Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Legality is No Excuse

Philosophy News image
Suppose you discover that your elected representative is a (literal) Nazi, who enjoys using racist slurs and openly advocates for reinstituting slavery and apartheid.  Horrible, right?  Further suppose that whenever anyone objects to this, his co-partisans excuse it on the grounds that it isn't illegal: he is "100% within his rights" to have, and advocate for, atrocious views.  This would be a ridiculous defense.  It neglects the obvious fact that it's possible to exercise your legal rights in ways that are morally wrong.Unfortunately, people seem extremely prone to conflating ethics and legality in just this way.  This can then be exploited by politicians to deflect criticism without offering any actual justification or defense.  Witness Mitch McConnell: "President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options."It's nuts that a line like this has any rhetorical force.  If only our media, and our citizenry, were more philosophically competent!

Continue reading . . .

News source: Philosophy, et cetera

blog comments powered by Disqus