Scholarly Articles and Other Contributions
 

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1978

Abstract

"You can't legislate morality!"-so says someone, somewhere every day. It is our conventional wisdom. It is a truism that is often heard in crassly political advocacy, and yet it both antedates and transcends traditional American politics. It has often been used by both liberal and conservative advocates. One recalls its use by President Eisenhower in the Little Rock, Arkansas, school desegregation crisis in the 1950's, as well as its use by more recent advocates of change in anti-abortion laws. Today it is most often heard in contexts similar to the subject of this symposium: laws prohibiting the dissemination of obscene materials, homosexual acts, fornication, prostitution, and a host of others the reader can doubtless supply. What does the truism mean?

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