"Government should allow persons to engage in whatever conduct they want
to, no matter how deviant or abnormal it may be, so long as
(a) they know what they are doing,
(b) they consent to it, and
(c) no one -- at least no one other than the participants -- is harmed
by it."
by:
Hugo Adam Bedau
(1926-2012) Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University (Emeritus)
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Reader comments about this quote:
You go, Hugo.
 -- E. Lupus, Medford     
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    Blithering stupidity.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    I can't understand how or why anyone would Disagree with this quote.
     -- Me Again     
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    Its as simple as breathing. Why should any one or any thing want to stop something so simple? Its a basic right.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Warren, wake up and smell the coffee. The stupidity is in your reply,or maybe not, perhaps you want the Feds to control your life. Jack Cole founded LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition . He was a state trooper and narc detective for years until he woke up and saw the evils of the War on Drugs. Read his interview on LEAP.CC.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
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    The only fault I find with the quote is that a de jure representative republic (that of representing 'We The People') has no inherent authority, right, or power to allow anything, it only has duties to protect the sovereign individual's life, liberty, property, authority, rights, powers, and privileges, and act in matters a criminal jurisprudence as defined by the God of Nature or natural law.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    You said it Mike! " ...it only has duties to protect the sovereign individual's life, liberty, property, authority, rights, powers, and privileges, and act in matters a criminal jurisprudence as defined by the God of Nature or natural law. This would include my right as well as my childrens' rights to live in an environment where individuals are not engaging in "whatever conduct they want to, no matter how deviant or abnormal" Simply put no matter what type of deviant or abnormal behavior it is when it becomes accepted as normal or okay it does harm to all those nearby. Who in their right mind thinks it would think their rights, as mike pointed out, would be secure being the only sober person in a city of heroin addicts. Further more who would think a nation could remain secure with an attitude of what feels good to me is acceptable and who cares about by duty to Good and Country. Bye Bye USA! F'n Professors!
     -- StanLee, South Dakota     
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    Definite blithering stupidity. You are right Mike. Government only is authorized by the constitution to intervene when it is in the public interest. The quote is idiotic.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    I am highly sympathetic to keeping the nose of govt out, but I am also highly sympathetic to intervening in some decisions about one's self, for seldom does it stay simply a matter about that individual. A choice to take meth often means a child will go hungry/homeless, or worse. A deviant behavior can be a progressive problem: will YOUR child be the prey when the pervert seeks to satisfy his escalating fantasy? Yet I recognize govt is very happy to solve your problems... if you just give them more power. Sometimes the cure is indeed worse than the disease.
     -- Paul, Union, WA     
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    Don't tell me what to do with my life, and I won't tell you what to do with yours. Back off, you don't have the right.
     -- Daniel, Santa Clara, CA     
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    Government Intervention "in the public interest" is a dog off its leash. Just who keeps the government from telling, not asking what is in the "public interest". And no tyranny has ever given any excuse other than "for the good of the people" to justify its behaviour. Nope! What people do in private is NONE of the governments business....PERIOD!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    10 stars. Either you believe in freedom or you do not. At least be honest with yourself. It is none of your g.d. business what I do in the privacy of my own home. And the point of being armed is so that I can shoot those that come on to my property that attempt to violate that right. Old school, my friend, Don't Tread On Me. THAT is the American Way. Respect.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Amazingly good quote... and warren of olathe is an amazing example of the need for it... hey warren, the quote simply says that you are free to have whomever you want to tell you exactly what you can and can not do... and that you are not free to do so to others without their knowledge and consent!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    In principle the quote is a good one but let us not forget that we have "public health" officials for a reason. Reasons like plague, epidemics, etcetera. In emergencies such as this individuals and their behavior may be required to be controlled beyond what appears to be constitutional authority.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    What, we only respect the sovereign's inalienable rights except under emergencies? What a crock of BS! I guess that is why the Executive Branch makes sure that they are always operating under a state of emergency -- which has in fact been the case since 1934. This allows the president to lay claim to an immense field of power and to lay the Consitution aside at any time. Indeed GWB has done that. An 'accused' terrorist can now be incarcerated indefinitely without trial and stripped of citizenship -- without conviction. And as we had feared, many domestic offenses are now being called forms of terrorism -- including protesting against the very policy. It is dangerous to be right when the authorities are wrong.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- ukp, behror      
    Greatest quote in the history of the world
     -- Bob Barker, Sante Fe     
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    The best way to prepare steamed monkey
     -- Jesse James, Chicago     
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     -- anonymous      
    Something that has not been mentioned is the difference between law and morals. Morals can not be lawfully or morally legislated (that is but one reason why the occupying statist theocracy now infesting this land is a lawless and immoral government) Only law can be legislated. Criminal justice is also a completely different topic. When the argument stays in the scope of a morality, there will never be a finite answer. Only when the subject matter is kept to law and justice will an enduring answer support liberty.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I would add something else to this quote and that being if you want to do whatever you want even though it may be self-destructive DON'T SEND ME THE BILL FOR THE CONSEQUENCES, of course this is very difficult to do since we live in a welfare state.

    "Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few." -- John Adams, An Essay on Man's Lust for Power (1763)
     -- Mike, Pleasant Hill     
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    Warren, takes offence to another persons actions ? It is a very hard thing to digest for some. lawlessness has a source. The heart is oracle, the honest conscience bears witness, " Know Thyself " then, " To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. " The heart is a vulnerable piece of property, preyed upon by corruption in high places. Even within ones own household. To follow that good conscience, to be ( upright ) in your heart requires compassion and meekness of spirit. This argument of moral responsibility is based upon the spirit of the natural laws. Power to be the Head of ones on house, starts within. It has great rewards, but bears many scares of humility upon the torn heart. Especially when administering a just decision. To, check, destruction at its source, sometimes entails and outworking of force, for the good of all parties involved. It can only be argued from the spiritual standpoint of the law, which most attorney's wish to avoid, considering only superficial evidence, because of the corrupt nature of unjust laws on the books at present. An upright person becomes prey to a lawless immoral government. The right of one outweighs the rights of many. Guilty till proven innocent. The moral guide post has become a whipping post, to beat down moral responsibility within the individual who would stand upright and act accordingly. I would hire Mike as my counsel to plead before the court, my case of moral responsibility to myself and others, within my Household. Moderation is the key in the land of Liberty.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    I would like to add, Moderation with discretion tempered with respect of another's property, both of the mind and body are to be considered when weighing just cause of action taken. I can tolerate a drunk, but I cannot tolerate a Tyrant, drunk with the lust for power to dominate an upright person, by the destruction of that upright persons mind, and then the body. It is bad enough for a derelict tyrant to destroy themselves, let alone to allow them to destroy that which is justifiably upright and honest in word and deed. I do not condone liars, cheats or thieves of any kind to dictate authority over my person or personal wellbeing. Especially within my own household ! of which I am head.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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     -- jim k, Austin      
     
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