Just And Unjust Law Analysis

Good Essays
The prompt for King’s letter goal is to compare and contrast Letter from a Birmingham Jail and Handbook of Epictetus. One section of King’s letter dealt with the issue of just and unjust laws and how direct action would effect the outcome. King and Epictetus had two different ways of dealing with unjust laws and the effect of them on an individual person. Their thoughts are similar but not similar enough that one could come to the conclusion that they would both agree. Even though they would not be able to agree, both of their solutions can be used together to form a peaceful solution. King’s views is ultimately the correct and appropriate way of dealing with the problem of just and unjust laws, also King’s way is the most moral. In the argument King is expressing his thoughts about the just and unjust laws, also he goes into detail on how one should handle breaking an unjust law. He begins by explaining how the just laws follows …show more content…
In order for a community to prosper as a whole the laws must be just and moral. Epictetus is saying the people should change their mindset and outlook on the law, but if they keep changing themselves then the person is being unfair to themselves. King states “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust” (Letter from Birmingham Jail). That statement alone creates an objection to Epictetus saying that a person should change their outlook on a law. Why should one change who they are to fit the image of what someone else wants them to be? The reason for King’s movement was for the minority group to be respect for the people they are not for what everyone else wanted them to be. Therefore, King’s way is the correct way to go because his way provides equality to for the community. Epictetus is only keeping things the same and forcing the people who a treated unfairly to deal with the unjust

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    He practiced this idea when he did not receive the right to legal protests. He accepted the consequences and served time in jail. King distinguished between a just law and an unjust law. Martin Luther King explained that "an unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law." Just laws are morally correct and King advocates following these laws.…

    • 837 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Additionally, civil disobedience may be set aside as the pis aller but this would defer justice and consequently form a bigger issue (Lefkowitz 212). Furthermore, although a person has a responsibility to follow state laws in exchange for experiencing the advantages of residing in that state, such a convention does not include unfair laws as they are proscribed. Lastly, civil disobedience may counteract the greater iniquity of repression thus it is a public benefit in such instances (Olsen 220). There is nothing to lose with civil disobedience because if the majority opinion is not changed by civil disobedience, justice and stability remains sustained. However, civil disobedience strengthens the possibility of improvement.…

    • 1009 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This is because it is based on what the reasonable man finds acceptable for a community to tolerate. With this theory of how morality comes about would allow prejudice and disdain to run our society. Dworkin argues a different way of determining what is immoral for society and believes that emotion is not the way to run our society. Justification beyond what is acceptable for the community is how Dworkin argues how deciding what immorality is should come about. These justifications cannot come from prejudice.…

    • 1204 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Regardless of this, people still possess different interpretations of what is just and unjust, thus not everyone can be satisfied with the laws. Nonetheless, creating just laws is the primary objective of the state, because this ensures that the rules of society are mandated ethically with regards to citizen rights. On the contrary, unjust laws wrongfully harms citizen rights and contradict the purpose of laws to benefit and protect citizens’.…

    • 1105 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Like moderation versus extremism, the morality of honesty would normally be preferred in ordinary circumstances in order to achieve the good life. In this case we see immoral acts such as stealing and lying to ultimately lead to the moral behaviors of unity, and comfort. It is not ideal to break from traditional actions that have worked well to gain the good life in the past, however due…

    • 898 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In other words, the freedom of all citizens is being questioned. Dr. King had hoped that “the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice” (189), and not for creating unjust laws. Dr. King wanted to awaken the conscience of the community by exposing laws that are “morally wrong” so that the people are aware of these actions. He declares that the one who respects the law actually “breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail” (193). Meaning, disobeying the law is justified if conscience was the reasoning behind the action.…

    • 703 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Locke does not hide his distrust with masses as he believes that it is much better to put the power in the hands of a small group or individual rather than the whole community. He was also of the opinion that if people are given too much freedom of choice when it comes to religion, it will only create destruction, and chaos. Thus, the magistrate should do their best to ensure peace between people and to protect public good. Naturally, they should abide to the rules themselves, be orderly and decent, and not be motivated by private interest but conversely, by the nation's good. Overstepping some boundaries to ensure the peace within the nation, is acceptable as there has to be some great, ruling power.…

    • 1166 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Once a person finds an unjust law and breaks it, they must “accept the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice…” (King 384). Being punished for a crime, despite being morally innocent, is important for one’s own sense of justice. It is better to receive a punishment than to admit lies that one has not done, otherwise there is no point; therefore, hypocrisy. Thoreau argues that it is important for a person to be aware of unjust laws by thinking for one’s self, and King states that a person must be ready to accept punishment. A person must not blindly obey a law simply because it is from their government, and they must be willing to receive the punishment that is…

    • 853 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    My reasons as to why share some similarities to those of Kings but has other cases in which it would be justified in breaking the law. my claim is that people should only break unjust laws. Those unjust law are defined as any laws put in place to exploit, assimilate and or change in any form those who are marginalized and minorities within society. My argument in support is that each person has the right to their differences as long as it does not impede on the lives of others and should be able to practice and or live the life they please. In support of my argument, everyone should be able to live their lives to their full potential without any interference.…

    • 1780 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It is understandable that he felt he had no choice but to defy the law. He had real and reasonable concern and suspicion that the new plant would be more harm than good. It is government’s responsibility to submit to the will of the people, not the other way around. When this concept is not followed, it is not the “criminal” to blame but the out-of-line government who forced his…

    • 1023 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays