I didn’t do it (or if I did, I had a “good” reason)
We all want to think we are law-abiding citizens. Yet we would prove unable to know or even understand all the laws of our country of residence, let alone of the countries we visit. Perhaps worse, while we hold a perfect image of ourselves when it comes to respecting the law, it’s in stark contrast of what actually happens – perhaps not in the case of everyone, but most of us. We voluntarily go slightly over the speed limit because there’s really no one on the road. We feel okay to illegally download a film because we tell ourselves we would never have gone up the cinema to watch it. We shamelessly consume unauthorised substances because we do it just once in a blue moon (when I say “we”, it’s a general “we” to encompass you listeners and other human beings, since neither Dirk nor I do drugs, hand on heart).
And so we continuously break the law for a variety of reasons. Most often it’s because we deem the law to be stupid. But does that realisation entitle us to act the way we do? After all, laws were voted for (hopefully) valid reasons, by people weelected to power. It doesn’t seem a democracy would work well if we suddenly decided to change the meaning, application or validity of any given law. But what if we don’t live in a democracy: does that give us any entitlement – or further entitlement – to breach rules?
It’s once again a tricky series of questions that are not simple to answer. And that’s why we debated about them, coalesced under the motion “if a law is stupid, we should break it”. As usual, we flipped a coin to assign sides randomly. This time, Dirk comes up with reasons why we shouldn’t break the law in any circumstance. On the other hand, Sebastian will argue that there are a number of instances which call for civil disobedience.
On 2debate, we keep it simple: it’s either thumbs up or thumbs down. And YOU get to choose with no risk of persecution nor retaliation. So go ahead, vote on our website to break the law – or to respect it – depending on who convinced you the most.
Sebastian & Dirk
Picture: CC0, Pixabay