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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Breaking the law: A morality issue?      Home login  
Joined: 8/27/2011
Msg: 2
Breaking the law: A morality issue?Page 1 of 9    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Yes. Breaking the law reflects badly on you and your sense of morals.

It doesn't matter if you consider the law unreasonable, I acknowledge that there are some laws which may even seem illogical, but the fact remains that laws are rules put in place which apply to all.

My view is not an uncommon one. Organisations and individuals feel the same way. Why else would certain employment opportunities depend on having a clean, criminal record ? Why would emigration to a new country also require a clean criminal record ?

It is a reflection on poor choices and/or a belief that the individual is above the law, i.e. does not have to follow the same rules as the rest of the country.

**Edit - If you object to the law in a country which you live in - move to another - but be warned, if you have been caught breaking the law and have a criminal record before applying to emigrate, you will likely be turned down.
Joined: 9/26/2011
Msg: 3
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/14/2011 8:18:09 AM
A lot of laws was created for *OUR* personal safety, like the seatbelt law and the one that irks me people talking on their cell phone while still driving.

Rules are meant to be broken!
Joined: 8/27/2011
Msg: 7
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/14/2011 10:28:14 AM
People have many reason for avoiding weed smoking individuals. Mine are many.

Firstly, I do believe in following the laws - that was how I was raised and what I believe. Yes, I have heard the arguments for legalizing this particular activity but at this moment in time, in Canada, smoking weed is not legal.

I have two teenagers who will be exposed to this and already are within their school and community. That does not mean I am going to permit them to pick and choose the laws which they follow in my house. This is an environment I can control and I will control it. There are many habits that an individual may have which would, for me, mean that they are not relationship material based solely on the example I want to set my children. And that's the point - at this time, they are children. When they get older and go out on their own, they may have opposing views to mine - I acknowledge that may well happen but I hope that I have instilled in them the good sense to avoid illegal activity because if caught, a criminal record may have huge implications in their lives down the line.

Finally, I work from home in a job which requires me to have a clean criminal record. I cannot and will not have that affected by another person. I am not giving away the power of my earning potential to someone who thinks the law does not apply to them.
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 8
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/14/2011 10:43:57 AM
The relationship between morality and law can get murky.

There are lots of things which are immoral but perfectly legal (like adultery) and others which aren't immoral but are illegal (like smoking pot). The problems come when the moral thing to do is also illegal. Ghandi gathering salt, or helping slaves escape, as examples. You should try to be law abiding, but don't sacrifice your moral sense to the legal code. It is okay to steal medicine to save someone's life if there aren't any legal alternatives.
Joined: 8/27/2011
Msg: 9
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/14/2011 11:57:08 AM
Valid point. Yes, if weed was legal, I would still do whatever I could to discourage my children to use it. Just as I discourage them from smoking, drinking, having sexual relationships without wearing a condom and many other things. It is about protecting them. It is about educating them. It is about hoping that the decision they make do not have a negative impact on their lives.
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 10
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/14/2011 12:43:14 PM
First, your conspiracy theory about why Marijuana is illegal is false. It was outlawed because it is an intoxicating drug, and when it became popular to outlaw or control intoxicants, it got swept in with other things. Alcohol was temporarily outlawed, but was too popular, and so the prohibition was removed.

As for law-breaking being a moral issue:

I myself tend to avoid using "morality" as a label for things or actions. I prefer logical reasoning that doesn't involve finding a common religious affiliation.

From a purely logical standpoint, someone such as yourself, who believes firmly that no matter who makes the rules, that YOU PERSONALLY will decide whether or not they are valid and whether or not you will abide by them, is logically untrustworthy.

In a relationship situation, whatever that relationship was, anyone who befriended you would not be able to rely upon you to conform to THEIR considerations either.

Therefore it isn't necessary for someone like me to make a decision about your "morality." You have yourself declared that you wont abide by the laws your neighbors have passed. What other areas do you apply this alleged thinking to? That would tend to be in the back of anyone's mind who deals with you.
Joined: 2/27/2010
Msg: 12
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/14/2011 6:14:08 PM
I won't break a law if it doesn't go against my morals. If it does, I have no problem breaking it. (getting caught might be a drag). I expect my moral daughter would do the same. I can't/won't say what others should do.
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 13
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/14/2011 7:12:40 PM
When I WAS confronted by my adult children deciding to smoke it, I responded again, that they were endangering myself and others by doing so. I wont let someone carry it into my house or smoke it on my property as long as it is illegal. It isn't a moral issue to me, it's a practical one.

If it IS legalized, I wont care if they do or don't, though I would naturally continue to be concerned for their health. I can't imagine that purposely sucking hot smoke of any kind into one's lungs is good for the body.

I did smoke it in college myself, so I'm no prince of purity. I gave it up along with all other illegal activities, again for practical reasons (as in I would have lost all chance at a decent level of income had I been caught with it as an adult). So my apparent self-righteousness about being law-abiding isn't based on morality either, it's pure logical practicality. My strong aversion to people who make exceptions for themselves about anything, comes directly from having ALL of my most painful heartbreaks come from people who thus decided that rules, laws, and anything else that they claimed to believe or agree to, were only "promises" until they wanted something else.

So really, my strong reaction against what you presented here as your reasoning behind it being okay to smoke, is what got my dander up, and not the smoking itself.
Joined: 11/10/2008
Msg: 15
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 1:55:09 AM
I think it has little to do with morality, but more to do with your personal values, ambition and your contribution to society. Man is at his best sober with a sharp mind. Drunks, pot heads and junkies show little interest in self development or improvement. Moments of escape seem to be the priority, which is a display of weakness. Anytime you will pay money to be in a retarded state of condition isn't a virtue that most people admire.
I also believe that if you are going to do it the best you a legendary town drunk or pot head, be remembered....even if it is for sleeping naked in someones front yard. Your job on this earth is to make the rest of us look good....can't find fault with that!
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 16
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 6:44:16 AM
"Yes. Breaking the law reflects badly on you and your sense of morals. "

Breaking immoral laws reflects well on one's sense of morals. How moral was it for people in the SS and Gestapo to kill Jews just because it was the law?
Joined: 11/10/2008
Msg: 17
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 11:47:36 AM
tall2011, thanks for the correction....I guess I just overlooked some areas of enhanced human performance. Drunks and pot heads do make better speed bumps....sober guys just won't stay put. The drunks also perform much better in pain management when they go crashing into your wife and kids on the highway. Maybe NASA will get wise to your facts and have Tyrone and his donk mobile do a daily drop of at the research lab.

Cancel your subscription to "High times" and buy some real books.
Joined: 9/20/2011
Msg: 18
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 2:57:47 PM

Drunks and pot heads do make better speed bumps....sober guys just won't stay put. The drunks also perform much better in pain management when they go crashing into your wife and kids on the highway. Maybe NASA will get wise to your facts and have Tyrone and his donk mobile do a daily drop of at the research lab.

Many great artists use and abuse drugs. They are ambitious and famous. They shape our society as much, and perhaps more-so than anyone at NASA. If you want to see immorality (or impracticality), try living in a world without art or entertainment or fun.
Joined: 2/22/2008
Msg: 21
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 7:07:40 PM
Pot was made illegal for bull shit reasons. Hell George Washington grew pot. You dont think he smoke some pot when he grew it. Doctors used to prescribe it. It was made illegal under calling it marijuana when it was called hemp before.

We look up to People Like Martin Luther King. We look up to people who ran the underground railroad. We look up to People like Ghandi. Every single one of them broke the law to do as they did.
Joined: 9/20/2011
Msg: 22
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 7:14:37 PM

Can you make a list of those who have actually achieved in areas that require thought, such as architects, doctors, scientists............ who have used and abused drugs?

... what in the hell do you think a medical doctor does? What do you suppose a medical doctor earns a doctorate in??
MEDICINE! which is mainly...
get ready...
and they prescribe...
get ready....
and when we go to the hospital we're given
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 23
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 7:20:01 PM
Ever wonder what your life would be like if you put just a fraction of the energy you do into justify a pot habit into doing something productive?
Joined: 8/9/2011
Msg: 24
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 10:27:05 PM
To answer you question a few terms need to be defined.

You suggest that morality is an individual's take on what is right or wrong. I submit that this is a very lacking definition, like any definition that is not empirical, as morality cannot be defined by a single person's opinion because actions only have moral value ,or lack there of, in relation to other people. As we both agree that killing someone is immoral I'll use it to elaborate. Killing people is wrong because it has a direct negative effect on other people, the most obvious example being the victim , and then onto people that knew the victim, and further more onto society that relied upon this man's vocational activity. So this action has an intrinsically negative impact on society thus being immoral. If something is moral it is good for society.

So what do laws have to do with this. Laws are essentially a measure of whether something is just or not. As stated above killing someone is immoral , but what about killing someone to save yourself or for the sake of argument a bus full of people, not only does society lose less people it also gets to keep a bus if you kill a single person. Well obviously it's still immoral as killing a single person has societal ramifications , however it is a just action which is reflected in the legal system.

Anyways, to answer the question do laws have anything to do with morality , no they don't but the willingness to break laws at the expense of society does tend to make one immoral. With pot smoking I wont even try to make an argument that it's bad for you and thus bad for society when any functioning person intentionally poisons themselves. How ever you are depriving society of taxes which is at least unjust and assuming government tries to act in the best interest of society immoral.

However , does doing something immoral or unjust on occasion make someone a bad person? No,I would say the consumption of alcohol is a comparable wrong to smoking pot and plenty of people are capable of doing both in a way that has little negative effect on society. Obviously if you are striving to be the most pious person possible you would quit but that would also mean you'd stop lying , never sleep in , never ,eat too much , exercise all the time , give time and money to charity , and some how still manage to be happy with your life despite being no fun at all. So to be an immoral person you need to have a consistent pattern of disregard for the well being of others.

Also as an end note, I would like to point out many stupid laws are when people either tried to do stupid things that warranted a law banning it or when people confused the ideas of morality and justice.
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 25
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/15/2011 11:12:15 PM
Morality can be defined. Kant did it.

And it was St Thomas Aquinas who defined a Just or Godly law as (among other things) one that could be enforced. That's why, despite the harm it does, adultery isn't illegal. The drug prohibition laws can only be enforced sporadically - just like the alcohol prohibition laws of a century ago.
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 26
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 4:43:53 AM
Can you make a list of those who have actually achieved in areas that require thought, such as architects, doctors, scientists............ who have used and abused drugs?

(1) Apparently you missed the fact that everyone he listed is dead due to drug overdoses. Being sober, didn't keep his point from going over your head.

(2) The list you requested is pretty easy. Most of them, since alcohol and tobacco are drugs. They just happen to be legal drugs, although both are certainly drugs no matter how you would like to think otherwise and both more dangerous than many drugs which are illegal.

(3) Right off the top of my head, I can list at least one person who meets the requirements you intended to post, except he's still alive and quite wealthy. Kary Mullis, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry for inventing the polymerase chain reaction that made DNA fingerprinting possible. He's made no secret of his rather unconventional lifestyle.

Law and morality are not synonynous. If it were, you'd have to believe morality depends on which town you were in at any given time. I really can't buy the idea that morality changes as I pass through different cities and states along a highway. Furthermore, drugs are just chemicals and as such have no morality. Whatever morality there is resides with the actions of people independent of whether or not they use those chemicals.
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 27
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 6:58:20 AM
Peter McWilliams book, "Ain't Nobodies Business If You Do" is an excellent source of exploring the history of prosecuting people for consensual crimes in the US.

The process to enact hemp/marijuana prohibition and to maintain it, is merely political, with nothing to do with morality or science. Hearst via his timber holdings, personal vendetta against Pancho Villa, and extensive use of yellow journalism, led the charge for the forest dependent paper industries and DuPont and other chemical companies financially threatened by continued hemp production. Even then, none of the health studies at the time could justify prohibition. To the contrary, it was argued that a valuable medicinal resource was being banned for no scientific reason.

Then growing hemp was legalized and patriotic during WW II, to be prohibited again afterward. Descendants of that WW II crop still grew wild in the ditches where I grew up in Wisconsin.

Pot remains one of the most effective and safe treatment options for cancer patients, sufferers of PTSD, chronic pain, arthritis, etc. It's ironic that we can take an 18 year old, teach them to kill, to be desensitized to killing, to spread terror and poisons upon civilian populations abroad, but when they come home damaged, they are not allowed a natural, highly effective and safe treatment for their PTSD and/or chronic pain from wounds. Where is the morality in that?

For the legal purists, I would urge you to check your state laws. I would venture to guess that the vast majority of us are law breakers, some on a daily basis without knowing it.
1. Oral sex is illegal in 18 states, including Arizona.

2. In Virginia, it is illegal to have sex with the lights on.

3. It is illegal for husbands in Willowdale, Oregon, to talk dirty during intercourse.

4. Sexual intercourse between unmarried couples is illegal in Georgia.

5. Engaging in any sexual position other than missionary is illegal in Washington, DC.

6. In Connorsville, Wisconsin, it is illegal for a man to shoot off a gun when his female partner is having an orgasm.

7. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, it is illegal to have sex with a truck driver inside a toll booth.

8. Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal in Florida.

9. It is illegal in Utah to marry your first cousin before the age of 65.

10. Sex with animals is perfectly legal for men in Washington state, as long as the animal weighs less than 40 pounds.

- In Bakersfield, California, you must use a condom if you are having sex with Satan.

- In Virginia, it is illegal to have sex with the lights on.

- In Clinton, Oklahoma, it is illegal to masturbate while watching two people have sex in a car.

- Sexual intercourse between unmarried couples is illegal in Georgia.

- In Minnesota, it is illegal to have sex with a live fish. (Dead fish are okay though.)

- Engaging in any sexual position other than missionary is illegal in Washington, DC.
Joined: 1/17/2007
Msg: 28
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 9:23:33 AM
No, breaking the law is not in itself immoral.

If it were, that would mean that every black civil rights activist who illegally rode a bus, sat at a lunch counter, drank from a "whites only" drinking fountain, etc.... was immoral, and I doubt many here would support that conclusion.

Laws are human constructs, often enacted for political reasons in response to vocal minorities (or even majorities) who advocate a particular position. Morality, at least in theory, transcends those instants in time that often provide the impetus for legislation.

Of course many laws are quite sensible and many do actually reflect moral judgments that stand the test of time. But many others are not. Ample examples of both have already been mentioned here.

The struggle to identify what is "right" is something our species has been engaged in at least as far back as recorded history. I think a strong case could be made that continuing to contemplate "rightness" in the face of new circumstances is a valuable part of what makes us human.

I would further argue that looking to the law to define your ethics is actually intellectually lazy. At various times I've even included in my profile that I seek someone who has gone to the effort to develop their own value system rather than just blindly adopt a pre-packaged version.

As to the particulars of the OP's situation, regular marijuana use is probably something it's good for a prospective mate to be aware of. Personally, I don't think that's at all a morality issue, but it certainly is a compatibility issue. Including it in your profile gets that out of the way up front, but also leaves one open to the type of criticism he's experienced.

If you want to post a profile that will get generic approval, that should be left out. If that's less important to you than finding a good match, I wouldn't worry about critics who wouldn't be a good match for you anyway.

As for marijuana use, I'm not one to attack another's personal choices, but I do reserve the right to incorporate them into my decision about who to become intimately involved with.

I think it's ridiculous that pot is illegal, and that so many of our prison inhabitants are there simply because they were involved in some aspect of recreational drug use. I'd argue that for many their time in prison has more of a negative impact on their life than the drugs did, and is more of a burden on society.

I've used pot in years past, and wouldn't swear I never will again. I choose not to at this point in my life both to assure I can pass any random drug test and because its effect on me essentially makes me stupid. I'm not one who can get stoned and feel inspired to clean the house, go skiing, use power tools, or do much of anything else in any way productive.

But I know others for whom it has a different effect, including some whose company I appreciate more when they have mellowed some of their rough edges with a bit of a buzz.

Some people can't start their day without coffee. Others truly need various prescription drugs to assure their best possible quality of life. And for some pot is an important part of them being who they choose to be, and I respect that.

Although I don't think it should be illegal, I don't personally put it on the same level as civil rights or many other important moral issues. It's not a law I choose to break at this stage in my life.

For the most part, I obey the law, and on the rare occasions when I don't I incorporate into my thought process the potential consequences of being arrested.

But I'd like to think that I too would be willing to flagrantly challenge a law I felt to be immoral, just as civil rights activists did, and indeed the founding fathers of the USA.
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 29
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 9:35:13 AM

Does it say something about my morals? Or, as I believe, has law got nothing to do with an individual's moral character?

It absolutely says something about your morals in the context of a relationship. In a relationship being with someone that is willing to ignore laws that could endanger the couple is a valid and real point.

Once you are outside of a relationship then the additional points you bring up can become relevant. Each point can be debated and opposed, supported, and even attempted to have changed through legal processes or activism. The way the world works is here. If you were motivated enough you could even be instrumental in changing it.
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 31
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 11:27:08 AM
If you suspect pot is causing you to be lazy and unmotivated, then it almost certainly is causing you to be lazy and unmotivated. I haven't smoked it in decades because I feel sloggy for a week after.

For example, your first novel sucks. Of course it does - all writer's first efforts suck (with a few exceptions). The only way to get any good at it is to keep writing. It takes 2000 hours to get any good at a skill. You've got to be willing to write stuff you know won't get published before you can get to the "might get published" stage. If instead of spending 3 hours at the keyboard or with a pen and paper, you light one up and play X-Box all night, then pot is a problem.
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 33
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 1:29:51 PM

When faced with a choice, be it a trivial day to day one or a big life changing one, to make a decision you have to weigh up both sides and decide which one is best for you and at that time. Because I choose to break the law on this occaision, it's not because I "think I'm above it" it's because after acknowlaging and evaluating the risks, I decided that it was an acceptable decision to make.

So, a person has quite a bit to drink--exceeding the legal limit--but after "acknowledging and evaluating" the risks, decides to drive anyway. After, he/she has driven drunk before and didn't get into an accident, so there is even experience on which to base the decision. This time, however, she/he causes a wreck because of impaired reflexes due to drinking. (Happens quite often.)

A driver knows the risks of texting while driving, but after considering the risks, decides that they are worth it and so, texts while driving. He plows into the back of a vehicle, subsequently causing a school bus to wreck, injuring 38 people and killing two. (A recent news story.)

A driver knows that it is the law to stop at stop signs. However, being in a hurry, acknowledges and considers the risks of running a stop sign he sees ahead. There is a car in the distance (which does not have a stop sign), but the first driver calculates the speed and figures there is plenty of time to plow through the sign. The calculation is wrong and the plows into the other vehicle, causing considerable damage to the car and harming the occupants therein. (I was the driver of the other car.)

I have no strong opinions for or against weed, but your method of making "acceptable decisions" is pure rationalization and pure bull excrement. Do what you want to do, but don't try to legitimatize your reasons by babbling about morality and laws.
Joined: 8/27/2011
Msg: 34
Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 2:39:05 PM
Sorry for the delay - only just came back to read and saw this...

Let me pose another hyperthetical question to you and anyone else that's reading: given that it is currently ilegal, how would you react if your kids as adults decided to smoke it? And how different would be your reactin if it were legal?

Honestly, I can only answer in what I think I would do - until faced with a situation, it's hard to know for sure.

But if my children were adults and decided to smoke it ? Not in my house and not on my property is my view. We can't control others, only ourselves, but I can (especially as the only adult in the house) fully control my home environment. My children know where I stand on this matter - and so I would expect them to respect my wishes, my house and my rules.

Now with regards to how would my reaction be different if it were legal...I presume (as again I've not faced this situation), that I would then view it like cigarette smoking and so if they wanted to smoke, they would be on the back deck but not inside.

One thing I would say though, regarding both the theoretical questions, is that I would be taking their car keys from them if I felt they had been smoking weed, just as I would be taking their car keys if they were drinking.

I think that's the best I can give as an answer simply because it's not a position I've actually been in.

As a side issue - did you see the documentary on DISCOVERY a week or so back? It was called Curiosity and hosted by Robin Williams. It looked at the effects of certain tasks on 4 addicts who performed the task before and then again after taking their drug of choice.
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 35
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Breaking the law: A morality issue?
Posted: 12/16/2011 4:53:12 PM
I was taught at age 18, re-enforced by my spiritutal leader in the Methodist Church, that killing "godless communists" was not only a good thing, but acceptable behavior despite the Beatitudes and the previous indoctrination against the "Thou Shalt not Kill" demandment.

Morality as presented as fluid and changing, arbitrary, and capricious at such a young age, does force kiddos like us at the time, to wonder about the authority behind such actions and demands on us as kids killing hundreds of innocents for the empire. The desensitization process that they used then, to be able to kill humans with the same emotional impact of killing flies, is a form of emotional terrorism that sticks with the pawns of wars, forever clouding the "morality" of participation in such events, the rest of ones' life, and how to live in peace in a culture of worship of death dealing for others not like us.

The "pro-life" segment of our culture seems to love the death penalty, don't care about bombing and poisoning Arab mothers, children and the unborn of other nations, and could care less about killing innocent minorities in pursuit of white justice...

Morality is used as a weapon, a tool, and is subjective, and manipulative to submit others to the rule of arbitrary laws du jour. Has little to do with actual morality, and much more to do with control of the underclasses.
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