Essay about Obligation to Obey Governing Bodies

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I believe it is safe to say that the subjects of any legitimate state have an obligation to at obey their governing bodies. Underlying my own obedience to my country's laws are a number of reasons - an understanding of my obligation to take responsibility for my own actions, a recognition of my government's authority over me, a belief that the laws of my country are well-founded, and a fear of the consequences of disobeying said laws. Without laws, a society would quickly crumble into disorder and chaos, unless its entire population is benevolent and selfless. And since my beliefs about human nature run contrary to the idea that we all want what is best for each other, I don't believe that said chaos can be avoided without a respected …show more content…
Robert Wolff may argue that we have no obligation to obey the law because that would be in conflict with our duty to retain our moral autonomy. As such, no state has legitimate authority over its subjects. However, he is unable to convince me that I am obligated to act autonomously. I agree that I am existentially free and obligated to take responsibility for my own actions, but being fully autonomous is nothing but a fictional ideal. He states: "The moral condition demands that we acknowledge responsibility and achieve autonomy wherever and whenever possible." I agree, but I maintain that living autonomously at all times is simply not possible in a world where we live with other people whose desires and freedoms are in competition with our own. I am positive that there is not one married individual in the world who can say with confidence that he or she is wholly autonomous. Therefore, I admit that I am not wholly autonomous and that the Canadian government has legitimate authority over me. An anarchic state, in which the state has no legitimate authority and therefore cannot enforce its laws, would lead to the war of "all against all", as Hobbes eloquently puts it. However, while I don't believe that we are obligated to act autonomously at all times, I do believe that we are all entitled to self-determination and that we have a moral obligation to look after the well-being of our
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