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Old 08-15-2009, 12:01 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,606
Default What is right vs what is legal, which holds greater sway with you?

For the sake of argument, I think we can all agree that a good society has a legal system that aligns pretty well with what is right. But no society has reached perfection, and some societies have such a discord in what is legal vs what is right it almost gives carte blanch, ethically, to overrule such laws.

But then we are a nation of laws, and simply disagreeing with a law in and of itself is not a strong enough reason to flout it...

But on this I am very schizoid. I feel internally how Andrew Sullivan behaves externally.

For example I am against illegal immigration, and at the same time, I do NOT see anything wrong, ethically, with a guy crossing the border illegally for the purpose of trying to create a better life for himself and his family. I REFUSE to look upon such a person as a criminal in the same way I would look upon one who steals or assaults, they are NOT ethically the same, and for me that makes a difference. And for all that I would still support increased border enforcement. Mass deportation? no, not at all, but yes to keeping people out, even the ones with perfectly good and noble motives (the ones with bad motives = insta deportation).

It spills into my neoconish take on the world and interventions as well. I never could understand people making legalistic cases against intervention, as if that, in and of itself held a candle to issues of the good vs bad of intervening.

The irony is that I am completely susceptible to arguments of the form intervention A is bad because of X, Y, and Z reasons, there I have the Possibility of agreeing with the argument, or rejecting it.

Still, completely flouting laws, even if laws are not fit or just for a given situation is not something to be lauded or taken lightly.

But take the case of the Shoe bomber, I would guess many would (and have) take up the defense for his rights, principles über alles after all. But then no self respecting utilitarian could ever take such a stand, there will always be conditions and exceptions for those such as myself. But where to cut.

Do you all have some simple guidelines?

Or is it simpler for you, do you simply follow what is legal?
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