Is Every Unjust Law An Appropriate Target For Civil Disobedience – Essay Example
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Is Every Unjust Law an Appropriate Target for Civil Disobedience?
The concern of the society for balance and peace springs from the horrors of anarchy. The mere thought of uncertainty in our lives forces us to strive in order to preserve the status quo. For this reason any struggle against established order is abhorred by the civilized faction of any society.
There have been leaders who have refused to believe in notions of balance and calmness of the society in the face of any unlawful action or set of actions perpetuated by the state. They have struggled against the established order and had chosen disobedience over docility in their times. Martin Luther King Jr. is one such leader. He regarded civil disobedience necessary against the unjust laws and he considered this a moral obligation (King, 1963). He justified his stance by saying that it is the beauty of democracy that it allows such civil disobedience movements against unjust laws upheld by the state.
I believe that as a principle we cannot allow anarchy to disrupt the established order. Although sometimes such actions are necessary as they were at King’s time but we cannot grant chaos to govern the lives of the people, as a principle. Individual cases might be looked upon differently but unjust laws cannot be used as a rationale for civil disobedience because the balance of society will be destroyed.
Utilitarianism guides me in this case. The maximum good of the maximum people should always guide our actions (Mill, 1863). In case of allowing civil disobedience we will allow everyone who feels that the laws are unjust to cause havoc in the society. Therefore the maximum good of the maximum number should be safeguarded and civil disobedience should not be considered a rational option against any unjust law.
King, Martin Luther Jr. (1963). Letter from Birmingham Jail. Original Text. Bates College. Retrieved from http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html
Mill, John, Stuart. (1863). Utilitarianism. In S. Cahn (Ed.). Exploring Ethics: An Introductory Anthology. New York: Oxford University Press.