Moerner Cards - AFF CARDS cards Jeffrey Reiman In Defense...

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AFF CARDS cards Jeffrey Reiman. In Defense of Political Philosophy-A Reply to Robert Paul Wolff’s In Defense of Anarchism. Touchbook Library Editions. 1972. It’s absurd to have a moral obligation to obey the law without evaluating the content/justification for that law To speak of moral authority, of a right to constitute the moral duty of another by fiat, of a duty to obey the commands of the state because they come from the state, to obey the law because it is the law, to obey the commander regardless of his command, to obey the ruler because he is the ruler, is to speak as if someone could hold a moral wild card entitling him to the moral obligation of others to do whatever he determines the wild card to represent. Such moralities generally specify the source of the “wild card,”God or King or the Law or Father, but these are logically (as well as broadly materially) indifferent to the content that may given to the “wild card.” Since specification of the source does not specify the moral nature of the action to be substituted for the “wild card,” such a morality entails a moral obligation to do an action with indifference to the moral nature of that action, which is absurd. Since a moral obligation is a duty to do what is moral, and that “what” calls for content which can only be filled in by the description of an action which can potentially be shown to be moral, no wild- card morality is thinkable, since it is incompatible with the central concept of morality itself. Wolff An obligation to obey the law does not stem from the command’s position as a law, but rather from its consistency with personal values/morals To complete this deduction, it is not enough to show that there are circumstances in which men have an obligation to do what the de facto authorities command. Even under the most unjust of governments there are frequently good reasons for obedience rather than defiance. It may be that the government has commanded its subjects to do what in fact they already have an independent obligation to do; or it may be that the evil consequences of defiance far outweigh the indignity of submission. A government’s commands may promise beneficent effects, either intentionally or not. For these reasons, and for reasons of prudence as well, a man may be right to comply with the commands of the government under whose de facto authority he finds himself. But none of this settles the question of legitimate authority. That is a matter of the right to command, and of
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the correlative obligation to obey the person who issues the command. The point of the last paragraph cannot be too strongly stressed. Obedience is not a matter of doing what someone tells you to do. It is a matter of doing what he tells you to do because he tells you to do it.
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