Not All Legal Is Moral Meaning

However, law and morality are not the same thing. On the one hand, the law is binary, which means that an act is legal or illegal. But morality is full of gray areas. For example, stealing bread is illegal for any reason, but most people are more sympathetic when made to feed hungry orphans than as a random act of theft. In addition, the law is enforced by state actors such as the police and courts, and penalties are provided for violators. Morality is not formally regulated, although there can certainly be social consequences for immoral acts. After all, the law is the same for all citizens, but morality depends on who you ask, because everyone has a different perspective and experience. Keep these similarities and differences in mind as we define exactly what legal and moral means. His arguments are mainly based on hedonism, where happiness and pleasure come from the fulfillment of our human nature and nature is born in excellence.

Aristotle developed two types of virtues, intellectual virtue and moral virtue, which are an individual`s generosity and self-control. The morality of a hedonist is somewhat similar to the morality of a relativist, where he believes in human nature and his personal values. For example, you have to obey a law that says, “Don`t kill,” because murder is wrong in the first place; Making it a law does not make it particularly morally reprehensible. That`s basically how I feel about drone attacks. I believe that the principle of proportionality accepts too much military force. But my fundamental objection to collateral deaths caused by drone strikes is that these deaths are almost always unnecessary because the drone program itself has no compelling strategic justification. In my view, the military benefits of drone strikes pale in comparison to their long-term costs – from radicalizing affected populations to encouraging the United States to rely on military force rather than other methods of counterterrorism. So I believe that the drone program should be significantly reduced, if not eliminated altogether. As a result, I think it is almost always morally indefensible for the United States to continue using drone strikes, even though it knows that it is virtually certain that innocent men, women, and children will die from it.

“The fact is that, given this, it is highly questionable to do anything of intellectual value by trying to justify or undermine any legal principle by invoking the distinction between law and morality.” I agree with Zdenek, but since you refer to the theory of just war as a moral doctrine, I understand that you recognize, to some extent, a moral foundation that gives legitimacy to the law to those who adhere to that moral doctrine. Similarly, the absence of a particular moral doctrine to support reduces the legitimacy of the law for those advocating that particular moral doctrine. Both points seem obvious in what you write, but I wanted to make sure I understood you. If I understand you correctly on these points, as well as on your vagueness of moral standards, it seems that we could go further. There could be deep and broad currents of recognized moral thought (as opposed to moral intuitions) and a consensus on a specific rule of law that supports and legitimizes the broad currents of recognized moral thought. On the one hand, I am thinking of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture in the United States, which is expressing its opposition. The most common response to my article on Newtown and the drone program was to point out that there is a difference between killing in peace and killing in war – that we are more willing to accept the loss of innocent lives in the latter, both legally and morally. even though the loss in both can be considered intentional.

Peter Stockburger and Ian Henderson offered versions of this point in the comments to my post, and the point also included an eloquent message that Ben Wittes wrote in response. Here are Ben`s key paragraphs: There are many things I agree with in these paragraphs. I fully agree that we cannot simply compare murder in war to murder in peacetime. I also invited, of course, Bens to focus on the legality of collateral executions in wartime, drawing on criminal law to point out that many national criminal justice systems would consider the deaths of innocent people in drone strikes to be intentional. Finally, Ben is absolutely right when he points out that how these collateral deaths are perceived is necessarily influenced by the evaluation of the legality of the drone program. Because something is legal, it does not make it moral. History is replete with examples of practices that were once legal, but are now illegal and are retrospectively considered immoral. It took courage on the part of our leaders and great sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of Americans (at least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War) to end the practice of slavery. It will also take courage and sacrifice to make cigarettes illegal. Will we be the ones to change the law, or will we leave it to a future generation? Hundreds of thousands of family members and friends will die every year if we don`t act. The surgeon general of the United States warned of the negative health consequences of smoking cigarettes fifty years ago. Since that warning, millions of Americans have died from cigarette smoke, many of them non-smokers.

Study after study has proven that cigarettes are addictive and deadly. There is also a wealth of evidence to suggest that cigarette manufacturers intentionally design cigarettes this way. Apart from cigarettes, no other legally available product today will kill hundreds of thousands of its users and innocent bystanders each year if used as directed. Sometimes when something is legal, it`s not always moral, in fact there are many things where it`s true. For example, if someone wants an abortion, they are entitled to it because it is legal. However, this does not mean that it is right or moral. It depends on the values and opinions of the individual, whether they are fair or not. A hedonist would do what he appreciates most, which promotes his self-interest. Okay, so what we have are two claims that underlie your position on the morality of the drone program. One is that drone programs kill innocent people and the other claim is that such murder is not justified (killing has no opposing justification and therefore killing non-combatants is wrong). Now, this can be understood as an assertion made in the context of jus in bello, but it is not clear why you think such murder is not justified if it meets the jus in bello requirements of distinction and proportionality.