Hart Obligation to Obey the Law

While it is not possible to provide a full account of the requirements for effective consent in this context, three of them are particularly important to our objectives. First, the person who wishes to consent must not be compelled to consent – that is, they must have adequate means to refuse consent; He must be aware of what he accepts; And he must be competent to do so. Circumstances that do not meet these conditions can be characterized as „null and void” and prevent acts of consent from creating moral obligations (Beran 1987, chap. 1). Theorists have tried to preserve the theory of consent in a variety of ways. Some theorists have attempted to identify generalized actions that constitute tacit consent. One possibility is to vote. If Jones votes in an election, it could be argued that he has agreed to be governed by the winners, thus obeying the law (Plamenatz 1968: 168-71). Other similar acts could be suggested, such as taking the oath of allegiance or taking the appropriate oath when enlisting in the armed forces. But if we look at the conditions necessary for an act of consent to create a moral obligation to obey the law, we can see that these and similar actions are insufficient. As H.

L. A. Hart argues, the characteristic orientation of political obligations can be seen in opposition between the obligation to do p and the obligation to do so (Hart 1961:80-88). If a gunman stops Smith and threatens to shoot her if she doesn`t hand over $50, she is probably forced to give that amount. But by this expression, we mean nothing more than the fact that the alternatives to compliance are very unpleasant, which gives him a good reason to comply. According to Hart, engagement adds an inner dimension to this. While Smith`s obligation to do p is analyzed in terms of assessing the consequences of obedience or disobedience, her commitment to doing p adds to these concerns the moral legitimacy of what she is forced to do. If Smith is a citizen of a legitimate state that requires her to pay $50 in taxes, she could once again be forced to comply; The consequences of non-compliance could be unacceptable to them. But in this case, it is right that she gives the money. If he acknowledges the obligation, he will believe that it is the right thing to do – although we should note that this is a prima facie moral requirement that can be negated by additional moral considerations. In the literature, researchers have attempted to justify political commitments for a variety of reasons. In the liberal tradition, voluntary consent arguments are traditionally the most central.

Until relatively recently, the history of political engagement was one of consent (Klosko 2011b). Other approaches discussed in this essay are consequentialist arguments based on the effects of obedience or disobedience, arguments based on the principle of fairness (or fair play) related to obtaining benefits from the state, and arguments based on a principle of belonging or association and a natural duty of justice. I will examine the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches and recent developments that have called into question the main features of political commitments as traditionally understood. The moral obligation to obey the law, or as it is commonly called, the political obligation, is a moral requirement to obey the laws of one`s own country. Traditionally, this has been seen as a requirement of some type of obedience to the law, for the „content independent” reason that it is the law, as opposed to the content of certain laws. By calling this a moral requirement, theorists distinguish between political obligation and legal obligation. All legal systems claim to bind the persons subject to them; Part of what we mean by a valid law is that the people concerned are obliged to obey it. This requirement is usually supported by coercion, while those who disobey are subject to punishment. But these aspects of the legal obligation leave open the final questions as to the state`s justification for imposing such requirements.

If citizens have no moral requirement to obey the law, they may be forced to do so, but by forcing obedience, the state acts unjustly and interferes with their freedom. Although elements of a theory of consent to political obligation are present in earlier thinkers, the view receives its classic statement in John Locke`s Second Treatise on Government (1988/1690). Locke argues that humans are inherently free in the state of nature. Although the state of nature is governed by natural law, Locke, in the absence of authority to enforce it, subscribes to the „strange doctrine” (§ 13) that all human beings have the right to apply it for themselves. However, general self-application leads to conflicts, and so people are willing to give up their enforcement powers. They do this in two stages – the creation of a community, which then transfers its powers to a legislative authority. Since people only give up certain rights, the legislator can only act in these areas. But in these areas, individuals accept to „submit to the determination of the majority and to be closed by it” (§ 97). Since Locke`s main purpose in the Second Treatise is to justify the revolution, he is deeply concerned with the limitation of authority.