Men make laws to instill order in a society and prevent chaos in any shape or form. Naturally, laws will always be somewhat unjust because it is impossible to consistently construct laws that directly and equally benefit all members of a society. There will always be a majority that makes the laws and a minority that has to obey the laws. Although laws are usually the standard of morality by which we live by, they must be disobeyed in certain situations. These situations are, but not limited to, an undemocratic formation of aforementioned laws, laws that are inherently unjust according to human law which can be synonymous with God’s law. However, laws should get their legitimacy from religious backing, but the legitimacy should come from either the inherent goodness or …show more content…
Because in a true democracy, it is the responsibility of the citizens to disobey the laws that aren’t truly aiding in the progressive nature of society. A democracy can’t be effective without active participation. With that, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail is a cornerstone in how we should approach the discussion of whether it is or isn’t reasonable to disobey a law. King agrees with St. Augustine in that “an unjust law is no law at all.” This enforces the idea that an unjust law is virtually not present because it is inevitably meant to be broken. King addresses the characteristics of unjust laws in 3 points. First point being that just laws are always harmonious with natural morale law. Second point being that a just law is one that uplifts human personality as opposed to degrading human personality. Lastly, a just law can only be created in the most democratic manner possible and if it is not, the minority automatically has the right to disobey the law because they had no say in the creation of the law. As for the first point, a natural morale law must be measured by our natural human sense. We inherently know how to use our natural
In the Crito by Plato, Socrates argues against civil disobedience, seeing it as an unjust act. Contrasting this view, Martin Luther King argues for civil disobedience against unjust laws, and seeing it as a responsibility of citizens. Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain law, commands or requests of the government. I will argue that the view of Socrates is superior to the view of Martin Luther King on the justness of civil disobedience. Using the argument against harm, I will show that even if a law is viewed as unjust, you must not repay an evil with another evil, as evident in the Crito while contrary to ideas presented by MLK.
Moreover, King uses these three rhetorical elements to express the treatment African Americans faced, the unjust laws by using examples back in history to show that these laws were not right at all, and his reason as to why he is in Birmingham due to the racial inequality whites have shown towards negroes. King main idea of his letter is “Injustice anywhere will be a threat to justice everywhere.” (King 1) Therefore, King is using this letter as a way of saying we have to protest racism and injustice, but we cannot do it violently because then that will be considered unjust too. Martin Luther King uses a tone of righteousness to talk about the right versus the wrong and explaining why what he is doing is correct.
They are made of a reason and they are in our system to respect them and follow them. Although I still believe it is correct to break unjust laws through peaceful protest. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King Jr. states “While confined here in Birmingham city jail. I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely”. He also states “I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders” coming in”.
In the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr., Justice within a society is achieved through the implementation of just laws. Furthermore, “just laws are regulations that have been created by man that follow the laws of God for man” (“Clergymen’s Letter”). Any law that does not correspond with the ideals of God and morality are considered to be unjust or a form of injustice. King identifies that injustice is clearly evident within the justice system. This injustice can truly be seen through the misconduct imposed toward the African American community.
Now that king established the theory of Just and Unjust laws he then explains the difference between a just and unjust law, King says just laws “square with moral law” meaning the law agrees with the law of god. An unjust law is the opposite; the
In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “A Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” he provides answers to fundamental metaphysical questions regarding the nature of the human soul. Though his letter is addressed to a group of eight clergymen criticizing his direct action campaign in Birmingham, his ultimate aim is the uplifting of human personhood. Underlying King’s letter is a philosophical, hylemorphic anthropology which puts an anchor deep into a certain conception of personhood, and binds all people who are to read it. He looks deeply at the nature of human beings, as rational creatures who are made to love and be loved, and from thence, deliberates that there is a universal Gospel of Freedom and Justice. Martin Luther King, Jr. asserts that there are universal principles justifying what actions are morally right and wrong, just and unjust.
Summary/Assessment: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which is an organization operating in every Southern state with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He came to Birmingham, Alabama because injustice lies there and helped protest about it in a nonviolent demonstration against racial discrimination. The eight clergymen of the South did not approve of these demonstrations happening which caused Dr. King to be confined in Birmingham Jail cell, writing a letter to them men explaining on why he was in Birmingham and what his reasons were for these protests. He begins to talk about and explain the four basic steps that needed to be followed for any nonviolent campaign. He also gives the audience a better understanding by giving a visual glimpse of what the black community had to endure.
Civil Disobedience Martin Luther King once stated in "The Letter from Birmingham Jail", "Any individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment to arouse the conscience of the community over it injustice is in reality, expressing the highest respect for the law" (King 411). King meant that, if anyone feels a law is unjust and needed to expose its injustice, should willingly accept any penalty that comes in their way to help arouse people 's conscience in changing that law. In “The Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King explains the four powerful steps of the nonviolent campaign he used to protest against racial injustice for African-Americans
Definition and Description of Procedural Justice Procedural justice is the act involved in decision making. It incorporates the process of involving transparency and fairness in making decisions. The incorporation of justice in this process is equally essential it entails that all parties allowed to give their views before decision are made concerning a given matter. Some theories state that restorative and distributive justice might not be met but for as long as there is a fair and justice procedure, there is always the possibility of having outcomes that are equitable (Jason &Tyler, 2003).
(Paragraph 4). This drew the clergymen’s attention to King’s beliefs and possibly made them realize the flaws in the system. King also states, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law…” (Paragraph 5).
Rhetorical Strategies: Letter from Birmingham In 1963, Birmingham Alabama was a place where African Americans struggled for equal rights. From segregation to discrimination, Birmingham consisted of all many injustice activities which involved civil rights. In 1963, Martin Luther King was arrested from protesting the treatment of African Americans.
Herbert J. Storing, an Associate Professor of Political Science, in “The Case Against Civil Disobedience,” writes, “One of the practical consequences of this institution [civil disobedience] is to divert disobedience and even revolution into the channel of law” (97). What Storing is saying is that civil disobedience will encourage people to break the laws and they will hide under civil disobedience to avoid the law. Also, civil disobedience might split society by creating disagreements with the people, and it could create a political instability. However, Storing fails to see that those who break an unjust law, as discussed above, do not avoid the law, in fact they show respect to the law as they willingly accept the consequences. By accepting the consequences, they show that they are not acting for their own interests but for society’s.
Martin Luther King Jr once stated, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” in his Letter from Birmingham Jail in 1963. He was invoking the principle of civil disobedience. He wasn't justifying breaking laws just because, but instead, meant that you break the law and accept your punishment, in hopes that people will come to see that the law is unethical. Civil disobedience plays an important role in how our society has been shaped up until this point.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Aquinas on Higher Law Although Martin Luther King Jr. lived seven hundred years after Thomas Aquinas, King was greatly influenced by the work of Aquinas. In his “The Power of Non-Violence” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. uses many ideas from Thomas Aquinas regarding a ‘higher law’ and its relation to human law. King directly refers to Aquinas when he says, “To put it in terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law” (“Letter”). Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Aquinas agree natural and divine law is higher than human law, yet they disagree whether violence should be used to achieve justice. Along with Aquinas, King refers
In paragraph 9 King states “there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws (6),” and then continues with King stating “Now, what is the difference between the two? (7)” What is the difference between an unjust law and a just law? King goes on to explain that a just law is one that “squares with the moral