Obligation To Obey The Law Analysis

Good Essays
The author of the article denies the existence of a general obligation to obey the law with rebuttals to counter objections. He starts with the paradox of the just government. It is very confusing if there is an obligation to obey the law of a just state or if the laws of a government are moral when there is a moral obligation to follow them. However, moral obligation is needed to prove that a law is a relatively just law. This means that this moral obligation comes before the moral obligation to obey the law. Obligation to obey the law is only redundant since it is derived from these other moral obligations. If people refrain from doing immoral actions, it is because those actions are morally forbidden not because of the laws that prohibit…show more content…
He points out that Finnis fails to explain why there needs to be a general obligation to obey the law. The author refutes that general obligation to obey the law cannot be explained by fairness because there are many innocuous illegal acts which cannot be unfair. Contract and consent to obey the law are often mentioned by advocates of the general obligation to obey. These supporters argue that by living in a society and taking the benefits of a legal system, people implicitly consent to follow the law. However, it must be acknowledged that too few have given consent and such consent is not enough to concede to a whole legal system. It is worthwhile to have an attitude of loyalty and belonging to a just community, but you do not have a general obligation to do so. If the general obligation to obey does exist, it was chosen voluntarily by an…show more content…
Although the existence of moral obligation cannot be denied, the question as to whether we have moral obligation to legal norms is controversial. It seems quite true that there is no moral obligation to obey a law simply because it is a law. However, I agree that laws have an important function of social stability and order, in determining what is just and moral. This also brings cases where certain action is not immoral in itself, but laws could make it so. I was especially persuaded by the Raz's claim that the reasons for obeying the law must come from the reasons for having that law. If the law is established from a just reason, then it will be natural for people to follow what that law requires, without the need for an
Get Access