Some conclusions are now unavoidable, and these will help us ascertain rules governing the moral use of physical compulsion.
First, we can now see that even private evil is a public menace, regardless of whether it is expressed openly through action. Everything is communicable. A private lust is a danger to the community even if it never ‘materializes’ as harassment, rape, or adultery.
Second, we have a duty to pursue good and eradicate evil in ourselves. The idea that we can each go our own way and that, if my neighbor chooses to embrace a sinful lifestyle, then he alone suffers the consequences, can now be seen as utterly naïve and irresponsible.
On the contrary, I will without doubt do damage to others if I am not actively resisting evil within myself. This means that the pursuit of goodness via self-education is an imperative, and the public flaunting of a ‘personal decision’ not to pursue goodness is, in this light, enough to justify some level of resistant inducement on the part of the community. We are involved in mutual improvement or mutual destruction, and this implies a real responsibility to pursue moral improvement.
To elaborate on this second point, we can say that no one has the right to ignore the presence of evil in themselves. This is not a political statement meant to justify a totalitarian level of social control for the sake of enforced spiritual development, since this would be a contradiction in terms. We are only pointing out that a ‘right’ to pursue evil cannot exist and if justice permits it to exist it can only be in those instances where intervention would result in a more serious evil, in which case it is not so much a ‘right’ that is in question, but rather an implicit admission that evil will manifest itself and we cannot control all of it.
To put it bluntly, there is no such thing as poisoning only your own well. All of our wells combine at a certain depth. They are connected and the poison you add to yours will inevitably leech into the wells of others and, on a large enough scale, the whole spiritual reservoir is contaminated such that purity is no longer accessible to anyone.