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December 02, 2009

Good men must not obey the laws too well

Moshe Feiglin argues insubordination can save Israel. I believe this is a timely piece not only for Israel and the IDF but for anyone left in the West prepared to say they will under no circumstance submit.

It is a mistake to think that the state works within the boundaries of laws. The public does not obey laws. It obeys rules within the boundaries of a triangle, the first side of which is the law. But the triangle has two other sides: common sense and ethics.

What if the Knesset passed a law requiring drivers to drive in reverse all winter? That would counter the logic side of the triangle. The public's subsequent refusal would be the fault of the government, not of the public.

In other words, the fact that we obey the law is not because of the law itself, but because it is logical enough to warrant our adherence.

The third side of the triangle is ethics. If the government ordered us to drive our elderly and infirm out onto the frozen tundra, as per Eskimo custom, we might agree that it would logically enhance the economy. But nobody would obey, because it would be patently immoral. The party at fault for the insubordination would be the government that enacted the law and not the citizens who refused to obey.

Feiglin is right (and this is something every law abiding conservative needs to think about and take to heart: We have the right to disobey the law. Sometimes we have the duty to disobey the law.

Directly related: Ed West observes the Swiss minaret result explains why they'll never allow democracy in Britain.

He is correct.

Were Britain an actual democracy in the Swiss sense, we would not be in the EU, for the simple reason that after 1992 we would have had a referendum on membership and we would have voted no. In fact on every single issue under the sun the public are more conservative than the elite.

For example, the reason he United States has capital punishment and Europe doesn’t is not because Europeans are soft, hand-wringing lefties who all have sociology degrees, but because Europe is less democratic. In every opinion poll, the majority of British people have expressed support for capital punishment; even a majority of the Dutch, who we consider the most liberal and decadent people on earth, favour it.

Were Britain an actual democracy we would also still have corporal punishment in schools, Prince Charles would be in charge of the country’s architecture (while Lord Rogers would still be designing loft conversions), and the country would be as diverse as a golf club in the Hebrides.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 2, 2009 09:27 AM