The argument of
those who believe there is a separation between law and morality, that not
everything that is illegal is immoral, assumes that it is not always
immoral to break the law.
philosophers argue that breaking the law, even pointless laws, is morally
wrong, and that in doing so one acts badly; the law presents itself as a
seamless web, and its subjects are not permitted to select which ones they
ought to obey.
A number of reasons
have been offered as to why one is morally obligated to obey law.
One reason appeals
to the argument that if we allowed some violations of law, lawbreaking
could spread, resulting in social disorder. One problem with this argument
is that widespread disobedience does occur in some cases, such as
speeding, without leading to social unrest.
A second argument is
that people who benefit from laws have an obligation, of fairness or
gratitude, to contribute to the cooperative venture providing the benefits
by obeying the law.
argument is that we are morally obligated to obey laws because by
consenting to government we have promised that we will; violating a law is
immoral in the way breaking a promise is.