Friday, May 24, 2013

Just because it's the law doesn't mean you should automatically abide by it.

That's the point behind a recent article at Reason.org entitled, provocatively, "Why I'm teaching my son to break the law".  In making his case, Reason managing editor J.D. Tuccile intertwines the thoughts and actions of Thoreau and Emerson with the historical lessons from a little known slave rescue in 1858 Ohio.  In that incident, now known as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue, a group of Americans blatantly disregarded the heinous, but legal, Fugitative Slave Act.  Here's Tuccile sharing the lesson with his son:
My wife and I used it as a starting point for telling our seven-year-old why we don't expect him to obey the law—that laws and the governments that pass them are often evil. We expect him, instead, to stand up for his rights and those of others, and to do good, even if that means breaking the law.
The article is valuable for not just its recounting of the slave rescue, but also because it's a thought-provoking essay.