Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | November 29, 2009

Against The Law

There is an old saw that says, “Laws are made to be broken.”  I think this is true.  Think about it: If  laws are not made to be broken, why would there be any need for laws?  In a society of robots, no laws are necessary since behavior is already programmed in.  It wouldn’t occur to robots to go against their programming; they simply follow their programming, no questions asked.

Laws that restrict behavior are written for one of two purposes: to outlaw certain behaviors that are already frowned upon by society; and to affect changes in behavior within society.  Murder would fall into the first category; smoking into the second.

From time to time, society moves to outlaw activities or actions that are presently perfectly legal, but for some reason have been now deemed a detriment to society.  Laws do not easily change behavior, but they do “bend” behavior.  Over time, the bend becomes permanently fixed, and extremely difficult to undo.

I am in total agreement that we should obey laws as they exist; but we also have every right to protest what we don’t agree with and try to change it. That is certainly the American way, and it is actually part of our obligation as freedom-loving American citizens.

Also part of the “American way” is this: When a law so strongly violates our conscience, or our understanding of scripture that we hold sacred, or morality that we understand as absolute, we can choose to violate the law. However, in so doing, we should be prepared to accept the consequences that will surely result from our violation of the law—even to the extent that we could be jailed for our flouting of the law.  This is sometimes necessary, however, to affect change when unjust laws have been so strongly entrenched in society.  It is also necessary when government attempts to impose new laws that are unjust or unsupported by society at large.  One need only look at the American Revolution and, later, the American civil rights movement to understand this.

Some famous law-breakers from American history include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and all of the founders of our country;as well as Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Tatanka Iyotaka (Chief Sitting Bull), Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  I think most of us would be proud to be found in the company of any of these lawbreakers.  For they are lawbreakers who all had a strong hand in shaping the country as we know it, and in making it better.

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Responses

  1. Okay, buster, you sound guilty as hell. What’d you do, now? 😉

  2. Nah. It is just a philosophical exercise. Actually, I had this post partially completed and sitting in my draft file for a good number of weeks. I figured I was very light on posting this month, so I should get something up before November expires. It does need a little more work, though. I haven’t really pulled the pieces of my thinking together as well as I’d like.


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