“You can’t legislate morality!” is a common battle cry today. It’s thought to be a quintessentially American idea, even though the Founding Fathers never expressed such a sentiment. Nor did the early Americans who would unabashedly enforce a biblically based code of morality in their localities, both via social pressure and governmental laws, with transgressors sometimes spending time in stocks — or worse. No, our common battle cry is a modern idea, and one of modernism. It also betrays a fundamental, and dangerous, misunderstanding of law’s nature.
In reality, the only thing we should legislate is morality. The only other option is legislating whims or immorality.