great gretzky wrote:...it is perfectly reasonable for people to believe it is an unjust law and decide not to honor it...
This is fundamentally wrong. First, for argument's sake let's say that marijuana and steroids are unjust laws (even though this hasn't actually been established nor is it consensus). Ethical responsibility requires disobedience in some
cases. It is not a blanket responsibility to disobey any law you deem unjust because that is the same as anarchy.
Not it isn't the same as anarchy, because society will still punish those who break the law, and limit through imprisonment, fines, and other punishment behavior that is illegal. Part of Civil Disobedience is doing the time if caught/arrested etc. There was "law and order" in Nazi Germany, Facist Spain and Italy and Vichy France. It doesn't mean that those societies weren't fundamentally unethical.
Again, I haven't attempted to argue that pot is even in the same solar system as those issues or issues that are weighty. But I have also made more arguments as to why the laws are unjust, whereas you have just made statements. The laws are arbitrary, and you could argue that its unethical to support the booze industry considering the sorrow that alcohol has contributed to. It is unethical to allow alcoholics to continue to buy alcohol, but it is legal. It's boggling my mind that these distinctions aren't clear to you.
I'd like to add as a side point that consensus isn't the final arbiter of justice either, ever hear of mob mentality? There was consensus about right and wrong there too. We have a Supreme Court that in theory isn't swayed by consensus of the citizens, but what is legal and what is not. We are a representative democracy, but it doesn't mean that majority rule in laws (or for that matter ethics and morality) is correct. Which is why if majority rule carried the day, minorities wouldn't have won the equality cases they have.
It's not fundamentally wrong, and you still haven't decoupled your argument about laws versus ethics. There are hundreds of years of thought behind my position in the form of published texts, ruminations, etc. On your side is Amazin's assertion that something is illegal so therefore it follows that it is unethical. It seems to me that you are arguing for civic duty to obey the law. Ever read 1984? Julia had a civic and legal prerogative/responsibility to turn in Winston Smith, but it was definitely unethical and immoral to do so.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but read the definitions of ethics, and read the definition of law. Ethics is a personal, laws are for society.
When you break the law, you are subject to penalties for doing so. However, you can smoke pot and still be ethical. It's legality is irrelevant.