Civil Disobedience Various Approaches Of Socrates, King, Malcolm X

1305 words - 5 pages

Civil Disobedience is one of the most basic rights of every citizen that lives on this planet. It is through civil disobedience that citizens are able to vent their feelings against the government and able to enact changes that they feel are necessary for the wellbeing of the entire society. However there are many various approaches to civil disobedience as shown by Socrates in the Crito, by Martin Luther King Jr. in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail", and Malcolm X in his speech, "The Ballot or the Bullet". However in this paper I will show that Doctor Martin Luther King presents the most effective means of civil disobedience.Socrates' approach to civil disobedience is one that preserves law and order in the society at all costs. Using Socrates as the representative from the Crito, he believes that the highest value in terms of the state is order and lawful organization. The state is what makes it possible for justice to exist, and then upon that we can construct a more rational and just place. Socrates believes that stability plays very important factor in giving us a peaceful place to live. Thus he concludes that best type of activism in terms of civil disobedience is through persuasion and negotiation. When we 'work within the system" it is easier to preserve the status quo of the current system while attempting to bring about change. The reason Socrates feels this way is because Socrates has great love for his city, Athens, Socrates claims that "resisting evil by any means other than persuasion is evil" is an ancient statement of moral pacifism. Socrates rests its logical defense entirely upon an analogy. He says that a citizen stands in relation to the state as the child does to the parent, as the slave does to his master. He says that the state has "brought him into the world (by regulating marriage), nurtured and educated him" (51d). Socrates says that he is the offspring and slave of the state and has no right to "destroy" the state by failing to obey it (50e) after it has been so beneficial to him.Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest black civil rights leaders this world has ever seen and his approach to civil disobedience was classified as non-violent direct action. Through non-violent direct action Martin Luther King believed that much progress can be made. In his world-famous letter "Letter from Birmingham Jail", he writes that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," And further down the letter Martin Luther King outlines "the four basic steps in any non-violent campaign. The first step is 'Investigation", this is done in order to show whether injustice exists and to gather all the evidence. The next step is "Negotiation"; this is done in hopes of avoiding any direct action at all by negotiating with the opposing parties to see whether an agreement can be reached. If no agreement is reached then the third step is, "Self-Purification", before any course of action is taken one must self-examine him/her self to...

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