December 2, 2013 Free Thoughts

Do We Have a Duty to Obey the Government?

Are we ethically obligated to obey the government? If so, why? If not, why not? What does this mean for society at large?

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Jason Brennan joins Aaron and Trevor for a discussion about political obligation. Conventional wisdom holds that governments make laws and their citizens have a duty to obey them. Most people think that’s so obvious that we don’t even really need to discuss it. But is it? Governments certainly want us to obey them, but what sort of arguments are there for why we should?

Brennan is Assistant Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University. Jason’s the author of three books: Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know, The Ethics of Voting, and, with David Schmidtz, A Brief History of Liberty. He is also a regular contributor to the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians.