Letters From Birmingham Jail Analysis

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While reading “The Crito” By Plato and Martin Luther King’s “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” I will use these two pieces of literature as a springboard to answer whether it is moral to break a law that you consider unjust. I will start first by analyzing Plato’s dialogue “The Crito”. The conversation takes place in a prison; this is where Socrates is awaiting his execution, and will be serving out the last days of his life. Socrates is visited by Crito, an old loyal friend, a generous friend who lacks ethical teaching and I also question his morals. His reason for visiting is as simple as persuading Socrates to escape. He is willing to risk everything to help out his mentor. He throws argument after argument at Socrates, and hoping that he…show more content…
The eyes of many, Socrates argued, were of no importance because one should shadow the wise, and pay little importance to public opinion. Socrates states “if the many could do the greatest evil; for then they would also be able to do the greatest good--and what a fine thing this would be! But in reality they can do neither; for they cannot make a man either wise or foolish; and whatever they do is the result of chance” (Plato). I believe that this statement forces Crito to look at the bigger picture. To realize what is just and unjust to get a bigger picture of who we might gather opinions from. Who we regard as wise and unwise. Crito should seek the answer of the wise. Just as Socrates says in this passage. “Then, my friend, we must not regard what the many say of us: but what he, the one man who has understanding of just and unjust, will say, and what the truth will say.”…show more content…
Martin Luther king’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, is a response to fellow clergymen who advocated for King to be more patient and not to violate the law, as well as criticizing his approach for civil rights (MLK letter). Additionally King see justice as: “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”(MLK) His fellow clergyman agreed with King 's ideology that the laws were unjust, but furthermore agreed with Socrates ideology in that King shouldn’t have refuse to comply with the law. In response to that Martin Luther King Jr. said that “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.” According to king he believes that we should challenge unjust laws if and only if you are ready and willing to accept the punishment that follows (MLK). King states that “an unjust law is no law at all” because he believed that laws were put in place in order to benefit and aid the citizens of the state. If a law was unjust, however, it then was contradictory and should not be considered a law” (MLK). Martin Luther King Jr. stated, in his letter, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” King also says an unjust law is one that is forced upon a minority by a
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