law and politicsdo you believe that common crimes are result of laws that are in conflict with current beliefs of society?  

4 Answers | Add Yours

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

If we use the term "crime" loosely, there are any number of laws on the boks that people openly disregard.  Take speed limit laws, for example.  Studies from the US Department of Transportation suggest that people will drive as fast as they feel safe, and are much more influenced by their own safety mechanism than by the law.  That's why guidelines call for speed limits to be set at the 70th percentile of the recorded speeds on any given road.

Drinking laws are also overwhelmingly and openly broken by those under 21 (as any teacher or college instructor will tell you).  While alcohol is still a drug, it is much more socially acceptable than, say, heroin use.  So despite the law and some rather aggressive attempts to enforce it, the minors who the law targets, I would say, disagree with the law and therefore do not follow it.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Crime is only the result of conflict with society in the case of subversive groups. For example, militia groups break laws because they believe the laws are unjust. Most criminals break laws for economic reasons rather than idealistic ones. People do not usually commit burglaries to prove a point. They do it for the money. In the case of street gangs, there are some different beliefs that are part of gang life, but they arise from the needs of the gang rather than beliefs about society.
herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Beliefs are individual to each person, therefore, it is nearly impossible for any law to regulate that, especially in the U.S., where there is a clear separation between church and state.

That being said, what laws really attempt to regulate is the behavior of the people in order to ensure social order. Common crimes are often committed by individuals who have never learned to behave in a socially acceptable manner either because of a bad upbringing, a social adaptation disorder, or a psychological problem. Therefore, it is not likely that laws are broken because people do not believe in them. That latter assumption relates mostly to a philosophical case of civil disobedience, which hardly ever manifests the way a case of common crime does.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would argue that they are not.  The only major kind of crime that could possibly be characterized in this way is the use of drugs on a personal basis.

However, most crimes in our society are attacks on values that pretty much everyone believes in.  We tend to have crimes like theft and assault.  These are not caused by people who do not believe in private property or in the right to personal safety.  Instead, they are caused by things like the desire to get more money.

The majority of crimes are not caused by a disconnect between laws and our beliefs.

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question