I found this graphic over at Blue's Blog.
That's a really important point, particularly when our 'ruling class' uses the law to legitimize actions that are anything but right.
Consider it like this. Congress can pass a law tomorrow that says the sky is red. From then onward, it'll be legal to say that the sky is red. It can even be declared illegal to say that the sky is anything but red. Nevertheless, the sky won't actually be red. The law may declare it so, but the law is visibly, demonstrably, empirically wrong.
The same applies to many things that are legal, but are not right by any mainstream moral or ethical standard. To name just a few:
- A drug manufacturer can sell a medicine here in the USA for six figures for a year's supply. The identical medication may be available in India for less than $1,000 for the same quantity - but it's illegal under US law for a patient to buy the drug there and import it (not for resale, mind you - for his own personal use). How can that possibly be ethically, morally right?
- There are protections for individual privacy in the US constitution. They're implicit rather than explicit, as noted in Roe vs. Wade and other court decisions, but the right is real. How, then, can it be constitutional for laws to be passed allowing government agencies and businesses to ferret through our every conversation in electronic form, record them, analyze them, interpret them, use them to target us for advertising, and so on? The laws of this country allow them to do so - but are those laws right?
- There's an explicit protection against religious discrimination in the US constitution's First Amendment. However, businesses and individuals are being targeted by laws protecting certain minority groups and/or orientations, even if their religious views conflict with the latter. How can one law be more 'right' than another?
- It's legal for federal officers to lie to suspects in their investigation of a crime; but it's illegal for suspects to lie to federal officers. (That's the main reason why Martha Stewart went to jail.) What's sauce for the goose is emphatically not sauce for the gander. How can this be right?
The list is endless, and never seems to get any shorter. I've come to regard it as a litmus test for a statist. If their approach to such issues is to shrug and say, "But it's legal!", they're likely to be statists and enemies of freedom. If they ask "But is it right?", they might be worthwhile human beings (all other things being equal).