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Bending the Law according Atticus
Transcript of Bending the Law according Atticus
“Sometimes it’s better to bend the law a little in special cases,” (Lee 33). Atticus says this when Scout and him are talking about compromise and the bending of the law, he explains that the Ewells, one of the poorest families of the town, are allowed to leave school when they want, and hunt whenever they want, because the enforcers of the law take pity on them for being poor. This has also been shown in many other statements and essays on real life issues such as, "Even some of the keenest law students will think they are justified in ignoring the law on the occasional law in a situation that won't have any affect on anybody,"(Love). In this statement alone, it is shown that laws are often broken if there is a reason to break them.
“Because that’s the only way he can pay me. He has no money,” (Lee 23). Atticus says this to show the great morals of the Cunninghams, and that even though law required him to pay Atticus with money for legal help Atticus would do it for free had the Walter let him, but instead of paying Atticus with money Walter paid him with crops. "Local merchants provided food and supplies all year long on credit; when the cotton crop was harvested farmers turned it over to the merchant to pay back their loan," (Crop). Atticus willingly bent this law for the Cunninghams because they were good people and deserved it. "Our own moral and practical judgements are often relevant to obedience to the law, and if a law does not reflect a moral consensus in society or coordinate behaviour in a helpful way," (Love). Behavior can be affected by a number of different things, esspecially morals.
There are many instances in real life in which bending the law is considered okay not only to regular civilians, but also to law enforcement. "three former political activists are publicly confessing to the brazen burglary, calling it an act of “resistance” that exposed “massive illegal surveillance and intimidation.”" (After).
Articles explain that even law enforcement officers bend the law when they think it is the right decision to do so. "Someone had to do it," (After). One of the officers on the scene explains that if they didn't do it, who would? Morals even guide our enforcers of the law to bend it in certain instances.
Constant arguments are being made about whether or not the law or morals have common ground. In the story
To Kill a Mockingbird
, Harper Lee makes many statements through Atticus, a loving father and passionate lawyer, about the law and government. In chapter 3 of the book Atticus says that sometimes it's okay to bend the law in special cases, when he's explaining what a compromise is to his daughter Scout. Scout, the narrator of the story, sees both sides of the argument equally, while she knows that it's not exactly okay to break the law, but sometimes it's less trouble to ignore the law being broken. She realizes some people have different principles, and their principles shouldn't benefit nor harm another person. Some of the time breaking the law is okay if it complies with standing up for what you believe in and for the principles you set in life.
"Some legal philosophers argue that there a general moral obligation to obey the law- that the fact that a law demands certain behavior should be morally important to us regardless of what the law actually says," (Love). People would argue that it is a moral responsibility for us to follow the law, whether we have personal feeling towards the law or not. "It is often held that breaking the law, any law, is morally wrong, and in doing so one acts badly. Walter Berns writes, "The law must not be understood to be merely a statute that we enact or repeal at our will, and obey or disobey at our convenience--especially not the criminal
law,” (Tunik). People should follow the law because the law isn't supposed to benefit the minority, it's supposed to benefit the majority.
Morals and the law, some argue do not have common ground, others disagree. Atticus says that it's okay to bend the law in special cases to Scout. He uses Bob Ewell and his family as an example because they don't have to go to school, and can hunt out of season because they are poor. Many people believe that if you have so moral obligation to disobey the law you can. There have been instances where even law enforcement disregard the law. Some can argue that it's a moral obligation to follow the law. All in all Morals and the law have no grounds together.
"After 43 Years, Activists Admit Theft at FBI Office That Exposed Domestic\
www.Investigations.nbcnews.com. 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 May 2015. http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/06/22205443-after-43-years-activists-admit-theft-at-fbi-office-that-exposed-domestic-spying?lite
Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. Boston: Grand Central, 1982.
Love, Samantha. "“I Just Don’t, It’s Illegal” – Is There a Moral Obligation to Obey the Law?
Web. www.oxford-royale.co.uk. 1 Apr. 2014. 20 May 2015. https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/moral-obligation-obey-law.html
Tunik, Mark. “The Moral Obligation to Obey the Law.” Web. www.academia.edu. 19 December
2002. http://www.academia.edu/5578304/The_Moral_Obligation_to_Obey_Law . 20 May. 2015.
Compromise- a mutual agreement to benefit both sides
Morals- principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct
Law- a system of rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior.