Law and Disorder – an investigation into the ethics of obeying morally objectionable legal ordinances

A rather important issue that must be addressed is whether it is ever morally justifiable to break the laws of the state in which you inhabit. Laws, in principle, should only be put in place to preserve our inherent rights as human beings. Statutes against homicide and thievery are examples of such laws. There are instances, however, when the legal code of a state crosses a boundary and infringes on our inalienable rights. To follow, or even, indeed, to tolerate, such a law is morally unconscionable.

Take as an example, if you will, the second law of thermodynamics. This ordinance roughly states that for any process that takes place, the total entropy in the universe may not decrease (and, in fact, it will generally increase). As such, if you obey this law while doing anything, such as pondering the meaning of life, reading a philosophical treatise or, yes, even simply living, you become an accomplice in the destruction of the universe as we know it. How can anyone with a conscience accept something so unconscionable? The only ethical choice in such a situation is to simply break the law. Perhaps, with a coordinated campaign of civil disobedience, the powers that be would relent and repeal this unjust thermodynamical statute. Otherwise, the disorder in the universe will grow to the point of making the existence of life impossible; an abhorrent violation of our inherent rights. So, yes, it is permissible to transgress the law if the statute in question reaches beyond the point of moral conscionability. In fact, it is the only ethical choice.

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~ by norealname on April 15, 2008.

4 Responses to “Law and Disorder – an investigation into the ethics of obeying morally objectionable legal ordinances”

  1. Hm, that is quite a leap – and not of logic – to claim that ‘increase in entropy’ is congruent with ‘destruction of the universe’.

    Please, support it with some evidence…IF you can!

  2. Good point. I suppose I mean the destruction of the universe as we know it. The universe will, of course, remain, but since life essentially is a center of low entropy that needs to export more “disorder” in order to obey the second law, eventually this low center of entropy will not be sustainable within the next several hundred trillion years or so. I shall make the correct changes.

  3. Thank you!

    Your first paragraph lays down the framework for the discussion. I accept that and will stay within this frame for the purposes of this discussion. :o)

    I am willing to accept (here) your proposition that laws ‘…should only be put in place to preserve our inherent rights as human beings…’ . Which, of course, begs the question: which of our inherent rights as human beings is being protected by the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

    Only when you identify this can you begin to evaluate whether or not this law serves to preserve this inherent human right, or not. Being educated in Physics, not law, I do not know if I am qualified to make this legal evaluation …

    By the way: excelent twist! ‘logic-yoga’, perhaps?

  4. […] Law and Disorder – an investigation into the ethics of obeying morally obje… […]

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