Throughout the world today, all citizens have a lot of duties to respect but the most important is to respect the law. However, we can ask ourselves if we always respect the law. And more importantly, if we break it, is it ever right? To answer these questions, we’re going first to examine what “respect the law” means, then consider if breaking the law is always justified or not, and finally, find a compromise for just actions. Respecting the law is rarely questioned because since childhood, we are told that following the rules is right but fighting or killing someone is wrong.
So for us, it’s something extremely normal. Nevertheless, when we grow up we develop our own opinion and sometimes, we don’t think that all the laws are right. In this way, we may struggle between following the law or our own values. Respecting the law is synonymous with not breaking it, even if we disagree. Moreover, it’s not always pleasant in everyday life, like when we have to pay a fine for causing a parking obstruction; we do it and get over it because inside us we know that if some rules are established it’s for our own good and safety.
We know from history that when social policy is not fixed, the society can fall apart and end up in anarchy. So regardless of where you come from, respecting the law is considered mandatory. If anyone could choose the laws that he wants to break and the ones he wants to follow, we could not set the society up. Respecting the law is taught to us since childhood but sometimes, we break the law when we shouldn’t. So when is it right? Previously we saw that following the rules is compulsory but sometimes, to be consistent with our values, we break from the law.
To illustrate this, we’ll take an example: a woman was harassed by her step father since she was a child. She grew up and thought that the abuse was over but one night, he came into her house and tried to rape her. She was defenseless but fortunately her husband arrived at the moment, beat him and the man died instantly. They were shocked but it was involuntary. After that the woman’s friends arrived and saw the body. They helped to bury him and promised to keep it secret from the police.
In this example, we see that it’s unfortunate because the husband doesn’t mean to kill the guy but it happened; he can’t turn himself in to the police because even if it was self-defense for his wife, sometimes justice is unfair and sends people to jail instead of being permissive. Here, everyone broke the law, the husband and wife but also the friends who are guilty of hiding and keeping such a big secret. This is a situation where the will of the heart comes first. Even if you want to do the right thing and report what happened to the police, you can’t, because of your own values, give your friends away.
It’s like euthanasia, it’s forbidden but when it’s the last wish of your brother or sister can you refuse? In some particular cases, we don’t take the time to think, we do what feels right to us even if it is against the law. On the other hand, breaking the law is not something to do just for fun; maybe if you’re crazy since you can take someone’s life, if, for example, you drive in a state of intoxication. In that case you really should pay severely for it to discourage people from replicating this behavior but also to learn the lesson.
To sum up, breaking laws is not right because social equality means we all must respect the same laws. However, we’re human, so sometimes we make mistakes and in some cases, breaking the law is the only solution. How can we make it right? The answer to the problem is quite simple. We have to be rational, to balance the pros and the cons in order to make the best decision. If there is no need to break the law, what’s the point of doing it? But if it deals with an important matter then, you “can” break it if it doesn’t put a life in danger.
On the other hand, if it’s a question of revenge or murderous rage, we should let justice deal with it because we’ll act irrationally. Even if sometimes the punishment is not what we hoped for, it’s better than doing something by yourself that you might regret in the end, or that might haunt you for the rest of your life. To conclude, justice may be unfair as shown in the movie “Conviction” but most of the time, she acts right. Moreover, it’s the only way to well behave in our society. Breaking the law is not a game and when we can avoid it, we are doing well, but I think that in life, we also have to follow our heart first.
Laws have been made by men so they are not as pure as we might think; there always is a failure. Nobody can be perfect, even judges or people who apply justice. But to live in a good society where respect is the watchword, everybody has to make an effort and respect the law even if they disagree with it. One quotation can resume all this, thanks to Immanuel Kant: “Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law. Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole World”.