Why Should We Obey The Law Essay

Essay 05.11.2019

There is a categorical imperative to obey the law no matter what the consequences are. Cheating on taxes might enable a family to enjoy a few hundred more dollars that presumably the US government would not miss, but cheating on taxes is immoral because it is illegal.

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Even utilitarian theorists like John Stuart Mill would argue that cheating on taxes is immoral regardless of the short-term gains. He suggests that to disobey the law would be to mistreat or disrespect his fellow citizens.

On the other hand, the story shows that from time to time even good people might have to consider breaking a particular law for a morally good reason. Examples might be breaking the speed limit in an emergency or defying a law because it is bad or unjust. Some of the students read their examples aloud in the plenary discussion. The teacher then underlines the distinction between moral responsibilities which people take upon themselves as part of their own values and beliefs and legal duties, which are imposed by governments. The tensions between these two kinds of responsibility may lead citizens to criticise some laws they disagree with and to work to change them. They may even, on occasion, decide to break some laws for morally positive reasons. One problem with this argument is that it might be too weak. How can my not obeying the law in some particular circumstance really undo a large-scale society like Australia? On the other hand, a simple though experiment suggests it might also be too strong. Imagine a situation in which someone on your street mounts an impressive display of Christmas lights every year. Everyone on the street enjoys the lights enormously. And yet the principle of fair play would suggest you are so obliged. Against political obligation? This debate continues to rage on the pages of political philosophy journals and blogs. But it remains a critical issue too for contemporary politics, where people disagree vehemently about significant political, social and economic issues. However, the law usually reflects the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Laws against killing, stealing, or driving drunk should be dutifully obeyed, according to both teleological and deontological theories. Obeying the law is an inherently moral act, according to deontologists like Kant. But is that really a feasible standard for the imperfect world in which we live? Of course, for anarchists, this is a very welcome conclusion! Civil Disobedience So the Prime Minister and his colleagues has overstated the case that in suggesting there might be times when disobeying unjust laws is justified, McManus is somehow advocating chaos. As a civil libertarian he should know better. And yet McManus needs to understand that the grounds for civil disobedience must be carefully considered. You need to take the public good to heart, and not simply your own particular interests. Socrates was willing to die for the sake of his city. Martin Luther King was imprisoned and ultimately assassinated.

There is a gloriously robust literature in moral and political philosophy on the nature of political obligation and especially the argument from fair play. This generates the obligation to take on your fair share of the burdens of sustaining such a community.

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Some of the students read their examples aloud in the plenary discussion. The teacher then underlines the distinction between moral responsibilities which people take upon themselves as part of their own values and beliefs and legal duties, which are imposed by governments. The tensions between these two kinds of responsibility may lead citizens to criticise some laws they disagree with and to work to change them. They may even, on occasion, decide to break some laws for morally positive reasons. History offers many examples of situations in which people have broken laws in order to protest against them or to rebel against tyrannical governments. The teacher should illustrate this with some local examples. But is that really a feasible standard for the imperfect world in which we live? Of course, for anarchists, this is a very welcome conclusion! Civil Disobedience So the Prime Minister and his colleagues have overstated the case that in suggesting there might be times when disobeying unjust laws is justified, McManus is somehow advocating chaos. As a civil libertarian he should know better. And yet McManus needs to understand that the grounds for civil disobedience must be carefully considered. You need to take the public good to heart, and not simply your own particular interests. Socrates was willing to die for the sake of his city. Martin Luther King was imprisoned and ultimately assassinated. These are perhaps the extreme cases. Usually, laws are written from societal ethical codes; therefore the law can embody morality. Obeying the law usually implies the greatest good for the greatest number of people and therefore complies with Mill's utilitarianism. Especially if the law reflects general morality or protects people from pain, such as the admonition against murder, utilitarian theorists would argue that obeying the law is a general moral obligation. Of course, for anarchists, this is a very welcome conclusion! Civil Disobedience So the Prime Minister and his colleagues has overstated the case that in suggesting there might be times when disobeying unjust laws is justified, McManus is somehow advocating chaos. As a civil libertarian he should know better. And yet McManus needs to understand that the grounds for civil disobedience must be carefully considered. You need to take the public good to heart, and not simply your own particular interests. Socrates was willing to die for the sake of his city. Martin Luther King was imprisoned and ultimately assassinated. These are perhaps the extreme cases.

And so a general obligation to obey the law is grounded in the principle of fair play — doing your part to sustain a community you benefit from by others doing theirs.

One essay with why argument is that it might be too weak. How can my not obeying the law in some particular circumstance really undo the large-scale law like Australia?

Why should we obey the law essay

On the other hand, a simple though experiment suggests it might also be too strong. Imagine a situation in which someone on your street mounts an impressive display of Christmas lights every year.

Lesson 2: Why should people obey the law? - Living Democracy

Some of these have to do with self-interest, other reasons show concern for other people and some show a concern for the well-being of society as a whole see note below. The different reasons should be written in the appropriate area. On the other hand, the story obeys that from time the time even good people might have to consider breaking a particular law for a morally why reason. Examples might be breaking the speed limit in an emergency or defying a law because it is bad or unjust.

Some of the students read their examples aloud in the plenary discussion. The teacher then underlines the distinction between moral responsibilities which people take upon themselves as part of their own values and beliefs and legal duties, which are imposed by governments.

The teacher asks the students to choose an opinion they agree with and add their own reason in writing: Schmitt should steal the money because… Schmitt should not steal the money because… The teacher notes the range of reasons suggested by the students on the blackboard. The different reasons are then discussed in class. Why are they different? Are some reasons better than others? Some of these have to do with self-interest, other reasons show concern for other people and some show a concern for the well-being of society as a whole see note below. The different reasons should be written in the appropriate area. There is a gloriously robust literature in moral and political philosophy on the nature of political obligation and especially the argument from fair play. This generates the obligation to take on your fair share of the burdens of sustaining such a community. And so a general obligation to obey the law is grounded in the principle of fair play — doing your part to sustain a community you benefit from by others doing theirs. One problem with this argument is that it might be too weak. How can my not obeying the law in some particular circumstance really undo a large-scale society like Australia? On the other hand, a simple though experiment suggests it might also be too strong. Imagine a situation in which someone on your street mounts an impressive display of Christmas lights every year. Everyone on the street enjoys the lights enormously. Is it through birth, or through consent? Civil society would quickly become very uncivil. In the Crito, Socrates engages in an intense conversation with his followers about whether or not he should flee the city that has just condemned him to death. In the end, he decides he should not, mainly because he feels it would involve breaking the commitments and agreements he has made with his fellow citizens and the city that has done so much to nurture and shape him. Socrates makes a number of arguments in the course of the dialogue, but perhaps the most resonant for us today is an appeal to fairness. He suggests that to disobey the law would be to mistreat or disrespect his fellow citizens. There is a gloriously robust literature in moral and political philosophy on the nature of political obligation and especially the argument from fair play. This generates the obligation to take on your fair share of the burdens of sustaining such a community. And so a general obligation to obey the law is grounded in the principle of fair play — doing your part to sustain a community you benefit from by others doing theirs. Obeying the law is a general moral obligation that should reflect the greatest good for the greatest number; the law can be broken if it results in pleasure or benefit for a large number of people. However, the law usually reflects the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Laws against killing, stealing, or driving drunk should be dutifully obeyed, according to both teleological and deontological theories.

Everyone on the street enjoys the lights enormously. And yet the principle of fair play would suggest you are so obliged. Against political obligation? This debate continues to rage on the pages of political philosophy journals and blogs.

Why should we obey the law essay

But it remains a critical issue too for contemporary politics, where people disagree vehemently about significant political, social and economic issues. Citizenship surely involves more than merely a transactional relationship with others in our community.

Obeying the law essays

On the other hand, given the extraordinary powers of the state, the conditions under which I become obliged must surely be stronger than merely being a member of that society. But is that really a feasible standard for the imperfect world in which we live?

This debate continues to rage on the pages of political philosophy journals and blogs. Imagine a situation in which someone on your street mounts an impressive display of Christmas lights every year. There is a categorical imperative to obey the law no matter what the consequences are. Moreover, taxes are ideally applied to beneficial human services and cheating on taxes therefore steals money from Citizenship surely involves more than merely a transactional relationship with others in our community. And yet the principle of fair play would suggest you are so obliged. Obeying the law usually implies the greatest good for the greatest number of people and therefore complies with Mill's utilitarianism. Conceptual learning Law: A rule made by local or national government.

Of course, for anarchists, this is a very welcome conclusion!