It is important to note that the proper 3LP analysis has no connection or relevance to my, or any other person’s, personal opinions or preferences. A discussion about personal views is an entirely different discussion. For example, I certainly respect the rights of competent adults to choose for themselves whether to eat ice cream. Whether I opt to eat ice cream is entirely irrelevant. If I do opt to eat ice cream, what flavor I fancy is also irrelevant. My position on whether people ought to eat ice cream is also totally unrelated to a discussion about how we apply the 3LP. How I, any other person, or even a hypothetical reasonable person, opts to live their life is not relevant to a discussion about applying the 3LP. We should always be mindful of keeping these discussions separate.

A basic tenet of the 3LP is not to forcefully impose our personal life choices and preferences on others. We must let others live their lives. This conclusion does not mean we cannot have specific life preferences, vocalize them and even strongly advocate for them as persuasively as possible. While I will confess to eating ice cream on rare occasions, I will enthusiastically do my best to attempt to convince you not to overeat it to optimize your diet and overall health. If you reject my advice, I may try to convince you to eat chocolate ice cream because I have personally concluded it is the best flavor. However, I fully recognize, respect, and would strongly advocate for your right to ignore my excellent advice and instead eat other flavors.

I can legally scoff at, and even publicly ridicule, your life choices if I wish while firmly advocating for your right to make the decision with which I disagree entirely. There is no contradiction. This ability to respect the rights of others, even when we disagree, is the highest expression of a 3L attitude. Importantly, advocating for your legal right to eat ice cream is not “sending a message” that I think you should eat ice cream. We need to dispense with this unsophisticated argument immediately. Civilized people should be nuanced enough thinkers to comprehend the difference between recognizing the legal rights of others to make what we may personally conclude are bad decisions and advocating for them to do so. Our political discourse needs to evolve so we can recognize and highly value the vital difference between the issue of how the law should apply and the unrelated issue of what our personal opinions and preferences dictate.