"Speeding" is immoral?and
Is setting the speed limit unreasonably low so that all traffic is "speeding" in order to write more tickets immoral? After installing a red-light camera at an intersection the politicians and bureaucrats have been known to shorten the yellow cycle in order to raise more revenue from "violators" even though the shorter yellow cycle increases accidents. Is that moral?
What is immoral is creating a dangerous situation for others. If politicians and bureaucrats had a sense of shame it might be immoral to speed because the speed limit would be set and enforced solely for safety reasons. But that is not the case and it never will be.
I just can't agree that all laws deserve our deference. At least not at all times.Yes, speeding is immoral, it and all other laws are due deference, and we all give them deference (if for no other reason then we have to). The deference is, at its base, because we are the ones responsible for our laws. We vote our lawmakers into office. We either vote into office the judges who are the gatekeepers or we vote into office the people who choose the judges. Laws cannot be without, at the very least, the acquiescence of the majority of us. And, while the majority of a town may approve their council passing laws to create speed traps the town council can't do so unless allowed to do so by the county, the State, and the federal government (in other words, the rest of us voting citizens).
Of course, in the end, our legal system breaks down to "might makes right." So ignoring a law which should not exist can bring consequences.
That still doesn't make the law right. And, for some people, it still doesn't justify giving it deference.
That does not mean that breaking a law is not justified if there is a superior moral claim. This can be a claim that the law is immoral, such as suffrage laws denying people the vote, or an individualized claim, such as speeding to get a dying person to the hospital. Laws can and should be challenged when perceived to be in error. However, if we choose not to give deference to the law at all, then there is no reason to follow it, except for the claim of enforcement by force.
Of course, there is always some level of force to law enforcement. A minority of people will violate the law of the majority whether it has a justifiable reason or not. Saying "Pretty-please with sugar on top, don't drive 65 mph in front of the elementary school while kids are there" isn't going to stop such people. The threat and actuality of enforcement will decrease the number of people violating a law. The question is whether enforcement and/or resistence to it is just/moral.
I don't think we can limit the morality of the law to approve only laws which "creat[e] a dangerous situation for others" unless we widen our definition of "dangerous situation." If we are limiting it to a proximate cause /immediately dangerous situation that ignores long-term needs and effects. Sometimes, other necessities mandate an enforceable law. For instance, were OPEC to embargo the US the speed limit might be lowered because of the necessity of reducing the demand for gasoline. There's no immediate danger to individuals. Nevertheless, there is a danger for great, long-term damage to society as a whole. That law is, IMO, just.
So then, where exactly are the lines for just/unjust laws and just/unjust violations? I'm not sure exactly. Some day I may sit down and write my magnum opus, The Unified CrimLaw Just Law Theory. It'll be one of those 200 page books which law profs praise, people put on their shelves to show their sophistication, and nobody reads. Until then we are all just going to have to muddle through. :-)