I have noticed a lot of situations lately which indicate that people’s adherence to the law depends on their own biases and whether they personally agree with it.
When it suits their ends, or when it aligns with something they believe in, many people will be gung-ho about the importance of respecting the law as an absolute. Take, for example, illegal immigration. Many people who want illegal immigrants deported under any and all circumstances will point to the fact that “they broke the law!” It doesn’t matter to them whether the law is just, or if there is any grey area.
Another example is the Eric Garner killing. While many people decry the fact that he was murdered because of a somewhat minor infraction such as selling untaxed cigarettes, there are still others who will say things like “just obey the law, and you won’t have these kinds of problems.”
Now, move on to torture. Even though it is illegal domestically and internationally, many of those same people who cry about the law when it comes to things like illegal immigration or people like Eric Garner, will point to the atrocity of 9/11 as the reason they don’t care if we torture people. Some will deny that rectal feeding or being waterboarded 183 times constitutes torture, and some will admit that the law was broken, but that it’s okay because of the extenuating circumstances.
I think on a certain level, yes, laws were made to be broken or changed. Just because something is legal doesn’t make it the right thing to do, and on the flipside, just because something is illegal doesn’t make it necessarily wrong. But I think there needs to be some consistency involved, and not just an arbitrary, fickle decision to take note of the importance of law only when it does or does not fit in with your personal goals or beliefs.
Photo credit – www.pixabay.com – jpornelasadv