I get a laugh out of people who say silly things like “you can’t legislate morality”. Hogwash. We do it all the time, and have ever since our nation was founded. Some political dweeb was repeating that hackneyed crap the other day, talking about the robber barons and their bonuses.
The ten commandments are just as much a book of law as a code of moral conduct, and you’ll find reflections of six of the commandments (4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10) in the laws of our nation. We don't care too much, apparently, about the graven images or cussing. Plenty of municipalities have "blue laws" where you can't buy liquor on Sunday. But try messing with your neighbor’s wife and see what happens to you in divorce court. Even when we don’t legislate morality, we sure enforce a moral code in our civil and criminal courts.
The IRS code is full of morality. I’m old enough to remember when you could deduct ALL the interest you paid - credit cards, car loans, and of course mortgage interest. Not so much any more except for the home mortgage interest. You see, home ownership is a GOOD thing which the government encourages. No morality there?
My old stomping ground, Oshkosh, is having fun with legislated morality. In a few days, the bulldozers will tear down Supreme Video, on Washburn Street (the HiWay 41 frontage road), so the road can be widened. The place is notorious. A few years back, former State Senator Gerry Lorge got into a mess of trouble at Supreme Video when he exposed himself to an undercover Oshkosh cop.
You and I own Supreme Video, you know. We (the Wisconsin Department of Transportation) bought the porn palace in January for 1.4 million dollars. It was purchased by a Union Grove developer a while back for 600 grand, and the property has an assessed value of just under 349 grand. We paid more than twice what it’s worth on the market, and quadruple the assessed value, because of legislated morality.
The DOT and the city have been trying to move the porn shop for years, without success. Why no success? The LAW says you can’t have a porn shop with video booths closer than 500 feet to a residence, a church, a day care center….I could go on, but you get the idea. The law made it impossible to locate the porn shop elsewhere along the HiWay 41 corridor.
So don’t tell me you can’t legislate morality. We do it just about every session of every unit of government, from a town board to the state legislature. And we enforce a moral code in our courts.