Blog Post 2: Electric Boogaloo

by BrianOwens on October 30, 2015 - 10:55pm

We obey the law because it is enforced on us. Personally I don’t believe in the theories of civil obedience like gratitude that explain to explain why people follow the law. People don’t follow the law and obey it out of appreciation of the freedoms they get from it. I believe that people obey the law in fear of being penalized by it. I think some sufficient evidence for this would be in class when asked whom has violated law a heavy majority said they had. When examining my own life I have realized I break the law on a daily basis. I do this because various laws I think are unnecessary or are ridiculous and I think most people do this as well. I can’t speak for everyone but for almost all of my friends, they constantly speed when driving. Canada has one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the world yet it’s illegal. I think in general people don’t modify their behaviour majorly because of the laws that pertain to it, only moderately based on the penalties that are enforceable. I do believe however that people follow laws if they’re inline with there own morals and they wouldn’t behave in an illegal manner regardless. For example, I speed when I feel safe to do so driving because I know I’m in control of the vehicle however, I wouldn’t hit my mother in any circumstance, not because it’s illegal but because that’s not right to do. These actions have nothing to do with what’s illegal, it has everything to do with what I believe is right and wrong to do.

 If we were to disagree with a specific law there’s many avenues we could take. My personal favourite is to disregard the law if there’s unlikely to be any consequences. More productive means of facilitating your opposition would be to attempt to change the law. This could be done by getting involved with law or politics yourself or by creating awareness of the issue you see and trying to get a support base. This would be protesting or creating a petition. I was fortunate enough to see this in progress as my sister lead a protest against the Shriners Circus in Kingston, Ontario due to poor treatment of performing animals and the Shriners skipped it on their tour for a few years. Admittedly, this seems irrelevant to the change of law as the laws remained the same however it had social influence so there is relevance as law is just a tool to dictate the behaviour of society.

Technically speaking, we have no obligation to follow any law but legally we are required to do so at all times. There are instances in case law however when someone does not adhere specifically to the exact details of a law however is found innocent and a legal precedent is set. This is a means of evolution of case law systems. I feel like for most people, as I’ve already stated, do think there is a correct time to disregard a law and it tends to be when it is not inline with their morals. I think we claim to be law-abiding citizens because for the most part Canadian laws do represent the morals of most Canadian people. If there were hate laws or any other laws that majorly restrict freedoms then I think it is perfectly acceptable to disobey and disregard laws in a moral regard.

I’ll conclude this post be reiterating that I think civil obedience is maintained due to the fear of the penalty and not a sense of community, that the main avenues of handling a law you disagree with are to not abide-by it, get involved with law to change it or to become socially active against it and finally we technically have no moral/physical obligation to follow any law however if we lived in an omnipotent legal system we would technically be required to abide by all laws and all times. 

About the author