Two Questions for People Who Respect the Law
By Bryan Caplan
I don’t respect the law. If my conscience says one thing, and the law says another, I often follow the law to avoid punishment. But in my eyes, legality per se has zero moral weight.
My position is admittedly controversial. As far I can tell, most people respect the law. They think that making X illegal at least tends to cause X to be immoral as well. Indeed, many people seem to think that making X illegal almost automatically makes X immoral as well. The key, though, is “almost.” The biggest fan of the law admits that, German law notwithstanding, it’s OK to try to escape from Auschwitz. And, American law notwithstanding, maybe it’s OK to drive 56 mph in a 55 mph zone.
In any case, I’ve got two questions for readers who respect the law more than I do. Would you be so kind as to indulge me?
1. What is the worst law you think people are still morally obliged to obey?
2. What is the least bad law you think people are morally permitted to break?
I’m very curious to hear your answers.