In conclusion, it is reasonable to state that there is no overarching principle that would govern the issue of political obligation. Not every instance of political obligation qualifies as a natural duty. Contrariwise, natural duties do not fall within the jurisdiction of geo-political entities. Sam Duncan concisely expresses these complexities thus:
“Beyond the practical consequences it has, I doubt whether theories based on the natural duy of justice can ever justify political obligation as it is usually conceived. Such theories rely on a natural duty that is universal in its demands, but must explain why it gives us obligations to one particular state over the others. I am not so sure this is possible; at best there will be tension in any natural duty account of the traditional notion of political obligation, and I think the particularity requirement with the attendant idea of special ties is incoherent with Kantian thought on the subject.” (Duncan, 2007)
Furthermore, modern nation-states are no more agents of morality as a business corporation is, as the pursuit of power and wealth is what drives them. It makes more sense to peruse theories and principles of evolutionary biology and psychology to determine which categories of political obligations can be regarded as natural duties. As of now, no comprehensive synthesis of these two seemingly disparate fields of inquiry have been carried out. Until such a time comes, people in power should bank upon empirical statistics and the distilled wisdom of yesteryear philosophers in arriving at political decisions. When these people in power find themselves in a dilemma, it is intuitively more prudent to fulfil natural duties before considering political obligations.
Buchanan, Allen. Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Carr, Craig L. “Fairness and Political Obligation.” Social Theory and Practice 28.1 (2002): 1+.
Duncan, Sam. “The Borders of Justice: Kant and Waldron on Political Obligation and Range Limitation.” Social Theory and Practice 33.1 (2007): 27+.
Klosko, George. Political Obligations. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Lefkowitz, David. “The Nature of Fairness and Political Obligation: A Response to Carr.” Social Theory and Practice 30.1 (2004): 1+.