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Character building - deciding when to be Obedient?

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“My conscience is a product of the Ten Commandments, the Bill of Rights, the Boy Scout Oath and the Marine Corps Hymn,†the (President) Carter appointee said during his Senate confirmation hearing. “If I had to follow my conscience or the law, I would follow my conscience.â€

 

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson who passed last week at age 94.

 

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-harry-pregerson-snap-story.html

 

Profile: Choosing between the Law and His Conscience

http://articles.latimes.com/1992-05-03/local/me-1882_1_harry-pregerson

 

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Tough one.

 

Do you support someone following laws that are morally wrong, for example segregation?

Do you support someone for following their conscience even if you disagree with them morally, for example Sharia Law and stoning someone as punishment?

 

In the end, part of laws purpose is to remove the ambiguity and variance in different valeus.

 

I would come down on the side of following the Law but fight like crazy to change those laws I felt we’re morally wrong.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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One cannot legislate morality, though many have tried. There are many things that are legal that are morally bad and vice-versa.  It just depends on the morality of the one's making the laws.  Laws only codify away the freedom of choices.  The big one in today's society is: Can I buy a gun to defend myself and my family.  One has a moral obligation and responsibility to do that, but the laws in some places restrict or deny that.  It all boils down to how one person uses laws to either enforce power or to help.  At that point it becomes not a legal issue, but a moral issue. 

 

Drinking and driving or texting and driving or driving 5 mph over the limit, may be a personal choice, but it endangers hundreds of others in the vicinity that takes away their personal choice not to be injured or killed.  Paying a fine or sitting incarcerated for a period of time does not do justice to the situation, but we have come to accept it as the societal new moral normal.  I have always thought it strange that one can't smoke cigarettes in a public building because it endangers others, but driving 5 mph over does the same thing, but "everyone does it".

 

As far as character is concerned, that all depends on what one does when no one is watching.  Just watch the brake lights on the car ahead when there's a police monitoring traffic ahead.  This attitude does not make one liberal, it makes them moral.

Edited by Stosh

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This goes back to the earlier discussion over troop by-laws. No matter how well intended a law may be (or appear), there are situations or conditions in which the moral choice is to disobey the law. However blatant disregard without a fundamental ethical principle is immoral.

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“My conscience is a product of the Ten Commandments, the Bill of Rights, the Boy Scout Oath and the Marine Corps Hymn,†the (President) Carter appointee said during his Senate confirmation hearing. “If I had to follow my conscience or the law, I would follow my conscience.â€

 

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson who passed last week at age 94.

 

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-harry-pregerson-snap-story.html

 

Profile: Choosing between the Law and His Conscience

http://articles.latimes.com/1992-05-03/local/me-1882_1_harry-pregerson

I think that's an improper attitude for a judge.  His job was to rule based on the law/constitution as written, not on his conscience. For the rest of us, it's a great idea.  

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I think that's an improper attitude for a judge.  His job was to rule based on the law/constitution as written, not on his conscience. For the rest of us, it's a great idea.  

 

But there is vagueness and latitude in the system.  Thus the evaluation and re-evaluation going up the ladder to the Supreme Court.  So Armed Robbery will get you 10-15 years.  So what is it 10 or 15 or somewhere in between? 

 

Then there's "beyond a reasonable doubt".  Getting to a yes or no is kinda hard with the term "reasonable" thrown in.

Edited by Stosh

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So Armed Robbery will get you 10-15 years.  So what is it 10 or 15 or somewhere in between? 

 

Well, since you asked... there actually is a logical answer.  The answer may vary from state to state, I can only give you the New Jersey version of the answer.  The sentencing range for armed robbery in NJ is 10 to 20 years.  The "presumptive sentence" is right in the middle, 15 years.  In deciding whether the sentence is to be higher, lower, or exactly 15 years, the judge is required to consider 13 aggravating factors and 13 mitigating factors, which are listed here: https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2013/title-2c/section-2c-44-1/ I will only mention one factor (actually it shows up on both lists), the person's prior criminal history.  If the armed robber has no juvenile or adult criminal record at all, and all other factors balance themselves out, the sentence will probably be less than 15 years.  If the person has been convicted of armed robbery three times before, and let's throw in that the police can't find whatever he stole and he won't say where it is, and that he shows no remorse for his crime, he is probably a candidate for 20 years.  And so on and so forth, for every possible combination and severity of 26 different factors.

 

Not sure what it has to do with A Scout is Obedient, but there it is.

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I think that's an improper attitude for a judge.  His job was to rule based on the law/constitution as written, not on his conscience. For the rest of us, it's a great idea.

 

you would think, but the Supreme Court is roughly 50/50 politically. Is that conscience, moral conscience, emotion, or what. They only supposed to interpret the law.

 

Judge Judy made millions by applying moral reasoning to her judgements.

 

Because our society is drifting from religion, I think more people have less self moral guidance. So, when someone with sound moral understanding comes along, like Judge Judy, they attach to them to feel some sense of security for direction.

 

Barry

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Well, since you asked... there actually is a logical answer.  The answer may vary from state to state, I can only give you the New Jersey version of the answer.  The sentencing range for armed robbery in NJ is 10 to 20 years.  The "presumptive sentence" is right in the middle, 15 years.  In deciding whether the sentence is to be higher, lower, or exactly 15 years, the judge is required to consider 13 aggravating factors and 13 mitigating factors, which are listed here: https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2013/title-2c/section-2c-44-1/ I will only mention one factor (actually it shows up on both lists), the person's prior criminal history.  If the armed robber has no juvenile or adult criminal record at all, and all other factors balance themselves out, the sentence will probably be less than 15 years.  If the person has been convicted of armed robbery three times before, and let's throw in that the police can't find whatever he stole and he won't say where it is, and that he shows no remorse for his crime, he is probably a candidate for 20 years.  And so on and so forth, for every possible combination and severity of 26 different factors.

 

Not sure what it has to do with A Scout is Obedient, but there it is.

 

It lies in the "fuzzy logic" of what's best for me on the one hand and what can I get away with" on the other.  Morality and one's adherence to it (morality).  Basically all moral codes/convanents/agreements are valid as long as everyone agrees to it.  If not (disobedience) the whole thing begins to fall apart.  Of course there is then the caveat that once the code is broken (obedience isn't followed) then the next step is broken trust (A Scout is Trustworthy).  The dominoes thus begin to tip one after another until there is anarchy.  The "fuzzy logic" comes into play, when one tries to determine where the real tipping point of the process turns from civilization to anarchy.  The law says 55 mph, but the cops look the other way at 56?  57? 58?  Just because the police don't pull one over, doesn't mean 56 mph isn't speeding.  What's in it for me and what can't I get away with are the two "first steps" in disobedience.

 

Does Citizenship in the Nation cover Civil Disobedience in it's teaching or do they ignore it.

Edited by Stosh

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Does Citizenship in the Nation cover Civil Disobedience in it's teaching or do they ignore it.

 

Civil disobedience is not covered, but IMHO it should be.

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"One cannot legislate morality, though many have tried. "

 

Not sure if this is what you mean, but before William I there was no concept of crime in England.   Murder was a wrong against the family of the victim, leading to feuds.  William's view was that he owned all of England and all the population owed him service.  Killing someone was not a wrong against just the victim's family (the Saxon view) but a crime against the King, in his view.   He was told he could not force that view on the population.   With exceptions of course, he did just that.  His word was the law of the land.  He had to kill a good number of folks to get the lesson across.  So if enough force is applied, you can legislate behavior.  

 

Similarly, German imposed it's will on occupied France with about 6000 active paramilitary police and security personnel and the threat of it's army.  Until D-Day there was largely no resistance, movies and fictional accounts to he contrary notwithstanding.

 

Ever read a book about the public demonstrations against Joe Stalin after WWII?  Me neither.

 

I had a Scout in my troops whose dad had a number on his arm, placed there when he was rounded up in late 1944 in eastern France.  He was the only survivor of his immediate family.   Like Jefferson, he had views about legislating morality.  His bumper stickers said  "Never Again" and "I am the NRA."

 

Now you may raise "Prohibition" as an example, rather than murdering Native Americans on sight or women owning property and voting, but when alcohol is served in the White House and in every significant city in the land contemporaneous with "Prohibition," it is hard to say that the full weight of the state was brought to bear.

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Civil disobedience is not covered, but IMHO it should be.

It may not be a requirement but we can and should teach it. One of the very few reasons I like MB classes is the ability to cover material not otherwise covered. We cannot add t the requirements, but adding to the teaching is not verboten.......yet.

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Civil disobedience is not covered, but IMHO it should be.

On the other paw, BSA has held up Dr. Martin Luther King as an example of proper values.  He is all over the NYLT syllabus.  He got his Nobel Prize for ....  leading a campaign of civil disobedience against racial laws.  Message?

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On the other paw, BSA has held up Dr. Martin Luther King as an example of proper values.  He is all over the NYLT syllabus.  He got his Nobel Prize for ....  leading a campaign of civil disobedience against racial laws.  Message?

 

I was not aware of that. Why not in Citizenship in Nation?

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I was not aware of that. Why not in Citizenship in Nation?

Two requirements do lend themselves to covering MLK and the civil rights movement , one about monuments and one about speeches. In the end it gives the Scout an option of what to focus on. If I dove in and gave it some thought, there might be other requirements that could cover civil disobedience.

 

I can’t of the top of my head think of any opportunities in CitC or CitW, but there may be.

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