Unformatted text preview: hould act accordingly to discharge those artificially acquired moral obligations. Since most of the benefits we receive from the state are generally unrequested. it follows that we never or hardly ever have obligations of gratitude to the state. RECEIVING BENEFITS FROM SOCIETY DOESN'T MANDATE OBEDIENCE Vicente Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Bergen Community College, SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORIES: POLITICAL OBLIGATION OR ANARCHY?, 1990, p.148. But as I have already argued, a promise as such can never be sufficient to generate a general prima facie obligation to obey the law. And although it is true, generally speaking, that citizens have acquired benefits by residing in a particular political community, it is also true that, if they have been good citizens, they have provided benefits to others by contributing to the well-being and stability of the community. This is not a one-way relationship in which one of the parties involved receives benefits at the expense of others. Instead this is a quid pro quo situation in which all parties benefit to some degree. PEOPLE ARE ONLY OBLIGATED TO OBEY JUST LAWS Vicente Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Bergen Community College, SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORIES: POLITICAL OBLIGATION OR ANARCHY?, 1990, p.147-8. We need to keep in mind that a naturalized citizen is, before anything else, an autonomous person and, as such, is only morally obligated to obey just laws. It might be argued that naturalized citizens acquire a prima facie political obligation to obey the law of the land by virtue of their oath of citizenship. However, even in the case of naturalized citizens it is not clear that this oath is always performed voluntarily, since, for example, there might be social pressures compelling them to become citizens. And even if there were no social or any other kind of pressure, the oath of citizenship, from the perspective of moral agency, does not have any significant moral weight. We simply promise faithful allegiance to those rules and regulations that are morally right; but one ought to respect these rules and regulations by virtue of their being morally right, regardless of what one has promised. Thus it follows that an oath of allegiance is virtually otiose from a moral point of view, although important from a legal perspective. SLHS Value File POLITICAL COMMITMENTS DON'T JUSTIFY IMMORAL ACTS Vicen...
View Full Document
- Fall '13