of the liquor should have
a right to sell it in the first case, and not in the second. But
may not such a privileged drinker do great harm to the com-
munity where he lives, and is not the example sometimes to
be considered in penal and police regulations ? I can only
allude to another vice, which it would shock the community
to place on this footing. It is enough to say that none of the
great and common vices of society stop short of injuring
society. Every vicious man corrupts other men, and helps
to keep open the sources of corruption.
We consider it, then, as the conclusion to which all reflect-
ing men will arrive, that among practices, immoral or other-
wise, deleterious to society, which can be effectually sup-
pressed by law, those ought to be suppressed, the legisla-
tion against which would least interfere with the liberty
of individuals, and which are of acknowledged and great
' evil in a community. Let us see if we can enumerate any
* Moral legislation was the more necessary in heathen nations,
because heathenism was immoral, or at least its mythology gener-
ally was; it is the more natural in Christian nations, as supporting
the suirit of the religion.