To Obey Or Disobey Essay, Research Paper
To obey or DisobeyFor centuries many philosophers have asked themselves, “What is the right thing to do?”. They do have some guidance but cannot totally rely on most of these references. One of these references is the system of laws that the government has imposed onto the population that lives inside their boundaries. Can this system of laws really be just? Can we base our judgement on what is right and what is wrong according to these set of rules? In the following pages, I will explain whether it is all right to disobey or to obey the government. In Plato: The Trial and Death of Socrates, Socrates discussed with Crito his argument on the topic of “Persuade or Obey.” Socrates states that you must persuade the government that your actions were just or one must obey its laws. Whether it “requires you to fight in a war and die for your die for your country or be wounded, you must still obey (p51b3).” He goes on to say that to obey is “right, and one must not give way or retreat or leave one’s post, but in courts or war, one must obey the commands of one’s city and country (p51b6-b8).” The next part of his argument states that one that disobeys does wrong in three ways, by disobeying his parents and those who brought him up, and by disobeying, he neither obeys us nor he tries to persuade us to do better. Socrates’ point is that we must obey the laws of the city or country where you reside in because you chose to stay and use the resources offered to you. Choosing to stay also tell us that you are satisfied to live there. Therefore, you exclusively choose the government and agree to be one of their citizens. Then Socrates goes on to say that we are permitted to disobey only if you can explain your actions. You must justify your actions or face the consequences. In order to explain your reasons, you simultaneously try to point out the flaw in their laws. By permitting other citizens to disobey, would make it an “oxymoron.” Disobedience alone is breaking the law. Allowing disobedience is like having no law. I agree with Socrates, to an extent, that obeying the laws of the state or country should be followed and must be obeyed by the citizen. I also believe that disobedience should be exercised only when there is danger to you or a close one. I believe that Socrates’ decision on staying in the prison was a costly mistake for him and could have been avoided via Crito. There could be other critics that may argue that Socrates was correct in deciding to stay in prison. They also can say that Socrates is being an ideal citizen and that his reason for staying there is because of his earlier decision not to go into exile. The reason for that is that he saw himself being viewed as an enemy of the other states. Whether he left or not he would still have been thought of a corruptor of the youth. Another point that the critics would welcome is that he is honoring his father and mother and trying not to be a persuader of bad ideals. Does it matter that the state has equal seniority with the parents? I believe that the state should be placed way after the parents in this hierarchy that Socrates has used. Socrates should have left the prison while he had the chance. He should have tried to preserve his life and keep preaching his philosophy. In order to understand my point of view better, imagine that someone is trying to attack you with a very sharp knife and you and your son is dodging the knife at any cost to preserve your lives. What if the only option you have is you and your son is going to get killed on the spot or would it be your attacker. Of course you are going to try to kill the offender and save your own life.
That certainly breaks at least two laws. You were being attacked and your life is being threatened. To recap, a law was broken in order to try to murder two innocent citizens, you and your son, and in order to preserve your lives you seriously hurt and kill the attacker. Another law was broken on your part. In other words, it is all right to disobey the system of laws if your life or anybody else’s life that means a lot to you is in danger. Socrates has had some rough times and some bad times too. In this case his thinking was not that thorough. Socrates should have considered of escaping out of prison and can prove his innocence outside. He could have conversed a lot longer with the people of Ancient Greece and could have done lots of marvelous things. We could have read more of his philosophy and enjoyed dissecting his mind by analyzing line by line from his works. Nevertheless, poor old Socrates’ loyalty to the state had killed him.
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