Discussion in 'House of Debates' started by Coyote, Jun 15, 2007.
Would you obey a law you felt was ethically or morally wrong?
What gives "law" it's authority?
It really depends.
Now for one thing, just about everyone has broken a lwa whether for ethical reasons or not. I'm guessing that you're talking about a very open breaking of the law.
I believe it is right to openly break very unjust laws. For instance it was right for women to do the protests they did to win the right to vote. It was right for blacks to break segregation laws.
The way our laws are challenged is often by breaking them and challenging them in court.
I tend to think that laws like this are only right to break if they actually limit people's basic rights. That makes the Dr. Kevorkian case a little bit more gray. Is the right to death a liberty that is in danger by the current law enough to justify a rogue doctor assisting people in suicide? I have mixed feelings on that.
I don't really see myself as one of the people who would do this. For one thing I don't think any of my basic liberties are being too strongly smashed by any particular law, at least none that I am likely to exercise.
I'm more of a sidelines cheerleader, I guess.
An occasion where I would break the law other than for stupid reasons (yeah, I've broken drug laws and traffic laws- but I don't see that as honorable even if the laws are stupid) is if a law is overly general. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, but what if you need to do something to help a friend and it is illegal due to some stupid technicality? I'd break that law and most likely the cops wouldn't bother anyway.
Oh, as for what gives law its authority... it's the will of the people. That's one of the points in breaking unjust laws. If the law is unjust, public outcry will cause a change.
Depends on the severity. If it's something major, like a law requiring all residents of the United States eat skewered babies every Thursday, than I'd strongly protest its imposition while driving towards Canada. If it's something minor, like tendering a fine for missing the trash can when attempting to throw something out, then I'd stick around and protest.
What gives law any kind of authority? For example...the US consitution grants us certain inherent rights upon which our laws are based. Where do those rights come from? The right to life?
The constitution doesn't "grant" the right to live. Our founding documents acknowledge the right to live (and others) and propose that the only legitimate function of a government of, for, and by the people is to protect those inalienable rights.
Ok..then where do we derive those inalienable rights?
People are born with these rights. That is observably true (kind of... I suppose you need to learn to speak to have freedom of speech... but you know what I mean). THerefore they come from a vaguely mentioned generic Creator.
However people, especially in organizations take these rights from one another. The idea is that government exists to protect people's rights from others... which means it essentially limits people's rights to those rights that do not intrude on others.
I think it's incomplete in that humans also get their rights threatened by nature, systems, and other things... and that if government is to protect rights, it must also protect them from nonhuman factors, which is why I'm more of a liberal.
Arguably, the purpose of any law is to control all other people. For instance, I would never commit murder, but I think you may murder me, so I think that there should be a law against murder. Following that logic, there comes a flood of laws that will "control" all people until there is very little freedom left.
Although I can cite example after example, I will cite only one: I grew up on the east shore of Lake Michigan. In this area, there are several county parks that have access to the lake. At that time the parks were "unimproved" being nothing more than a flat gravel parking area. As a teenage my Friends and I would while away time at these beaches. At night we would build a drift wood fire and cook hot dogs and such. I remember staying until the sun came up on one occasion. It was heaven. Now the parks are gated, and a sign indicates that the gate will be closed at 10:00 PM. There is no pressing reason to enact that type of law, except by the reasoning that someone might make a noise nuisance after dark.
If I were a teenage, I would feel no obligation to respect that law...I would sneak in anyway. Or, even as an adult if I were inclined. It is public property...it belongs to me.
As stated by an earlier poster, everyone knowingly breaks some law. Many are pointless, many are ridicules, many are just means of additional taxes (try to dig a hole in your backyard without a permit).
Even government entities break laws. The CIA now admits to illegal domestic spying. Police have been frequently involved in burglary, assault, and even murder. The people who make laws break laws (congressmen, senators).
I break many laws. For instance, to ensure that my geese are not having their eggs eaten out from under them in the spring I have and will continue to kill raccoons by the dozens. To do it "legally" I would have to prove there is a problem and get a permit. By the time I prove there is a problem, the eggs would have been eaten.
The average human I.Q. is 100. A 100 I.Q. is that of a dullard. Consider that the people you elect often have only slightly above average I.Q. They are easily convinced that any new restriction is a "good idea".
"...Freedom is just anther word for: there is nothing left to lose..."?
If you conceive that no one is born with rights, you still must consider that rights are derived from our productive labor. If I send a basketball into the air and it comes down thru a hoop, I have the right to the two points: it was my "productive labor" that produced the result and the ownership of it.
If I gain rightful possession of land (either by first claim or by purchase) and labor to put seed in the ground, remove weeds and pests, provide water et cetera, it is my labor that will create the produce of the land and my "right" to it. Neither the produce nor the right existed before my labor. I may then consume the produce or exchange it for other goods. Here, I exchange the goods but retain the "rights", which are now represented by the 'other goods.'
Rights are, taken in a purely physical sense, something of a social phenomenon: they are effective only so far as your neighbors recognize them; otherwise your rights extend to whatever you produce and can personally defend. This is why the powerful (the masses) must combine with the intelligent and just (the few) in order to secure rights of both.
You seem to be implying that others are confused as to the distinction between rights and power. A lot of people speak of “rights that are granted”. We should stop here: this phrase is meaningless to me. If you will go back to the founding documents of this union, you’ll find, in numerous declarations, that rights are described as inherent, as derived from nature; and that ‘privileges’ are activities that are granted. If ‘rights are granted,’ as your side claims, what are activities that are not granted? And, what then is the distinction between rights and privileges? According to your definition, they would be the same. Why use two different words to denote the same thing?
American Founders would not tolerate “rights” that are granted; they would have none other than rights that are inherent. I am the same way.
Where they come from is irrelavent so long as we acknowledge them.
I don't necessarily agree. I think it's an important distinction that we realize that our inalienable rights do not come from the government but from our Creator because if the government gives us our rights, then by definition they can take them away.
What I was getting at was that our founders acknowledged that we come into being with certain rights and that the government they were founding would acknowledge that we have those rights and their government would be formed for the purpose of protecting them.
Actually, the founders acknowledged that inalienable rights derive from the creator. Its there in the declaration of independence.
They carefully avoided the use of the word God though.
Separate names with a comma.