Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 's Letter Of Burningham Jail

1091 Words Sep 24th, 2015 5 Pages
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter of Burningham jail mentions Socrates three times, giving the appearance that Socrates practiced civil disobedience directly and indirectly. However, King’s requirements for Civil disobedience are not met by Socrates 's situation, illuminated by the Apology and the Crito. King and Socrates both utilized non-violent intellectual tension to enact change. Although Socrates uses the same force as King, his lack of guilt or an attempt to negotiate prevents him from practicing true civil disobedience.
At first glance, respect for the social contract and civil disobedience seem to be in direct opposition of each other While some may argue that this affection prevents him from practicing civil disobedience. Additionally, they argue that any violation of the law would erode its power and lead to anarchy. However, their argument oversimplifies the social contract as just a set of rules to be followed when it includes consequences for breaches of the law. Further, as King argues proponents of civil disobedience, who break unjust laws and accept the consequences, display a rich love for the law. To illustrate the difference between civil disobedience and disrespect for the law King lays forth a set of requirements;
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an…
Open Document