Amazinz wrote:Wasn't it Plato/Socrates who went as far as to say (in so many words) that even Civil Disobedience was unethical, that he had an unbreakable obligation to Athens' law?
We have an ethical responsibility to society and an aspect of that responsibility is upholding the law because the law in general serves the greater good. Breaking the law is in and of itself unethical.
Plato said that, but it was based on being both consistent and because he tacitly consented to the rule of law. Of course, subsequently that has been toned down, and applied to today, you can certainly argue that most people have tacitly agreed to no such law. Considering the electoral college, and considering that we aren't a straight democracy, well, you can fill in the blanks. And I'll add that I wasn't talking about Civil Disobedience in regards to Plato and others, but the general idea of morality juxtaposed to law.
Ok this is pointless, as its not "hippy" logic. as your status indicates You are obviously either uneducated on the issue or undercooked, because ethics and law are distinct by definition. Your logic is as circular as it gets. The law doesn't unequivocally service the "greater good" and to claim so is borderline stupid. It's designed in theory to do so, but in reality it serves the greater good, but also serves interests that are unethical. Obviously separate but equal laws served no "greater good" than reinforcing the position of the privileged.
When the sitting president chuckles and says he "inhaled too" when asked about pot, I think it is more than clear if the person applying for the job of enforcing the law as head of the Executive Branch thinks its a silly question, then the rest of us can view it through the prism of legality as opposed to morality. Otherwise, the past three presidents should have declined to run, as all have done illegal drugs.
So in your opinion, should every contract be honored, even if they are unfair or misleading? Or is word bond? Because through the law means exist to get out of such arraignments, but sometimes just because you can legally get out of something doesn't mean you should.
Is exploiting tax loopholes not unethical because technically they are legal? Using shelters and loopholes certainly violates the spirit and point of the tax code. Is it fair that some corporations pay taxes similar to that of wealthy individuals, when they should be paying more, but don't technically have to because they gamed the system? It's certainly unethical in these instances not to pay what your intended fair share was/is. you see, the two issues are intertwined, but not equal.
I'd suggest you read "The Ethicist" every Sunday in the New York Times magazine and think about the many ways in which morality/ethics diverge from the law. Should you keep jewelry you found on the street, or should you make an honest to goodness effort to find the owner first? It's your prerogative to keep unidentified items you find, but ethically, you should at least make an effort to reunite owner and item. Should people take "upskirt" photos, or exploit technology in such ways that aren't illegal simply because laws haven't caught up?
Quite frankly, there are so many instances where the two things have different perspectives that you are giving little to no thought about these issues other than stating "breaking the law is in and of itself unethical" a line of thought that is roundly rejected by experts in the field. You have an ethical obligation only in so far as society is acting ethically and fair in making its laws. And this doesn't mean that on balance society is fair, say 60 percent fair, but in the remainder of issues it isn't, but since the majority of it is right on, you have to accept all of the laws of society because its more or less ethical. No, that is silly.
If there was a society that was perfectly ethical and fair EXCEPT for one law that dictated someone would be randomly sacrificed, even if everyone voted on such a law, it would still be ethical to protest this or refuse to be the person to be sacrificed. You don't have to accept it just because it is a law, it would be a ridiculous thing to follow, even if the rest of society is perfect. In other words, just because society's laws IN GENERAL serve the greater good, lawmaking itself is so flawed that you don't have to take the bad with the good and just deal. You aim to change the system, but when the system is gamed, you don't have to respect said law.
And BTW, I am amazed this convo didn't bring this up yet, but what about Conscientious Objectors in wars? Were such people summarily unethical? After all, they received the benefits of the society that America provided them. Should they support their country no matter what, just because a law says they had to serve? Same with draft dogers who had no way to have a sponsor for such objection? The government can just institute a program like that, and you don't have an ethical obligation to follow it, if the whole point is unethical in the first place -- laws or no laws.