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Breaking The Law Or Civil Desobedience

2220 words - 9 pages

History has spoken. The words of the weak started it. Their actions proved it. Disobeying a law is a crime that the offender should be willing to take the punishment for and let his sacrifice be used as a point to rally around to create a just, moral change. Whenever a law is deemed unjust, there is good reason for breaking it to achieve justice. Civil Disobedience will never be legal and those who employ it should be willing to accept the penalty that comes with breaking a law. It has been shown through historic cases, modern examples, and the core values of a democratic society that show Civil Disobedience not only works, but should be used as a tool to demonstrate the moral objectives that are being sought. Considering some laws are unjust and in contradiction with the core beliefs of society, there are certain times when breaking a law is reasonable, but it is by no means encouraged and should be done at the law breakers own risk.
Civil Disobedience is when one breaks the law to prove a point or bring about a potential moral change. This can include just changing the way society thinks about a certain subject. Throughout history, Civil Disobedience has been effectively used to bring about drastic change in not only the way people think, but also their actions. It was Henry David Thoreau who coined the term in the 1848 because he did not believe he should pay taxes that went to the war against Mexico or supporting the Fugitive Slave Law, both of which he saw as immoral. A key factor in Civil Disobedience is that the offender should generally be willing to accept the punishment for it, as it shows how they still have respect for the authority; the priority is simply change (“Civil Disobedience”).
One of the main aspects of Civil Disobedience is utilizing it to combat laws that are unjust. The goal is to achieve moral equilibrium. Martin Luther King Jr. clarifies when he says “A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law.” He goes on to say that there are times when a law is a good law on the outside, but when it is put into practice it then becomes an unjust when it is used against a minority group while the rest of society does not have to follow it the same way. For example, the law King Jr. broke to get into Birmingham Jail was a law against parading, that one has to have a permit to do so. He argues that it is unjust because it was used to stifle the blacks’ first amendment right to free speech and public protest (King). Another popular theory about Civil Disobedience is that in today’s society it no longer applies because government does not pass laws that are in violation of human rights. In most cases this would mean there is no longer justification for the breaking of any law, but to the contrary there are still many laws passed without adequate approval from society and therefore have no real power in a Democracy. These laws are then...

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