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The law's opposition entails what, exactly?

Law and morality are separate, though obviously related, concerns. There are books recording stupid and silly laws held by American localities at one time or another. These books suggest that said laws were not something one could take seriously in a moral or intellectual sense. There are also many administrative laws without apparent moral intent or character. And then there are the laws most people have no problem ignoring when convenient.

There is arguably nothing wrong with me taping a Mariners' game for personal use (or even for showing at large parties at my house) without checking with anybody if I can. There are variously more controversial issues when it comes to 'intellectual property', but it is obvious that many don't feel that a law proscribing something is enough to make it morally wrong or otherwise distasteful.

People jay walk all the time. This is against the law. Does anybody really think this is something one shouldn't do when there are no cars or cops around to complicate things?

I find it silly that people talk about illegal immigrants as criminals, as though people who got here without INS permission were likely to go rob banks or rape our daughters at a moment's notice. Sure, they didn't follow a law. A federal law. But so what? This does not make them bad or dangerous people, especially if the law is poorly thought out or executed.

Why do some folks assume that law legislates morality? So many who do seem like the sort to tell you morals are objective, too. I just don't get it. I mean, my natural response is to say the people are obviously idiots, and to leave it at that. But I'd like to hope that not all of them are morons, and that some of them just haven't thought this through, or might even have some cogent defense of their position.


  1. Morals are things that I apply to myself, but not to other people, even though I judge them in light of my morals sometimes.

    Laws are things that are applied to me by authorities. For that reason they are less binding because they aren't necessarily in my best interests, whereas all of my morals are in my best interests in so far as I know what my best interests are. I don't feel bad about breaking the law, or any rule, when it doesn't apply to me. I only may feel afraid of punishment. I feel bad when I break my own moral code though.


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