Obey the Law

Today’s Delphic Maxim is ‘Obey the law.’ You can read Star Foster’s take on this here.

This is a tricky one for me. It’s not that I break the law all that often (and who doesn’t speed occasionally, at the very least?), it’s that I hate being told what to do. It’s a good thing I am generally a person who likes to get along and finds the status quo pretty comfortable, because I tend only to follow rules/laws that I like.

I recognize that rules and laws are important for all of us to get along in this world. I certainly like traffic laws – when we all know how to drive it’s safer for everyone. But so many laws/rules are created for the lowest common denominator and that frustrates me.

Spiritually, I fall into the Pagan camp that believes in honing one’s Will – discerning what that is and enacting it wisely. This lands squarely on the anarchist spectrum (if there is such a thing). I hope that my Will would not cause others undue harm or suffering. I would also hope that enacting my Will in the world would not put my children at risk.

This is something that my partner and a few of my friends have talked about: how to engage in peaceful, democratic resistance to the laws I object to without putting my children at risk? If all the families that feel an affinity with the Occupy Movement/s went out to the protests perhaps the Powers That Be might take the movement more ‘seriously,’ not be able to write it off as just the rabble-rousers and violently quash the protests (as my friends in Oakland have experienced). Just a thought. As it stands, it’s scary to think about taking my littles to an Occupy protest.

I don’t think observing the law is a spiritual virtue in and of itself, but one of the benefits of living in a democracy is that we get vote, we get a chance to speak up and get involved. These are ways to enact one’s Will in the world AND observe the law.


A note: I am hoping to use the Delphic Maxims as writing prompts. I may not write on every single one, as there are 147 of them! These posts will also cover topics that I haven’t written about before, such as politics. We’ll see what else comes up!


3 responses to “Obey the Law

  1. Following Victor, I think there is “law” and then there is “Law.” Small “l” law is that which *sometimes* make social living easier. Capital “L” Law is Natural Law, which is observable and is not external to ourselves. That is the Law of the Pearl Pentacle. The problem enters when we mix up the referent. When we think that “law” is actually “Law,” which, I think you’ll agree, it isn’t.

  2. I think law is law until it doesn’t work anymore. It’s a fluid, changing thing. Even our conceptions of what scientific “laws” are vaporize when truer methods are put into place. Notice there haven’t been so many scientific laws being declared these last few centuries.

    Democracies (hopefully) ensure that laws that are unfair are taken to task and dismantled if necessary. I think that Occupy signified a general discontent with the way the financial system works, and to also served to signify to the powers that be that mass amounts of people disagreed with them. It got done what was intended, whether it knew it or not.

    I talked to a friend recently about the cops in NYC and he told me that every once in awhile they stage a huge show of force and congregate a battalion of officers and cars/equipment/etc in one part of Manhattan. Kind of like a parade, but at night and not so nice. I find that kind of thing pretty obnoxious personally (don’t they have anything better to do?) but other people say it makes them feel safe. I guess enforcement of law is a whole different discussion, but I thought that was an interesting phenomenon (and that totally wouldn’t fly here in San Francisco:).

    • My thoughts are that most thinking people recognize that law is rather fluid, but the challenge comes when the powers that be don’t agree on where I find the law unjust or find room for fluidity. I think this is why it is so important to have integrity and develop a strong sense of internal ethics.

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