There were times in history when breaking the law was justified: great leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King broke the law and changed the world for the better.
Are we morally obliged to obey even unjust laws? This moral question addresses what we commonly know as civil disobedience. In order to properly discuss civil disobedience and whether or not it is moral to disobey laws, we must first characterize civil disobedience. In Peter Singer's book, Practical Ethics he begins to characterize civil disobedience as arising from "ethical disagreement" and raising the question of whether "to uphold the law, even if the law protects and sanctions things we hold utterly wrong?" (Singer 292).
The Injustice in Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who seldom cared what other people thought about him, lived in the moment. In doing so, He became furious over the amount of injustice. This essay shows King’s fury over injustice through the use of rhetorical appeals through ethos,
Martin Luther King’s views came from his letter that he wrote in jail. That letter was called “Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.].” In this letter, he talks about the law's, justification, and nonviolent. Martin Luther King claims that there are two types of laws just and unjust laws. He believes in the just laws, and he would be one of the first to follow them. Also that an individual has a right and a moral right to perform these just laws as well. There is a difference between just and unjust laws. A Just law is made code that contains moral law and or the law of the God. While the unjust law is a law that doesn’t include any moral law.
In the text King uses a load of logos to appeal to his audiences logic and open their eyes to see what is really happening. In paragraphs fifteen and sixteen King begins to use logos to get his audience to begin thinking about the just and unjust laws. King says one of his most impressive statements, in my opinion, in paragraph 16,”one has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” When he states this, King is getting is audience to begin considering the laws that he is requesting them to follow and the laws that are being broken and the difference between the two. The argument that King is trying to win here is the topic that they should not be breaking laws if they are going to be asking for laws to be made and changed, he is saying that there is a difference in laws that suppress one group and allow another to flourish and laws that give everyone equal opportunity to live the American Dream. To give more backing and
Martin Luther King, Jr. sat in Birmingham jail not because he committed a crime but because he took part in a non-violent demonstration. King received an invite to a nonviolent demonstration by a local church and was later jailed for his actions (King 1). While in jail, King reflected on the injustice in not only Birmingham, but the world as well. King addressed injustice as a universal wrong which can only be undone by people themselves and not by action forced by the government. He quickly announced that keeping the peace and obeying the law are not the same, the people ahead do not simply relinquish their role because of the selfishness of the human nature. Those who are oppressed will seek to leave injustice behind. Martin Luther
MLK even covers the fact that some laws are just on the surface, but unjust in how they are enforced. The example of his imprisonment proves this statement. He was arrested for parading without a permit, but this is an unjust law because it promotes segregation and denies basic constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly (659). He uses these soulful explanations of just and unjust laws trying to appeal to his readers’ emotions, though the notion of just and unjust laws may seem logical to them as well.
”Unjust law is no law at all.” In face of unjust laws, merely tolerance and obeying could be detrimental not only to personal rights but also to the well-being of the society. Therefore, it is indeed every people’s responsibility to disobey or even resist them. As we know during the sixties of America a number of citizens decided not to obey the law which itself is unjust and wrong any longer. Without their resistance, there wouldn’t have been the civil rights movement, anti-war
John Locke’s views on rebellion and civil disobedience puts emphasis on the “state of nature” of man. He determines that man is naturally in this state of nature, meaning man has the power to resolve his issues himself. The only way for a man to execute his personal
Martin Luther King used the same idea of unjust laws to justify his actions and nonviolent campaigns. He used this idea to answer the question of how he can support the breaking of some laws, but not others? His simple answer was that there are two types of laws, just and unjust, and "an unjust law is no law at all." (80). He goes on to quote St. Thomas Aquinas, ."..Any law that uplifts personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust." (80) and says that any individual that breaks an unjust law and accepts the punishment of imprisonment actually has the "highest respect for the law." (81). King makes a very strong point in distinguishing just and unjust laws to advocate his actions, just like Stanton and Anthony do in their address.
An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.? The Clergymen express great concern over King is willingness to break laws. King replies that this is an understandable concern since everyone follows the Supreme Court Decision of 1954 that states; public schools are not to be segregated. In other words King is saying the Supreme Court can hand down a just law and yet people do not obey it but yet they expect me to obey an unjust law. In Germany under Adolf Hitler every thing he did was ?legal? and the freedom fighters in Hungry did everything ?illegally?. Aiding a Jew under Hitler was considered ?illegal?. Because these things were legal did that make it right? No. Should people have obeyed these laws? No. These laws were made to suppress a group of people simple because of there religion. This is much like the segregation in the United States is it right because it is the law? No. Should these laws be followed? No.
Martin Luther King Jr., was a civil rights activist who spoke freely about civil disobedience in the Letter from Birmingham Jail while he was locked up for civilly disobeying the law. He was writing to eight white clergymen that also felt that many of the laws were unjust, however they showed agreement with Socrates by stating that he should not disobey the laws. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “one has a moral responsibility to disobey just laws because if we did not disobey them then unjust acts would continue to occur, causing our country to be harmed”. He also stated that “an unjust law is no law at all”. Martin Luther King Jr. did believe that laws were setup and enforced to assist and support the residents of the state however, if a law was unfair or unconstitutional, then the law would
To understand King’s views on nonviolent protest, I will start by summarizing some of the main points in his “Letter from Birmingham jail”. In spite of the fact that the "Letter” is verifiably worried with justice all through, King likewise addresses the question specifically at a few focuses. In actuality, he places that justice maintains the poise of the human soul, while injustice conflicts with it. By talking about this idea by and large, he builds up criteria by which to obscurely assault both segregation and silence it. He at last suggests that the man who sees injustice and does nothing to stop it is acting unjustly also. Taking after this thought, he contends that laws must be permeated with an ethical sense so as to be just; as such, law and morality can not be viewed as independent interests or areas. The best way to really enact change and help humankind rise above its confinements is to act with as well as grasp “extremism”. According to Mott, “That this action had been termed “extreme” King admits “initially disappointed” him.” But King decides that if loyalty to good principles
By this statement King proved that in its application an unjust law can oppose a just law. Nevertheless, in this circumstance the just law is the First-Amendment right to peaceful assembly and protest and the unjust law prohibits one group of people from obtaining this right as a citizen of the United States of America. From this point King's appeal to reason carefully merges into an appeal to character.
I agree with Martin Luther King that “law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice. To start, another way to perceive the word justice is to associate it with the idea of impartailty. The idea of impartiality is important because every must be treated equally in the eyes