Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

““The real damage is done by those millions who want to ’survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.””     Sophie Scholl

March 29, 2009

I like this definition of sin; what are your thoughts?

by Stephen Gordon

“Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other ‘sins’ are invented nonsense.” –Heinlein

I’ll argue that this applies to politics, as well.


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4 Comments

  1. “Sin” is a religious term, not a political one. In religious terms, sin has been described as “missing the mark”. For example, in most religions adultery is a sin, so even if the participants are willful, they have sinned because they have missed the mark of a faithful relationship.

    The above-mentioned example of adultery is not a crime, but I as a Christian would call it a sin. The sin is against God, and against a spouse, but there is no punishable crime committed. Any punishment for the wrong therefore should be from God and the wronged spouse, never from the state or other entity.

    The political term would be “crime”, rather than sin. Most sins are not crimes. The ones, such as murder, which harm other people against their will are both crimes and sins.

    Take his quote and substitute the word “crime” for “sin”, and it is largely true.

    Comment by Greg — March 30, 2009 @ 2:36 am
  2. I’ll second Greg’s comment but add that if marriage is a contract, and that contract stipulates fidelity, and infidelity can be proved, then legal recourse might be appropriate. The crime would be breach of contract.

    Comment by Eric W — March 30, 2009 @ 3:17 am
  3. Eric, you nailed it insofar as marital infidelity goes. The legal remedy would be to void the contract. Breach of contract, however, is not a crime, or even a tort. No punishment can be administered or punitive damages awarded. All that can be done by a law court is make the parties whole and void the contract.

    I like Heinlein’s definition of sin. I would add a definition of “original sin” taken from Heinlein’s definition of sin. Original sin is man’s inability to perfectly adhere to Heinlein’s definition. It doesn’t mean we’re automatically damned from birth or anything so unfair as that. It just means that, since it’s an imperfect world, we need law courts, police, and military forces.

    Comment by Keith — March 30, 2009 @ 6:04 am
  4. [...] Stephen Gordon added an interesting post on The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » I like this definition of sin …Here’s a small excerptI like this definition of sin; what are your thoughts? by Stephen Gordon. “Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other ’sins’ are invented nonsense.” –Heinlein. I’ll argue that this applies to politics, as well. … [...]

    Pingback by Topics about Stephen-smith » The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » I like this definition of sin … — April 18, 2009 @ 8:20 am

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