Is it ok to break the law in order to achieve what one believes to be a higher purpose?
Yes, in my view, it is perfectly alright to break the law in case it does something better for someone and never harms anyone. I still remember our teacher once asked us about Heinz’s dilemma proposed by Kohlberg who was aimed at analyzing the moral development of children. Many of us replied that Heinz did right to steal medicine because he intended to save the life of his beloved wife because his wife was a human and no law is greater than saving humanity. In other words, laws are the conventions made by the society to protect the human rights, dignity and place of humans in the society (John, 1976). If any law is keeping anyone refrained from saving someone’s life or benefiting the society; it can be broken rightfully (Marshall, 1969). On the other hand, breaking a law and achieving a common good is equally acceptable as far as my personal perspective is concerned but the condition is that it must be a “common good” without any doubt.
John, M. (1976). The justifiability of violent civil disobedience. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 6 (1), 35–47, doi:10.1080/00455091
Marshall, C. (1969). Civil Disobedience in a Constitutional Democracy. The Massachusetts Review, 211–226.
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