Our Duty To Obey The Law

1038 words - 5 pages

“The trial of Socrates: A vehicle to analyse the Jurisprudential question as to why in a Modern Constitutional Democracy the Citizen has the duty to Obey the law”
Law in my view may be described as a set of rules that are manmade, through the formal legislative frameworks such as the parliament, with the intention of regulating aspects of life of those subject to it.( "Province of Jurisprudence Determined”) It generally governs the social behavior of its subjects and affords rights, but also imposes duties and responsibilities on them with the purpose of creating order and certainty. Along with the aforementioned it generally provides for sanctions when these laws are not obeyed.(China Law review pg.1) What is important to notice is that in a modern constitutional democracy the constituency of law is theoretically decided on by the society, meaning their moral values are bound to influence what they would want to be law. Further laws are regulated by a constitution, or supreme law. In South Africa for instance the Constitution (The constitution of the republic of SA, 1996) is founded on values such as human dignity, equality and freedom. These are not only found in law, but also in morality.

Morals are the intrinsic rules contained within human beings, otherwise called the embodiment of reason (Aquinas) instilled through evolution and social conduct in the world around the possessor.(LAW VS MORALITY PG.231) It is important to note that these intrinsic rules are not created by man, but are found within as a result of internal factors. In agreement with Hart such an internal factor may be the instinct to survive, based on the truism that all humans want to survive. Further external factors such as the higher powers of religion that embed values in the conscious minds of humans also undoubtedly come into play. Morals are only enforced in a sense through ones own emotions by feelings of guilt and responsibility, and the reactions of other members of society that may judge ones actions in accordance with the moral standards of society(China law review) Because of the origins of morality in evolution and in religion it is safe to assume forthwith that morality exists universally in humans.

As a general rule of departure the main differences between law and morals is their origin. Law originated out of human conduct, when humans formalized what they believed to be right and wrong. This formalization should be portrayed at the legal heart of a constitutional democracy, in the constitution. (ref american const and SA)Morals on the other hand originate from a broader spectrum of influences as mentioned above. These lead to differences existing in what is said to be moral, however there are certain moral values that are generally held high amongst civilised society at least. In my view however it is important to note that there are also similarities between law and morality. These...

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