Political obligation Apr 1, 2017 14:55:42 GMT -5
Post by robeiae on Apr 1, 2017 14:55:42 GMT -5
Sure, that's why my first reply to Don was "specifics matter, here." Obviously, there's a pretty wide gulf between jaywalking and murder.
Nonetheless, in response to my claim that political obligation--of one sort or another--plays a role here, Don said this:
And I honestly think that's simply not an accurate account of why most people tend not to break laws left and right.
I'll hazard a guess that the most common answer to "why don't you break the law" is "because I'm afraid I'd get caught" rather than "because I have an obligation to society." But maybe I just hang with a less classy group of people.
Imo, people who see themselves as citizens try to obey laws in general because of political obligation. They may not think of it in such terms, but that's what it is. If they were asked something like "do you think you should try to follow the law and if you do, why do you think that," they'd come up with an answer that is reflective of one or more theories of political obligation. Imo, Don's reasoning is ultimately no different (he's on a "natural duty" track, mostly).
Political obligation theory isn't some obscure, wonky theory about some unrealized thing. It's as old as Plato (older, really). It's just an examination of the "why" behind certain typical behavior, with respect to civil society. People want to carve out narrow exception for themselves, how their actions may be consistent with political obligation, but the term still doesn't apply to them? Okay, fine. I'm not seeing it, myself.
Beyond that, as I said, specific matter here, when it comes to individual laws and individual choices pertaining to the same. I think there are an awful lot of people who consider themselves to be good citizens, who operate quite obviously within a framework of political obligation, but who nonetheless break laws on occasion. To that end, they look for reasons to justify such actions, precisely because they know that they are in the wrong, based on their own world view and sense of political obligation. Of course, I'm talking laws on the jaywalking end of the spectrum, here.
As to things like murder, sure people have a sense of morality that tells them this is wrong. And sure, if there wasn't a law against it most such people would still refrain from it. Imo, that's a "so what" statement. It doesn't impact the idea of political obligation in the least.