When the law should be made illegal

A horrible situation for all who wish to operate under rule of law, being forced into a situation in which accepting much of what is lawful is harmful to the well being of human beings. I remember how twisted I felt the world had become when the law wanted to force me to go far away to fight in a war the purpose of which, at first I could not, because no one could our would help me to, understand what it was about and that, once I did understand what it was about, knew I would be killing others for purposes that were themselves wrong, patently and atrociously inhumane. The fucking law made it wrong for me to refuse to murder other human beings because those who were making law in this country wanted something they had no right to have.

I have been law abiding. I have done what I have been legally bound to do and I have watched many around me succeed by not abiding even by laws that gravely and unfairly favored them over others just as deserving, often greatly better (not better off) fellow human beings.
I protested, within the laws and watched as the privileged members of the society protested against my protesting, sometimes by passing laws to keep me from disturbing the order that disturbed me.
I knew that unfairness was written into the law early on in life and decided to abide even with what caused me harm believing that when the law was remade to reflect principles of fairness, equity, and justice, it would be important to be able to say I have always been a law abiding citizen. Abiding by the laws makes living decently in a democratic society possible.
The laws, thought, their affect, has often been hard to tolerate morally, the inequities, the kinds of penalties in life people endure for at least as often for doing right as doing wrong. Think of how Trump’s evil predatory business practices were treated under the law and by the law. How it is legal for private companies to profit from imprisoning other’s, from taking away others livelihoods, throwing them out of their homes, poisoning the air and water and destroying much of what is good and natural in the world, owning some of its most beautiful places and abusing those who have most right to those places and their rights.

IT HAS GONE WAY TOO FAR and nothing is changing. The better laws, the just, equitable, fair laws were but a dream, a fantasy, those who benefit from injustice, inequity, and unfairness have used and abused the law to make themselves so powerful as to be the law and to have rights to use it to insure that the injustices, the inequities, and the unfairness continue to benefit them, these people with no concern for the suffering of others, who value THEIRS so much more than others that all but theirs are expendable. THIS SHOULD BE OBVIOUS FROM HOW COVID HAS BEEN HANDLED.
It should have been obvious when the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful have not been forced to fight the wars their rich and powerful parents passed laws to force other peoples’ children to fight or when they did so much to defund public education and make it right for their public schools to be better public schools than those other peoples’ children could have.

When those weren’t good enough for theirs, they worked to change the laws to make it easier for them to send theirs to private schools.
Either this is the law at its worst because there will be a horrendous effort–inside the law but maybe in violation of those laws that were put their to prevent righteousness and fairness across the board–to make the law properly humane, make it work for the good of the whole, the common good OR, just as likely, it is time just admit that such are the way things are and that we have to live within the limits of what is possible.

To believe that this is how it has to be is surrender to the inevitability of inhumanity. I want to think that Paulo Freire was right in thinking that HUMANIZATION IS THE TRUE VOCATION OF HUMAN KIND. Go with Paulo and there is hope and even likelihood that the better will come. But not without one hell of a fight.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

One reply on “When the law should be made illegal”

Some people hide behind the law as a way of avoiding their conscience. To enjoy privilege is to justify your privilege somehow–in this case by law.. The law, to some degree, is like a master who is always telling you what to do. While you’re under your master’s control you’re not getting paid to think but to simply obey. Why think? Someone else is always telling you what the right thing to do is. In this case, law is not about keeping the order or safety; it’s about controlling, exploiting and programming people, and, if that is what is going on, and it is, those who hide behind the law are not really human/humane in the sense of taking responsibility for their life by listening to their conscience; they are either a privileged controller or they are one who is simply an extension of the controller’s wishes.

To be truly human is to take responsibility for your life, and you can’t do that as long as you hide behind someone else’s commands or laws. I must answer for my life. I can’t just say that I simply obeyed the law–no matter how holy it is considered. I have a conscience of my own, a mind of my own. “I” must assign meaning and the value to my life; otherwise, I have forfeited that responsibility to another; that is, I hide from that which makes me truly human.

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