When Should the Law Be Disobeyed

When should the law be disobeyed?

Never mind

Any laws in general.

I voted when immoral. But you need to be prepared to accept the consequences of violating the law.

If you are willing to accept the possible consequences, then any time you feel like it. These are the laws of Man, not the laws of Nature we’re talking about, right? I wouldn’t go around randomly break the Laws of Causality!

Where’s the “whenever you know you can get away with it?” option?

Same as “When As You Feel Like It”

or the law of gravity.

regarding the OP, it’s really more complicated than that. I was amazed a few months back that there are people who won’t smoke marijuana simply because it’s illegal. These same people probably break the speed limit when they feel like it. I won’t follow a law I think is immoral ( selective service, I’m still waiting for you to haul me away)

Some lawz, although perhaps inconvienent or really a pain, should not be violated. For example, I don’t cheat on my taxes, even though I could really use the money and could probably get away with it.

So, it’s a good philosophical question, and one I’m willing to give more thought to. I doubt, however, we’ll be satisfied with your limited options.

You can count me as someone not satisfied with the limited options. There are three kinds of bad laws in my opinion: immoral laws, wrong laws, and unjust laws. The former is a law that requires me to violate some aspect of my morality such as a law requiring me to turn in Jews to the Nazis. The second is like the first, but doesn’t require people to do something, but instead usually forbids something. A law forbidding interracial marriage is an example of the second type. The third kind I would see as stupid or unneeded. For example I think it is stupid that we can’t, in most circumstances, buy beer on Sundays here. Others think it is stupid marijuana is illegal. The kinds of bad laws do not violate what I think of as rights or concern moral issues.

With immoral laws I would not follow them and would likely work on ways to actively flout the law and allow others to do so. The same is true of unjust laws. In both cases I would also work on means to have the law in question eliminated or changed.

Really this seems a complex issue not suited for a poll.

With stupid laws I would follow the law, but, if I cared enough, try to get it changed. I really don’t care if I can buy beer on Sundays so I’m not going to put a lot of effort into it, but I’ll vote for a law that allows it or it might change my mind on a candidate if there are no more important issues.

Id be more ‘highly immoral’ - there are laws that I consider to be immoral and/or unjust, but not so much that Im willing to throw away the benefits of a legal system and the normal pathways available to try and address them.


Deliberate hijack:

How often do you suppose a typical person breaks no laws whatsoever on a given day? No jaywalking, not one decimal place over the speed limit.

I find it thought-provoking to consider the choices Curtis has left off:

When it conflicts with other law
When it is unconstitutional

Look at his choices again. The lawbreaker is allowed no higher recourse than hi/r own personal morality. In fact, the only other choices he gives us amount to “because I dowanna” - ie: no defense - or of course “never.”

Just going from this, what might we surmise - rightly or wrongly - about Curtis’ view of the law?

I’m on the side of, when the law is unjust. Which sadly wasn’t a choice in this poll.

:smack: Good one. Some (say, me) might have lumped justice in as a kind of morality. I was looking for something that might stand up in court.

I don’t know Curtis’ exact philosophy, but the option of a law being immoral does not necessarily mean that one is looking to personal morality to decide. Many believe that there is a natural law which man made laws should not violate and which is the basis for morality. I think that the American idea of inherent rights is an example of legal expression of this so that, in America at least, immoral and unconstitutional can, at times, be the same thing.

Any law that is not Love God with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself is immoral, and I voted accordingly.

Choices were too ill-defined. No vote.

Natural law seems to be the foundation of the Preamble’s “they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…” but as applied more freely it kinda gives me the creeps.

What if, say, the essentialist/evolutionary psych gender roles were adopted as the basis for statute? The civil rights of anyone in any way gender atypical would be pee-pee-ca-ca. I’m not just talking about screaming militant queers; a stay at home dad or a woman airline pilot could legally be discriminated against for not living in accord with natural law.

You might well argue that that’s a man-made violation of real natural law, but if enough legal minds can make it stick - it sticks.

I’m not quite certain what you’re saying here. If bad things aren’t natural law then natural law isn’t bad as a source of law because bad things are called part of it. And if enough legal minds make anything stick it’ll stick regardless of its basis. Perhaps you can restate what you said as I’d like to understand.

I voted for “whenever i feel like it,” but I never feel like it, so it’s a moot point. :smiley: