‘No man or group of persons can “authorize government to kill or take away from men their natural law, for natural rights are inalienable, and can no more be surrendered to government than to a single individual (Hart 193),” said Lysander S. Spooner, one of the most prominent American thinkers of the nineteenth century. For many good citizens, this should be the sole criterion for deciding whether or not to follow rules. Another aspect to consider when determining whether or not to follow a rule is its constitutionality or morality. The point of departure between these two premises is that while a law might be constitutional, it might not necessarily be moral, which is the premise that supersedes all others. While the decision on the morality of a law may not be a straightforward one owing to the broad guides for deciding the laws and government activities which are morally right, Frederic Bastiat contends that the test for government acts that are not moral is, “If the law seems to benefit one citizen at another citizen’s exposure and in so doing does something that the citizen would not do without committing a crime” (Hart 185). In conclusion, it is true that in good or bad times, the consent of individuals to uphold the law is what keeps a state together. In its definition, the contingencies for moral obligations are not included in the law and a blanket obligation to always obey the law does not exist in today’s contemporary society.
Hart, Herbert Lionel Adolphus, et al. The concept of law. Oxford University Press, 2012.