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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

INDIVIDUAL   AND   SOCIAL   ETHICS
taste of any Prime Minister, past, present, or future,
even if, by good luck, his taste were impeccable,
I come now to the question of personal ethics, as
opposed to the question of social and political insti-
tutions. No man is wholly, free,, and no,man is,wholly
a slave. (To the extent to which a man has freedom,
he needs a personal morality to guide his^ conduct.
There are some who would say that a man need
only obey the accepted moral code of his community.
*       i.iTmr^'"^""*'"*"'*'"^*^'"^'*"'**''    """"''                 '                                            * '     "                  '                                     ' "* '
ButTcfonot think any student of anthropology could
be^content with this answer. Such practices as canni-
balism, human sacrifice, and head hunting have diecji
out as a result of moral protests against conventional
moral opinion, tfa man seriously desires to live the
best life that is open tp him, be must learn to be
critical of the tribal customs and tribal beliefs that
aregmerai^ac^epted amon^his^^i^^gui^J
But in regard to departures, on conscientious
grounds, from what is thought right by the society
to which a man belongs, we must distinguish between
the authority of custom and the authority of law.
Very much stronger grounds are needed to justify
an action which is illegal than to justify one which
only contravenes conventional morality. The reason
is that respect for law is an indispensable condition
for the existence of any tolerable social order. When
a man considers a certain law to be bad, he has a
right, and may have a duty, to try to get it changed,
but it is only in rare cases that he does right to break
it. I do not deny that there are situations in which
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