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Obeying the Law

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by dan, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. In general, most of us abide by the law for fear of consequence. As we know, laws don't always make sense, and not everyone agrees with them. Laws and penalties change from place to place - some places have strict laws against drug importation, some places give you a slap on the wrist. Some countries take different approaches to road laws in respect to speeding (Germany) and lane splitting (US and others).

    The fact that a law exists doesn't mean that it is valid to a society, or that it makes anyone safer. As an example, the US introduced prohibition in an attempt to reduce crime and health issues among many things. The law was effective in reducing health problems, but crime rose as a result. The fact that the law wasn't logical didn't stop it from being brutally enforced, and in turn it didn't stop many people from breaking it.

    The question has been posed (thanks hornet): Should we break laws because we don't believe in their objective, or break them with a view to having them changed? Or should we obey them blindly?
  2. My personal response to this - there is so many ludicrous laws that I couldn't list them all in a lifetime. NSW recently made it an offence "to ride a bicycle furiously"...

    Our ability to obey them is dictated by three things:

    1) Their relevance to protecting community, people or property -
    We tend to obey laws if they are relevant and make sense to use as a society
    2) The penalties or deterrents applied to offences under law -
    We tend to obey laws if the penalties for breaking them are oppressive or undesirable
    3) The likelihood of detection of the offence
    We tend to obey laws when breaking them would be easily detected.

    So as a general rule, people obey most laws, but often ignore laws that are not relevant, do not have heavy deterrents and are likely to go undetected. In fact, most of us would be pretty safe to 'ride a bicycle furiously' in our own street given that the law isn't relevant to society, it's only a $50 fine and there isn't much chance of being cited by passing law enforcement.

    So, in effect we pick an choose which laws to obey based on the first 3 criteria... anyone who claims to blindly obey the law would generally be lying, which is probably breaking some law... :LOL:

    Should we obey laws just because they are laws? In general, we should respect the laws, even if they make no sense or seem unfair. Our rights as citizens in a democracy is to elect people who legislate to our desires, not to break laws until those in power make changes to suit.

    People who argue that a law is correct because it exists and is enforced is a fool... they must argue based on the logic of the rule.

    Should we break laws to get them changed? Sometimes if the behavior is innocuous, then society will become tacitly accepting of if it is widely practiced (ie lane splitting). If the behavior is not acceptable to the average person, then widespread violation will fail to generate change, just more penalty and detection.

    Overall, the best option to change laws is to pressure those in office with the power of our vote.
  3. When I did legal studies class 16 years ago, we were told that there were three ways to get the laws you disagreed with changed.

    1. civil disobedience
    2. cant remember.
    3. cant remember.

    That leaves me with only one choice for expessing my opinion, since I can't rememeber the other two ways.

    Breakin the law!
    Breakin the law!
  4. This is a very effective way - just make sure you have the john-laws-listening-blue-rinse-set on board with your cause :shock: :LOL: :LOL:
  5. Those in power are purely their for their own ego and finacial gain. Politics has nothing to do with what the people want unless the people kick up a fuss. People rarely run for office promising to change unfair laws (given that they often solely exist to benefit politicians) so it would be a long wait for them to get around to running on each and every one of them.

    Go with your heart. If something is unjust, intollerable, immoral or just plain stupid and annoying then show those in power that they are not the true holders of that power. One man with an idea and a slab can change the world! [-o< :-({|= :butt: :LOL:
  6. Most laws from what i see are in place to keep a safe and happy society.

    Unfortunately these laws often go against our own wants. This is where we are faced with a dilema. Do we obey and keep everybody else happy and/or safe or do we serve ourselves.

    Personally I like try to keep people happy and safe. But occasionally if i asses a situation and conlude nobody other than myself is likely to get hurt then i go for it. On other very very rare occasions i get a fcuk the rest of the world....

    fcuk Rules and just be a nice person.
  7. Re: A scholarly response, Dan, .....

    Protesting the conservative government or the fact that they removed peoples democratic right to decide if they join the army or not? Concription for a way is no different from slavery. It forces a person against their will to take part in something that they not only don't want to do but very often find morally objectionable and deviant from human decency.

    If Sadam had told iraqi men to contribute towards a war they disagreed with and they decided to protest, would you have seen it in the same light?
  8. Re: A scholarly response, Dan, .....

    It's one thing to legislate against a behaviour or activity, but to make a law that forces you to do something is generally controversial. I suppose that this is a good example of when we believe that a law infringes on our human rights, we don't seem to have too many problems breaking it.
  9. Timing

    Seany I was in the army at the time, so I'm not talking about things from the past, I was observing what was happening in real time.

    The anti-conscription debate was driven by the assertion that conscripts were being sent to Vietnam against their will. They were not, and if this fact, which was known, but for the political purpose was supressed or ignored by the protest in general, had been allowed, the protest would have been meaningless; spending two years peeling potatoes in Ingleburn is scarcely dangerous. When conscription was abandoned more men stayed in the Army than left.

    I think the comparison with Saddam is disingenuous because it is not a comparison with what was happening in Australia in 1970, but I do agree that sending men to war against their will must be one of the worst crimes against humanity. One only has to see how quickly the Iraqi army surrendered to see how pointless the exercise was, ultimately.
  10. I think that's basicly it Dan. If a law infringes on our human rights then it's going to be protested. Same if a law affects our quality of life or penalises us for the advantage of another (eg. 3kph tolerance on speed cameras to boost government funds). The laws that are stupid but don't affect us dramatically aren't likely to make us jump up and down because we don't care. Similarly, the laws we don't like but are designed to protect people, we choose to accept for the greater good.
  11. Hornet600, I really think that even if you'e peeling potatos, you are contributing to a military force. If that force is engaged in an activity you are opposed to then any person should have the right to say no.

    There were a lot of untruths told in the 70's including that the concrips would fight and that the world was about to be overrun by communists through a domino effect from SE Asia.

    The Vietnam war served no other purpose than to protect American intersts in tin mining and to play out a scale model cold war without taking on Russia. I don't have any issue with you being in the army at the time. You have the right to choose, but I also think everyone should have that right regardless of their decision.
  12. Quote" The law was effective in reducing health problems, but crime rose as a result. " Endquote.

    Dan that only means some people will simply not obey any law they don't want to. Means nothing for reasoning.

    I agree some laws are no good but as a society we probably need them to protect someone. You/I may not quite know who or what, but no law is enacted if it has reason at the time. You could once have a leek on one sid eor the other, if you were in charge of a horse. Today that is gone. At the time it was valid.

    Some people are against laws that restrain them. For example if murder was removed I can think of a few people that would go missing real quick. However that would be no good as I might be the target of someone else. So, we caould argue that if a road lwa Speeding) was to be left to anyone's discretion, can you imagine what some drongos would do. AND you may be on the wrong end. HMMMMMM???//

    Still, all good for a debate/natter/arguement etc.


  13. Brian, I think you've got some valid points. If a law is designed to protect people then it should be obeyed. However, what about laws that are not designed for this purpose.

    A 3kph tollerance when speedos allow 10% is unfair and not designed in the interst of safety. We can't allow everyone to drive as fast as they desire, but there needs to be protection in place to allow people to comply to that law within the limitations of their environment including speedo accuracy and inconsistancy with throttle control. By taking our eyes off the road and onto our dash display, more accidents are likely to be caused simply so Bracksy can say he's doing a good job with the ecconomy even if it's based on speeding fines.

    Similarly, front numerplates for motorbikes have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue collection at the expense of a minority group who would have to make potentially expensive and unsafe modifications to their vehical. I think that' fair to fight.

    Dan, can we plaease have some clarification as to whether we're discussing laws that are flawed/unjust or just those that sop us doing anything we want to?
  14. Re: A scholarly response, Dan, .....

    The ballot box... like the one they used for the referendum on the republic?

    "Yeh, it's gonna be awesome! We'll give you a gun, you'll get to shoot it, kill gooks like the ones who starved your uncle to death in Singapore, you'll get to root heaps of pros, drink heaps of piss..."
  15. Or we just have them to keep us in line. Quoth Chief Wiggum, "The law can't protect you, but it can punish you."

    True today as it was in the time of Stalin.

    So, are you, basically, saying that the_only_thing keeping you from going on a homicidal rampage is the prospect of being caught and punished?

    He doesn't have to. The drongos in question do that already.
  16. Its only illegal if you get caught.
    This is the Brackward State you know.
  17. Hmm
    I remember a certain premier threatening to sack teachers if they spoke out against the school closures by actually making it a law.
    I remember a certain state premier who cut funding to hospitals and threatened nurses with the sack if they spoke out by actually making it a law.
    I remember that same premier closed schools and hospitals and introduced toll roads on established arterials.
    Yep a very Brackward state indeed.
  18. Jeff Kennett is a mortal enemy of mine smee. There are only federal politicians I'd like to kick to death more. :twisted: That doesn't mean one can't disagree with Bracksy. I remember an opposition leader calling for more government accountability and an end to wasteful government advertising disguised as public information. :roll:
  19. The selfish nature of our society is the reason our laws become more and more prohibitive. We show no consideration for others, and thus laws are put in place to FORCE our consideration (or at least the selfish consideration of penalties for not obeying). The law doesn't have to be just - right and wrong are no longer respected by some peopleso laws are designed to become right and wrong.

    I guess the problem with laws are that they're designed by people with a different world view to our own - and thus we end up with a choice: do what we believe is right, or do what someone else has told you is right. In that regard, it's a lot like religion. :p
  20. Yet you see the state opposition bleating the same