Spinoff: How Much Does the Law Affect Your Opinion?

posted 2 weeks ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
334 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2021

In terms of what constitutes a legitimate marriage, the law means nothing to me. I believe that each couple (or polyamorous relationship) has the right to define their own relationship and decide what marriage means to them. For some people, marriage means a legally recognized union under the law, and that’s totally legitimate. For other people, marriage means a commitment to walk through life together without necessarily requiring any signing of paperwork, and that’s equally legitimate! Some people may decide to get legally married just for the benefits under the law, and other people may decide those benefits don’t matter to them. At the end of the day, it’s not my right (or anyone else’s right!) to cast judgement on whether someone marriage is “legitimate” or not. Two (or more) people are married when they say they are, and that’s that! 

Laws exist as guidelines to help us negotiate the complex activity of living in a society with other people. Laws aren’t reflections of some great moral truths of what’s “right” and “wrong.” Laws are practical tools, always subject to change, and nothing more. 

Post # 3
Member
147 posts
Blushing bee

In general, the law has only a minimal effect on what I consider to be right and wrong.  Although I do have to follow the law and I do things I do not want to do, there isn’t an alignment between what the law says and my opinions.

Here are two real-world examples to illustrate.  US law doesn’t require paid medical or family leave, or paid vacation.  I am of the strong opinion that European countries have it right and I lament this aspect of US culture.  On the flip side, the US federal tax system requires reporting of your income earned anywhere in the world, and I feel that there is no right to tax income earned in another jurisdiction.  So, sometimes there is no law when I think there should be one, and sometimes there is a law and there shouldn’t be one.

To answer the direct questions asked:

If my job duty required me to ask black people to sit in the back, I would do it, but I would do it in an apolgetic way.  I would make it clear that the law requires it and my job requires me to ask them to sit there, but I do not personally agree with that law.  (If I was in a situation where I risked violence from a white person, I would omit the last part.)  But I would also do my best not to take a job where I have to enforce a law I do not agree with.

I am against recreational marijuana use, as well as cigarettes, due to the harmful secondhand smoke and the negative externalities resulting from those substances.  But I absolutely cannot support classifying marijuana as a drug as dangerous as cocaine or heroin.  There are plenty of drugs that are perfectly legal for pain management and disease treatment, and marijuana has scientifically proven medical benefits for some conditions.

I have had mainly progressive social views my entire life.  I have always felt that two people of any gender should have the right to marry.  One man-one woman has religious origins.  Marriage is simply saying “I love this person, I want to form this legal union”.  You can love someone whether they are the same sex or the opposite sex.  Just like you can whether they’re the same race or a different race.

Post # 4
Member
334 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2021

Just reflecting on this question some more, I was thinking about the philosopher John Dewey and his book “The Public and Its Problems.” Dewey says that the challenge of living in a cohesive society (a “public”) is that all of us act as individual people, but sometimes our individual actions have consequences that impact other people. And sometimes those consequences are far-reaching and impossible to forsee in advance! So when a society gets big and complicated enough, the public begins to establish government and create laws in order to deal with the collective consequences of our individual  actions and try to make those consequences more predictable. Basically, Dewey argues that laws are guidelines we create to help us deal with how complicated collective human life is! But as human life changes, and as technology changes, and as culture changes, and as we learn more things about the world and learn how to better treat one another, we should change our laws too. The laws serve the public… not the other way around.

This is a great question! “The Public and It’s Problems” is an incredibly boring read (it was on my mind because I was just reading it for a project), but Dewey expresses some really interesting perspectives about what it really means to be a “public.”

 

Post # 5
Member
328 posts
Helper bee

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@minnewanka:  I can’t really think of anything I think is right or wrong “because it’s the law!” There are all sorts of injustices that are not addressed in legislation/the legal system and all sorts of laws that produce injustice.

The recent changes in Canada are cause for celebration and long overdue. Women (and some men, but mostly women) have been advocating for these changes for decades now and I can hardly believe it’s really happening! 

Post # 6
Member
334 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2021

One more thing! 

It’s vital for us as a public to recognize that laws don’t just update themselves to suit our society’s current needs. WE (the public) are the only ones who can changes the laws, and change requires action. If a law is unjust, obeying that law is an unjust action. We have a responsibility to identify unjust laws and take action to change them. We have a responsibility to disobey laws that are unjust. We each need to hold ourselves accountable, as individuals and as a public.

Okay, that’s it for now! (Sorry, I study educational philosophy/policy for a living so I have A LOT of opinions about this!)

Post # 7
Member
1077 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - City, State

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@minnewanka:  
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@minnewanka:  I think your bus example is a completely false equivalency in the context of relationships. The bus example is obviously morally and legally wrong because it is disparate treatment based on immutable characteristics. There are no romantic, personal, or financial relationship dynamics at play whatsoever in that scenario. Relationships also involve CONSENT, and demanding money when you have no legal right to it in a relationship that ends shows you feel entitlement to something the other party did not necessarily consent to.

The law matters in relationships morally because when a person does something like the poster now demanding money out of the goodness of their heart as a gift for their SO, it is morally wrong to then demand that gift back at the end of the relationship. If the law dictated that her services were not a gift when she moved in with him, then presumably her boyfriend could have entered into cohabitation with her KNOWING AND CONSENTING to the consequences of that arrangement. But to be given a gift and then have the person demand it back upon a breakup (and honestly who knows how much her “services” were actually worth) when that person has no legal claim whatsoever is morally wrong to me. That calls into question the genuineness of the entire relationship. The boyfriend had no way of knowing he would be on the hook for at least a year’s rent in Brooklyn plus egg-freezing (all told probably $100,000) when he entered into a relationship with the poster we are talking about.  Can you imagine a man demanding his money back upon a non-marriage breakup with you when he had no legal claim to it whatsoever? It’s effed up. Plus, nowhere did that poster tally the financial contribution her partner made to her. For all her post shows, he fully supported her during their relationship and made more financial contributions than her. Should he be able to demand all of that back now?

Hence why it gives “gold digger” vibes. It sounds like she was/is using her boyfriend for his money.

Post # 9
Member
1077 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - City, State

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@minnewanka:  Bottom line: I think consent is key. If you live in a place that requires division of property without marriage, then it’s on you to know the law and presumably you consent to the consequences if you enter into a cohabitation relationship and later demands are made upon separation. But without the law there, there is no basis for consent and it’s a lot more morally problematic to demand money out of the blue that the person never knew or agreed to be on the hook for when you are DUMPING them. The fact that it’s she who is leaving and demanding money adds additional moral gall to her attitude.

And your example about the man demanding money–again you acknowledge it’s the law that she owed him. I edited my original response to ask can you imagine a man asking for his money back in a non marriage relationship in which he had no legal claim to the money.  I’m sure most posters here would call him all sorts of names and would not think he was being “empowered.”

Post # 12
Member
1530 posts
Bumble bee

I don’t think the law determines what’s right or wrong. I think it just determines what’s legal.

I think your point about segregation is a good one. MLK was arrested numerous times and if you read newspapers written in the 60s he was accused of causing unrest, being a troublemaker, etc. He was, in fact, breaking the law. And many racist people used that as the reason to not support him–saying “well if he did things the *right* way he wouldn’t be arrested” and blah blah blah. He was an incredibly unpopular person during his lifetime. Statistically speaking, most white Americans didn’t support him. Which is why it’s ironic that he’s treated like a saint today. 

As a Black person, I of course wouldn’t support any racist laws then or today. I mean slavery was legal for hundreds of years. But I also would never discriminate against anyone even if my job required it. I put my morality above any job.  

That being said, I don’t personally think a woman is entitled to a boat load of money just because she dated a wealthy man for some years. But if she can get it more power to her, I guess? Lol.  

Post # 13
Member
1077 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - City, State

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@minnewanka:  She said she would ask, but frankly her attitude made it clear it was going to be a demand. The diatribe about sexism and how she did all this and that for him made it pretty damn clear she felt entitled to the money. 

I mean she can ask of course. No one is saying she can’t. That doesn’t mean she should. Like other posters and I said, in the well-connected world of her rich boyfriend in Manhattan of all places, it could damage her reputation and make her a pariah. Not a smart financial decision at all. Again. After a series of bad financial decisions.

Post # 15
Member
4965 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@minnewanka:  I agree the bus example was probably not the best. But, I would suggest changing segregation laws changed the public’s mind/perception.

 

I actually disagree with you there. I think important changes in laws surrounding social issues actually change in line with changes in societies perceptions and thought processes and not the other way around. Law makers are not going to generally risk their livelihoods and try to push through unpopular laws surrounding social reform if they know they will not get at good shot at a majority of support. Politicians make laws and lets be honest  most people perceive politicians as machiavellian and the complete opposite of altruistic. As a group, it’s  probably  fair to say that they wont put their nose out a tiny bit if it means that they could potentially lose it. They aren’t  generally going to purposely end their career over something that they know won’t get them voted in next time. People who really want to make a positive change  for others generally  do it at a grass roots  level. In Australia, individuals won’t even make it past the pre-selection stage for a political party and a chance at an election seat unless the party knows it can rely on them to vote with them and in line with the political parties  stance. They don’t want people who will potentially go rogue and vote on conscience. You can run as an independent but very few independents win a seat in an election.

I really do think Laws change especially ones that have to do with social justice only when  the majority of society has already made that mental shift.  

As for me personally, i live by the dictates of the law but my morals and opinions are greatly influenced by more than just the law.  

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