Like Martin Luther King Jr once said “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” With these words in mind, I affirm the resolution resolved: Civil disobedience in a democracy is morally justified. I offer the following definitions to help clarify the round: Civil disobedience is nonviolent refusal to follow the laws or demands of government to prove a point and the person participating in civil disobedience has to accept the consequences. A democracy is a government by the people, where the people elect representatives or the leader. Not everyone has to vote in a democracy but, the leaders or representatives have to be decided by the majority of eligible voters.
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. "-Socrates. Peaceful resistance to laws positively impacts a free society because the society is not free unless it's able to check the government. As long as the protest of the law remains peaceful it is a good thing. It is the public telling the government that they will not let them gain to much power and crush their human rights.
Civil disobedience has been discerned in numerous time periods of American history. The definition of disobedience can be interpreted when one or a group prioritizes their conscience of their beliefs over the dictation of laws through rebellion. Notable historical events of slavery and independence has been marked with the disobedience of government laws. Even though the disobedience of societal laws can undermine the corruption of the government, disobedience has undeniably steer societal progress. A form of civil disobedience was the fight for independence of the colonies in the American Revolution.
Civil Disobedience What is civil disobedience? What does it do? Why is it important? Is it a right thing? These few questions might pop into one 's head when they hear civil disobedience.
In a country as abstract and diverse as the United States, many decide to be unique individuals and go against the natural way of a citizen. We know these acts as Civil Disobedience. In the many acts of Civil Disobedience, people go against the basic laws of their country peacefully and accept the consequences for the actions that they commit. Civil Disobedience is strongly frowned upon and negatively impacts a free society because it tells people that they can deliberately break the laws that make us the United States of America, it gives a great hindrance to the many citizens trying to live freely by following the rules, and it could start a mini revolt on the country. Civil disobedience tells people that they can absentmindedly break the
People's justification to engage in civil disobedience rests on the unresponsiveness that their engagement to oppose an unjust law receives. People who yearn for a change in a policy might sometimes find themselves in a dead end because their “attempts to have the laws repealed have been ignored and legal protests and demonstrations have had no success” (Rawls 373). What Rawls says is that civil disobedience is a last option to oppose an unjust law; therefore, providing civil disobedients with a justification for their cause. Civil disobedience is the spark of light that people encountered at the dead end and they hope that this spark of light will illuminate to show that an unjust law should not exist at all. Martin Luther King, Jr, in his “Letter from
John Locke asserted that government must come from the consent of the governed. The Declaration of Independence professed the right of all people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution cemented the paramount prominence of general welfare for all United States citizens. Since our beginning, we the people have been a characteristically empathetic majority. But we have not always been a beacon of equality: the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the Stonewall Riots, and even current conflicts between the police force and black Americans exemplify the occasional rift between the government and the governed.
Civil Disobedience: Righting the Wrong The foundation of civil disobedience is rooted in the concept of moral principal. When existing laws or accepted social behavior are viewed as being unjust, discriminatory or otherwise considered to be morally unfair, many citizens are compelled to take action in an effort to affect change. In 1849 Thoreau wrote about civil disobedience in his work titled On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Thoreau believed that a government with too much control minimizes the ability of the people to exercise their own judgment. He claims, “That government is best which governs least.”
Although laws are put in place to protect the citizens on which it is enforced, no system of government is perfect. There are times in which laws are passed that have a controversial effect on society, be it the segregation of race or religion, or the NSA spying on US citizens. Based on this, it can be concluded that civil disobedience is a peaceful way to express the unjustness of a law in hopes of change. Rosa Parks is an excellent example of civil disobedience having a positive impact on society. After peacefully violating the Jim Crow law that enforced segregation, Parks was arrested in order to raise discourse on the treatment of African Americans in American society.
I consider civil disobedience to be an easily-ignored pillar upon which our democracy was founded. In fact we are only established as a nation now because our founding fathers engaged in civil disobedience themselves. We were in a “social contract” of sorts with Great Britain and when we felt that they had not upheld their part of the contract (they did not allow us to create courts to maintain order, or to create a navy to defend ourselves, or to sustain our economy due to an inability to trade with any other countries), Thomas Jefferson concluded that it was our not only our right, but also our duty to break away. And it was Thomas Jefferson that combined all of the works of the great thinkers before him such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke
If American people in the past had not participated in peaceful resistance, the United States would not be the same nation as it is today. Many people argue that because the United States took so long to be created, public defiance to laws should not be encouraged. However, civil disobedience to laws often positively affects the free society in many ways. Not only has this changed the United States in the past, but even now allows for people to peacefully protest for what they think is right. Civil disobedience encourages the voice of the people to be heard: for it to be acted upon.
Peaceful resistance with civil disobedience has played a huge role in shaping a free society throughout our history, and not just our history as Americans either. There has been many successful peaceful resistance throughout world history. Many forms of this such as, marches,parades,sit-ins,protests,boycotting and even speeches, have positively impacted or changed a free society. I can't talk about civil disobedience or peaceful resistance without talking about one of the most famous civil disobedience leaders, Martin Luther King Jr., from 1954-1968 the civil rights movement was in effect in the United States. Martin Luther King was a major person during this time.