In any society, it is common for people to break the law and disobey legal instructions. People go no further when they are instructed by the police, evade taxes, drive too fast, keep silent about abuse in churches, talk about abuse in detention centers, enter military installations and drive drunk. All of them break the law, and if they are caught, they must be punished. These people appealed to a superior law that surpassed the laws promulgated by their leaders. Because the laws were unjust, they believed it was right to break them. And we salute them. Sometimes people break the law, not because they don`t know the consequences, but because of the greater law they follow: the law of morality. Whether through civil disobedience, vigilant justice or ecoterrorism, it is not enough to obey laws that are morally wrong. In addition, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws, and to do so, those laws must be broken. The White Rose, a nonviolent group in Nazi Germany, broke several laws and actively opposed the regime of dictator Adolf Hitler because their conscience told them that killing Jews was wrong and unjust. They followed their hearts and let themselves be guided by their own voices instead of the voices imposed on them. If absolutely necessary, and if the consequences have been properly weighed, then it is right to break the law to eliminate race-based inequalities.
But this can never be necessary, and no amount of consequence can ever make it right to break the law in the name of Nazi principles. After all, breaking laws must also promise some effectiveness. Sometimes this directly benefits people who are treated unfairly. More often than not, it will expose the injustice of the law by highlighting its impact on vulnerable people and thus praising a change in policy. For martyrs, effectiveness is usually measured in centuries. But is any violation of the law justifiable? Certainly not! If everyone started breaking the laws just because they think they have a good reason, society would be in chaos. Providing shelter to women and children seeking refuge to avoid being sent to Nauru would be illegal. That is a fact. The important question is whether it would be fair to break the law. In healthy democracies, this question is often asked. It`s tricky.
Breaking the law, even if we consider it to be a bad law, is serious. Of course, we all break the law: even me, when I`m behind the wheel, I take my eyes off the clock for a few moments and follow the current! However, thinking about breaking a law and then doing it – not easy. I don`t want asylum seekers to be sent to a place where they are injured. I don`t want women to be treated in hospital after an incident of domestic violence. I don`t want to see a child killed by a drunk driver. Am I doing justice to myself? Martin Luther King once said, “Freedom is never given willingly by the oppressor; It must be demanded of the oppressed,” implying that individuals who are members of privileged groups in society rarely want to voluntarily renounce their privileges. Thus, breaking the law becomes a necessity and can be justified because such an unjust law cannot simply be tolerated. On the other hand, laws are supposed to be perceived by some as imperfect, and to make a change or correct the wrong thing, laws must be broken. For example, in the late 18th century, African-American citizens were discriminated against and neglected by civil rights and the right to vote. For this reason, Martin Luther King initiated the civil rights movement of the 1950s, ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens.
The violation also led to the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Similarly, the American War of Independence and the Indian National Movement are some of the examples where people break the law to fight for their own rights. It also requires the offender to act seriously, to work in other ways to change the law, and to accept the punishment that may follow for breaking the law. The violation of unjust laws must serve the common good and must not only be the expression of unbridled individual freedom. Sometimes laws seem to protect the rich and the rich at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged. Sometimes laws seem unfair, so is it true that sometimes a good person has to break the law to get the right thing? Can it be morally right to break the law? Or is ethics the same as the law? However, this blanket condemnation of violations of the law runs counter to our inherited moral tradition. We honor many people who have violated the laws of their country. These include the Christian martyrs who ignored Roman law and forced them to worship the emperor, Hans and Sophie Scholl who distributed anti-war leaflets in Nazi Germany, and the many in occupied Holland who sheltered Jewish families. Sally McManus, the newly elected secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), caused a stir on Wednesday when she said in a television interview that she saw no problem breaking the law if the law was unfair. “What`s right isn`t always popular, and what`s popular isn`t always right.” – Albert Einstein We all break the law, whether it`s downloading music from the internet or crossing the street illegally.
I think it is right to break the law in this case, because it is a humanitarian issue and it does not harm anyone; On the contrary, it helps someone. If a law is based on the majority, it does not mean that it is morally just. The responsibility for upholding the rule of law lies with both citizens and Governments. Above all, laws passed by governments must be fair. Above all, unjust laws discredit the law and promote violations of the law. It seems to me that we can begin by rejecting an extreme position. It is the view that disobedience to the law cannot be justified under any circumstances. Taking this position means saying one of two things: either any law that exists is a just law, or greater injustice is always committed by breaking the law. The first statement is simply false. The second is very doubtful. If this is true, then the signatories of the Declaration of Independence and the Germans who refused to carry out Hitler`s orders committed injustices. The outrage of Labour and Liberal politicians that followed was predictable.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said he believes in changing bad laws, not breaking them. Labour Minister Michaelia Cash said the comments showed McManus was “a law in itself.” I think Australians who break the Refugees and Asylum Act are commendable. Everyone breaks the law, a fine for speeding is a criminal offense. The treatment on Nauru and Manus Island is absolutely shameful and shines a light on us, Australian society. However, to respect the law, we must first learn to respect people, so as not to appear so despicable to asylum seekers who are born with the same rights as us. BUT who should make these tough decisions? Who can say that one man`s moral principles are just and another`s are wrong? Here we come to the special function that civil disobedience fulfills in a society. The man who breaks the law on the grounds that the law is immoral asks the rest of us to trust him or those he trusts against the established conventions and authorities of our society. Respecting the rule of law while breaking laws is a sensitive issue. It is about meticulously focusing action on the law that is unjust and not acting indiscriminately outside the law.
This is one of the standard and often sincere arguments against the activities of people like racial equality advocates in Congress who change laws they deem offensive by breaking them radically. These groups are often convicted of risking unrest and flouting the law, when they could achieve their goals in a much more just and patriotic manner if they respected the law and limited themselves to courts and methods of peaceful persuasion.