So what kind of world would you prefer to live in?
If you had to chose one ‘type’ which would you prefer?
A totally free world where everyone could do anything they want?
A world where individual Ethics/Morality governed everyones thought and action? or
A world governed primarily by universal Laws for the ‘common’ good?
Total freedom equates to anarchy – no rules, no punishment for any action, complete freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it with no comeback from any other person. Given all human’s capacity for temptation and desire for self-satisfaction at the expense of others this is not a choice i would make.
An individual ethic/morally oriented world would seem at first glance to suit both theists, atheists and undecideds alike – each being free to live by their own moral code (and presumably also free to break it on any occasion also without much penalty, other than perhaps some personal feeling of guilt, since in this proposal morality takes the place of law in matters of crime and punishment. See next para.) Under this consideration however, there would seem to be little to distinguish it from the first choice as every individual is free to live by their own morality and they get to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Universal agreement is unlikely to occur in such a system and violence and disagreements between individuals/groups/tribes a likely result.
A world governed primarily by universal Law poses somewhat of a problem as it requires agreement by all on exactly what the common good is for the entire planet – something which i’m reasonably sure has not been achieved at any point in human history as we have basically been fighting one another for food/territory since we first came down from trees and learned to walk on two legs. Once laws are set then penalties for those who break or don’t keep to the law are required; these often mean that the common good is not best served, for example consider the cost to a community of imprisoning otherwise useful members of a society and the cost of paying others to guard/look after them in prison, an almost universal form of punishment for law-breakers today. (Although not necessarily a good or preferable one).
Trying to set up different law systems for different communities is setting the systems up to fail as this will inevitably result in conflict as different communities come into contact with each other and their citizens are faced with two or more differing sets of laws to comply with – some of which could be directly contradictory. The only way to avoid this is to just have the one common set that all agree to or to have strictly isolated communities, each with their own laws.
So could we ever live in agreement with everyone else? Or live isolated from those with whose laws we do not fully agree with?
Or are we condemned to live forever in disharmony and dischord; without a common set of fundamental values we all agree are to be kept if we are to maximise our common interests of survival, safety, beneficial development and happiness?