Something being "the law" or "against the law" doesn't make it right or wrong. - Politics | PoFo

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The statement in the title seems obvious to many, as it should. After all, there are always debates and disagreements as to which laws are "working" or not, which laws should be passed or not, which ones should be repealed etc. Humans are imperfect, and as such, will advocate for and pass imperfect or even dangerous laws. Despite this fact, a lot of people tend to view and refer to the individual laws passed wherever they live as "the law", suggesting that it is legitimate to enforce all laws solely because they are enacted as law.

In Nazi Germany, it was "against the law" to murder. It was also "against the law" to aid a Jew in hiding trying to escape persecution. Both of these laws are lumped together in the term "the law", yet one makes sense and the other is immoral and oppressive. This example is just one of many that demonstrates how "the law" can be either good or bad, which means that someone isn't necessarily a bad person for disobeying bad laws or a good person for following or enforcing unjust laws. Those in Nazi Germany who broke "the law" to give shelter to Jews avoiding persecution were good people for protecting them against unspeakable evil, and those "law-abiding citizens" who obeyed the government and turned over Jews to the authorities were complicit in helping the Nazis commit inhumane atrocities.

While many current governments do not resemble Nazi Germany, the nature and concept of law has stayed consistent throughout its inception; one of the key principles being that whatever is law must be obeyed, regardless of any valid criticism or arguments against specific laws embodied in "the law". However, if some laws are imperfect and even result in negative consequences because the humans who write them are imperfect, why must every law be respected and obeyed? The phrase "It's the law" or "It's against the law" in regards to why someone should or shouldn't do something is not an argument, since it would imply that everything that is "the law" is good, and everything that is against "the law" is bad. In short, answering the question of why someone has to or can't do something with "It's the law" or "It's against the law" is the same as saying "Because the politicians who passed the law say so". Even a young child is usually unsatisfied with the response "Because I/We/They etc. say so", as it is easy to realize there is no actual substance, reason(s), argument or answer in that reply.

Inevitably, after reading the above, some people will ask "How could you believe the law means nothing? You don't think it should be illegal to murder, steal and assault?" The point I am trying to make is that murder, theft and assault are immoral irrespective of whether or not it is against "the law" (Obviously there are more actions and behaviors that are immoral; I am just using these three as examples). Politicians are just people, and the laws they write can't determine truth or morality any more than they can determine what 1+1 equals. In other words, 1+1=2 because 1+1=2, not because any particular person or group of people (obviously including politicians) understand, claim or agree that 1+1=2. Again, the same holds true for morality: murder, theft and assault are immoral because of the harm those actions cause to others, not because politicians, you or I personally believe that those actions are immoral (which I do). Our beliefs and understanding of reality don't create or shape reality, it is the other way around: reality shapes our perceptions and understanding of it.

To conclude, "the law" should not be seen or used as an indicator, guide or determinant as to what is right or wrong and how people should act and behave. People shouldn't attack others because it's immoral, not necessarily just because some politicians write down that it's "illegal", and people have the right to defend themselves from aggressors regardless of what "the law" says. In addition, people have the right and moral duty to disobey any law that is immoral (such as oppressive laws like The Fugitive Slave Act in the 1800's in the U.S. and laws restricting Jews' social participation in Nazi Germany), rendering the law's perceived authority useless, as no one has the right to enforce laws that are immoral.

Please share your thoughts and mention anything you feel I should clarify!
There is a power that the state has that the people don't really have any say in controlling and that is the power to choose weather or not a law is enforce. The people might elect representatives to make and scrutinise laws but they have no say at all in the enforcement. In capitalists countries for example crimes that allow the beating down of working class people tend to be seriously investigated and enforced whereas middle class law breaking is totally ignored even though on paper both laws exist and should be enforced.

As for your stuff about mortality you are making a basic mistake, laws have nothing to do with morality and never have they are about power. The people who control the state use laws to benefit their own class and keep other classes down. Laws are weapons their effect depends on who holds them and who they point them at, very similar to education. The whole idea that laws are related to morality is just a lie those in power use to get people to accept having the laws of the rich forced upon them.
Last edited by Decky on 21 Jul 2017 11:08, edited 1 time in total.
Ultimately we all cherrypick.

Just because something's legal doesn't make it right, illegal make something wrong.

I had no qualms breaking the law by smoking marijuana. It should be legalised if tobacco is to remain legal, fair's fair. I broke the law when losing my virginity by having sex in public. Again, did I feel bad about it? No!

People with cars break the road laws when they think they can get away with it. Why refrain from running a red light in the dead of night at an intersection where you're the only car? Sure it means breaking the law, but no one will be run over or another vehicle crash because it's just you.
"The law" is simply a written version of community standards. Today, we are trying to replace these standards with individual rights. This is the real conflict you see. Laws are not meant to reflect right or wrong, only what is acceptable in a community. It is up to the residents of the community to make sure those laws reflect their wishes. Our attempt to write laws based upon individual rights will require a book for every individual on earth.

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