Um no, not all laws are just or moral:
You can tell when Statist propaganda and leftist narratives are really having an impact: you get the masses happily singing from their same song sheets and readily pushing their agendas on you. The brainwashing has been quite thorough when the sheeple very handily run with their talking points.
That has certainly been the case over the past few years when governments the world over have stolen people’s liberties and denied them their basic human rights – yet the very people so targeted by Big Brother actually defend the State and attack those asking some hard questions.
Examples of this are endless. Let me feature just one: A gal was looking at our outlandish and contradictory Covid laws and mandates on the social media and shared something I had written or posted on this. But one fellow replied as follows: “Laws are laws for good reasons,dont follow them,then we are in a state of dictatorship,”
Oh dear, there are so many problems here (in addition to him not being able to pen an entire sentence properly). The obverse of what he said is of course the case: when we never question the authorities, do exactly what we are told, and blindly obey all laws – then we are in a state of dictatorship.
This guy obviously knows nothing of history, or of basic ethics. Sure, we can dismiss this as a rather dumb comment. And perhaps we can dismiss him as a rather dumb person as well. But regrettably far too many other people actually think much the same. They have been thoroughly indoctrinated by the State.
The truth is, just as there are unjust rulers and unjust governments, so there are unjust laws. And that is never a good situation to be in. The Bible even speaks to this in various places. Consider one classic passage on the matter from the prophet Isaiah. As we read in Isaiah 10:1-3:
Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
And while memes on the social media may not be the final arbiter of truth and morality, one can often find some very good ones that are well worth sharing. One such meme making the rounds put it this way: “The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law. The people who killed Anne Frank were following the law. The law is not a moral compass.” Exactly, plenty of things might be legal, but can be very, very wrong.
Another meme put it this way: “Morality – doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Obedience – doing what you are told regardless if it is right.” Plenty of laws can NOT be obeyed in good conscience, and at the very least, civil disobedience becomes the proper path to follow.
One final meme is worth sharing: “People continue to confuse being obedient with being a good person. You are not a good person for following unscientific, morally corrupt rules … what you are, is a coward. Good people don’t follow unjust laws, it’s their disobedience to them, that creates positive change.”
Yep, the good people in Nazi Germany were not the masses of cowardly sheeple who obeyed everything and questioned nothing. The good people – the real heroes – were people like Bonhoeffer and Sophie and Hans Scholl. Their disobedience made them shining stars in a dark, diabolical abyss. And so many of them paid for this disobedience with their lives.
Important thinkers down through the ages have always held such views. Let me offer a random sampling of their thoughts:
“It seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all.” -Saint Augustine
“When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right of the majority to command, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind.” -Alexis de Tocqueville
“Let us put it generally: if a regime is immoral, its subjects are free from all obligations to it.” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Anyone in a free society where the laws are unjust has an obligation to break the law.” -Henry David Thoreau
“Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?” -Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
“Just as it is the duty of all men to obey just laws, so it is the duty of all men to disobey unjust laws.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
“A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.” -Noah Webster
“As long as the superstition that people should obey unjust laws exists, so long will slavery exist.” -Mahatma Gandhi
“Our political way of life is by the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, and of course presupposes the existence of God, the moral ruler of the universe, and a rule of right and wrong, of just and unjust, binding upon man, preceding all institutions of human society and government.” -John Quincy Adams
Sure, all this needs to be teased out much further. When is a law an unjust law? And what is to be our proper response to unjust laws? These and related questions will have to wait for another article to be more carefully discussed. And one can look at some of my existing pieces, including this one on Samuel Rutherford and his very important Lex, Rex: billmuehlenberg.com/2022/01/12/samuel-rutherford-and-resistance-theory/
But the point is, laws can be good or bad; just or unjust; moral or immoral. Just because something is law does not make it right.
Yet our political masters over the past two years have done a terrific job of pretty much wresting these truths away from us, just as they have wrested our freedoms away from us. It is clearly time to learn from history here.