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No doubt, many of you would take exception to Cheryl's assertion that "an ethic requires an ethos". Surely, normal people simply know the difference between right and wrong, don't they?

And, of course, we do. Most humans navigate their day-to-day moral choices more or less from memory and instinct. But a law, necessarily, is something written down, something that police officers and judges and juries are required to use in place of their own judgement. While Mormonism and Buddhism and Communism and Objectivism (and instinct) might all agree that theft and murder and cannibalism are all wrong, it's when we get into the specifics - as a law must - that why theft and murder are wrong start to become relevant.

Jamie's "well, if not for the consent and the health issues, what's so bad about cannibalism, really?" attitude is, to Cheryl, similar to an only child saying "well, if you're using birth control, what's so bad about incest?". She has a visceral reaction that he doesn't, and (as one might expect) she has a perspective on the inherent nature of law and ethics that he doesn't. All in all, I think she's handled her first foray into Leftover Soup banter rather well.

(Tuesday midday, INT: Capsaicin Lounge kitchen)

ChA: You wouldn't want to live in a society where the law was based on what was "right", anyway.
JH: No?
ChA: Hell no. A world where everything that's "wrong" is actually illegal? It would, necessarily, be a theocratic panopticon. You want to go to jail for masturbating?
JH: Well, it doesn't have to be a theocracy. Religion wouldn't have to enter into it at all.
ChA: If not a religion, then some other foundational guiding belief. An ethic requires an ethos, be it Mormonism or Buddhism or Communism or Objectivism...
JH: Well, isn't the preservation of society itself right? Couldn't that be a decent enough foundation for an official religiously-neutral morality?
ChA: Euthanizing the elderly and the comatose might help preserve society. You gonna tell me it's morally right?
JH: Depends. Are we going to cannibalize them?
ChA: Well, Mom always did tell me to eat my vegetables...