CORE ETHICS LESSON 6

Unless you know the fiction really well, “Respect the Law” seems like a really odd addition to the Jedi Path. But if you look at what was written for the Star Wars Universe, you find that the Jedi were expected to also adhere to the laws of the Republic. Below is a quote from Power of the Jedi Sourcebook, but it is retrieved from the Wookiepedia page on the Jedi Code:

“One of the most important roles of the Jedi was to protect the peace and justice of the Republic, and so no Jedi was above the law. Jedi were expected to follow the law the same as they expected others to. Jedi were permitted to break laws, but only when it was required, and only if they were willing to suffer the consequences.” – Honor the Law,

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Jedi_Code/Legends

 

The Jedi Compass has similar sentiments:

 

Respect the Law– A Jedi knows enough of the law to operate within it. Jedi should respect, and do their best to live by the laws of the land they are living in. However, some laws may be flawed and should be amended. When the written law is unjust, or in the absence of legal precedence, a Jedi must act for the best interest of others as they see the situation. – Jedi Compass, 2022 Revision

Want an example? Honor Killings are actually illegal in every country- though that wasn’t always the case. Pakistan actually wasn’t able to fully close the loophole on Honor Killings until 2016. The loophole was one which seemed compassionate, but was highly abused- it allowed a family to forgive the killer of their family member. So the family would elect someone to murder the person who had brought shame upon their family and then in court forgive them of their “trespass”. You can read up on such a case here: https://www.dawn.com/news/1108900
This is an incident where the law, although seemingly just, was in truth unjust.

Laws are not simple, because man knows how to twist and bend things to their will. Let’s take the Good Samaritan and Citizen’s Arrest laws I had you research before getting to this assignment. As I mentioned in that piece, there are some states in the US which a Good Samaritan Law compels a person to act, and there are some which merely encourages that a bystander act on behalf of the victim.

Then you have Citizen Arrest Laws. The one in South Carolina has a precariously worded segment in it that can easily be turned on its head: “certain information that a felony has been committed”. There is a fine line between a Citizen’s Arrest in this circumstance and holding someone hostage. “Certain information” is not defined by the law itself. Much like the Pakistani situation, in the wrong court an innocent person may find themselves facing difficulty as they try to clear their name. People can be vindictive, fabricating information just to give someone a hard time or get them put away.

For your assignment here, analyze either the Citizen’s Arrest Law or Good Samaritan Law you found, and discuss the pros and cons of the law as you see it. What are some things that you need to be aware of in your decision making if you were to ever exercise your right within that law, or even outside of it? How does the Alternative Jedi Code (see below) help inform how you can determine whether or not to violate the law you have chosen to analyze?

Jedi are the guardians of peace in the galaxy.
Jedi use their powers to defend and to protect.
Jedi respect all life, in any form.
Jedi serve others rather than ruling over them, for the good of the galaxy.
Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.

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