Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."1. This matter is especially pressing for those who draw on samaritanism because a critic might worry that samaritan considerations are too restricted to justify most of the functions that modern bureaucratic states legitimately perform. Martin Luther King's words, which just correspond with the above assertion, perfectly tell us what to do in face of laws, either just or unjust. SHARE POST: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,” so goes the old, venerable quote by Martin Luther King. In Jefferson’s words, it is a nation in which “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of … Some of the students read their examples aloud in the plenary discussion. “Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Acts 5:29 -- We disobey only when obedience to civil law would involve us in disobeying Divine law. "An unjust law is an earthly law that is in direct collision and conflict with the higher law. If you don't like the law of the land and cannot change it, then move to a community that does not have that law. This is simply to say that since the time one was young to when they grew up to be adults, the laws that existed and … You express a great deal of anx­i­ety over our will­ing­ness to break laws. Obviously, such an individual like Antigone in ancient Greece is naturally torn between two loyalties. Why should we obey the law? Given Plato's rather dim view o G iven my specification that we have a moral duty to obey only the just laws of a legitimate regime, it is natural to explore what types of laws are in fact just. For a more thorough discussion, Dr. Gregory Sadler has several videos on the Crito. According to the theory of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 18th century French governmental philosopher, ?in a democratic society the state represents the prevalent will of the citizens, and that in obeying its laws each citizen is pursuing his own genuine interests. Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. Its purpose is to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of his theory. By Alberto Mingardi. [MLK] said that we must disobey them. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963. We need to read it as we need to read any biblical text—but asking what kind of writing it is (genre), exploring its context, seeing where it comes in the canon of Scripture, and paying attention to its content, what the text actually says. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. Then we'll look at three factors that might form the basis of an obligation to follow the law. Just and Unjust Laws: Should the Unjust Laws be Obeyed? In this module, we'll discuss this question, together with some of the main positions that philosophers have developed in response to it. So, I don’t believe “all people should obey seemingly unjust laws”. Specifically, if living in a society means obeying the "laws of the land", do we owe it to our fellow citizens to obey or defy laws that are unjust or wrongheaded? We can not give them the respect of the rule of law because our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not give respect to a lawless decision." According to the theory of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 18th century French political philosopher, ?in a democratic society the state represents the general will of the citizens, and that in obeying its laws each citizen is pursuing his own real interests. That’s how we expand freedom. King says that we have a moral respon­si­bil­i­ty to obey just laws, and a moral respon­si­bil­i­ty to dis­obey unjust laws. (See my Grove booklet How to Interpret the Bible for a longer exploration of these principles.) This video is unavailable. 9 . These civil activists believe that we have god given rights that no one can take away. We see two drastically different opinions. This applies to all laws -- from criminal laws to traffic laws -- and even when we think the laws are unreasonable. Laws that unjust and interfere with our rights should not be obeyed. ? I personally agree with Thoreau, however, it’s still up for debate. This means that laws, regardless of how unfair, unjust, or immoral they may be, must be followed with no better reason that they are the law. We have no duty to obey intrinsically unjust laws but we usually do have a duty to obey extrinsically unjust laws. He thinks that we should contest unjust laws if and only if we are ready and willing to accept the punishments that follow. This dissertation is an examination of John Finnis's theory of our duty to obey unjust laws. Conversely, should one obey an unjust law? Examples might be breaking the speed limit in an emergency or defying a law because it is bad or unjust. 1. Should You Obey An Unjust Law Essay, Research Paper Should you obey an unjust law? We accept that in Britain there are no ifs or buts about our duty to obey existing law and to suffer the consequences of failing to do so. Governmental laws should absolutely be disobeyed and actively fought against when the society is fundamentally unjust against the people. If he follows his moral judgment and violate the law, he would be charged with the penalty stipulated in the law. Socrates is among those who believe that we should obey laws even if they are unjust. The following Letter by Dr. Ronald N. Kostoff was written to the Montgomery County Zoning Committee. This is a topic that Plato will (partially) address in the next reading: On Consenting to Laws – another short reading from the Crito. Hobbes says that government won’t work if people decide whether to obey a law based on justice, but Thoreau says that if a law is unjust we need to try our best to destroy it. - "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Shall we obey unjust regulations? You need only think about people like Gandhi, Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela etc. Laws should be obeyed but if unjust should be challenged. There is a long history of people not complying with unjust laws. Well, the rest of us have to obey the law and big, militant unions are no exception -- we're making them obey the law. This means that laws, regardless of how unfair, unjust, or immoral they may be, must be followed with no better reason that they are the law. We must obey or stand condemned before God. But the question is: are we living in an ideal state and do all the laws of our land express the common will of the people and should we obey all the laws even if they are unjust? The answer to this question can be different for different people, but in my opinion it is NO. Written by Duncan Ivison, Professor of Political Philosophy, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), University of Sydney The claim by Sally McManus , the new head of the ACTU, that when the law is unjust, ‘I don’t think there is a problem in breaking it’, returns us to a deep question in political philosophy: Why should I obey the law and the state more generally? First, the caveat. It is also important to obey the law (just and unjust laws) because an individual in society is who he/she is because of the laws in society. Watch Queue Queue The governmental state always insists that its citizens obey without question. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." We must live by the rules we as a people create. “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. This simply means we should fight every unjust law legally at first. (Note that typos are con­tained in the orig­i­nal manuscript.) 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. We Have a Moral Responsibility to Disobey Unjust Laws In the Same Way We Should Obey Just Laws . The quotation bears a much closer resemblance to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s comment in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail: "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Hmm, there’s a caveat and a practical answer here, I’ll post both. Unjust Laws The United States is homeland for millions of immigrants who risk their lives for a better existence. First-century rulers, both Roman and Jewish, were corrupt and unjust. Important Letter to Zoning Committee on Their Responsibility to Protect Public Rights and Not Hide Behind Federal Laws That Can Harm Us. But, what’re the criteria for “unjust laws”? If he obeys the law, he would be guilty of knowingly aiding to sustain an unjust system. But do we have an obligation to obey those laws? We'll start off by examining what obeying the law means exactly. I don’t think many people would say their actions were immoral. People should not go around breaking laws just because they do not approve of them. But it also raises problems about whether we are obligated to obey unjust laws. Typically businesses play by the rules. To the thesis that we are obliged to obey even unjust laws, I will argue that the standard objections to Civil Disobedience, given by Singer, are incorrect To begin, however, I believe it is necessary to define an “unjust” law. 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