Unjust Laws In Civil Disobedience

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Civil disobedience is the deliberate action against an unjust law to invoke a positive change in government and society. Civilians have the right to refute these types of unjust laws to eliminate inequality and government’s unjust nature by following conscience before laws for moral guidance. As demonstrated in Antigone, this is depicted by the daughter of Oedipus, who disobeys Creon’s law for the greater good because of the laws unjust nature. In Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist, promotes this concept as well through his philosophical standpoint of the flaws of the government. Lastly, in Dr. King’s letter he qualifies the idea of civilians disobeying their government through non violent campaigns to stand up against …show more content…

Depending on the situation, and the law, civilians always have the right but there is a time for laws to be obeyed or rejected. For instance, Thoreau describes the machine of the government as injustice. He argues, when injustice has a link to the government one must consider the solution “to be the agent of injustice to… break the law” (Thoreau 9). Thoreau uses the analogy of the government being a strong machine of injustice to encourage people to purify the state by breaking laws. So, when citizens feel oppressed by the unjust nature of the government they will prevent unfair treatment. Therefore this explains the importance of challenging unjust laws to keep government on a small scale by civilians acting as the counter force to balance authority and prevent corruption. Dr. King also supports this when he describes two types of laws that determine when civil disobedience is needed and a responsibility. He advocates, “one has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws” and “a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” (King 2). Similar to Antigone she tells Creon about her defying acts, her moral duty and how the “final justice that rules the world below makes no such law” against morals that need to be refuted (Antigone 10). Dr. King and Sophocles both advocate the moral responsibility of …show more content…

King qualify the idea of being against the government when it becomes corrupted to guide humanity to a brighter path. Described by Thoreau, civilians are encouraged not to let governments overrule by putting morals ahead of unjust laws. If governments did overrule and people refuse to disobey, the outcomes of letting unjust laws exist would be worse than evil. Thus, civilians need to civilly disobedient during these situations when unjust laws exist but if people are too fearful to act “until they have persuaded the majority… the fault of the government itself” would create a remedy worse than evil (Thoreau 9). Unjust laws need to be transgressed by the citizens in order to create an enlightened state, one that recognizes the higher more independent power of an individual. Thus civilians are an important aspect of bringing this change and aiding their governments to bear good fruit. In addition, Thoreau argues that if people did follow the majority instead of following one's conscience then society will overall fall into chaos with a corrupted state. Therefore, Thoreau views government as the greatest form of evil that people are obligated to go against by rebelling to maintain integrity of the government. Similar to Thoreau's works that invoke ideas about the way government and society should be structured to bring a more enlightened state. Dr. King believes the need for extremists are a major player for this so called enlightened

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