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King - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Martin Luther King: Just and Unjust Laws. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr. distinguishes between just and unjust laws – those that are just on face value but unjust in application. King’s contention is based on his passionate denunciation of racial segregation, which persisted in the USA in spite of the U.S…
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Download file to see previous pages He addresses the anxiety of those who criticize his ‘direct action’ as illegal, by distinguishing between the “two types of laws: just and unjust” (King, 8). Individuals have the moral responsibility not only to obey just laws, but also to disobey unjust laws. King agrees “with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all”” (King, 8). He holds that a just law is one which is in accordance with morality, uplifts human personality and is equally applicable to the majority and the minority. King categorically asserts that “law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice” (King, 9). King’s position justifies government action which would be immoral from the perspective of an individual. A government is morally within its rights to strike back at any threat to national security, regardless of the geographical location of the perceived enemy. The government’s foremost duty is to ensure the security of its citizens and preserve the sovereignty of the nation. Although King’s “inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny” is based on the United States of his era, changing times and vast technological advances in communication and transport have made his position applicable on a global scale (King, 5). Actions in one part of the globe have instant repercussions on distant parts. The interconnectedness of global networks of terror justifies government strikes anywhere in the world. Such strikes cannot be construed as contravention of another nation’s sovereignty. The use of drones in Pakistan in making preemptive strikes against Al Quaeda is justified. Critics cite this as extreme action, but, as King asserts, being “extremists -- for the extension of justice” King, 11) is acceptable. This validates the Obama government’s action against Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. King acclaims “the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action” (King, 12). Governments can resort to extreme actions, resulting in the loss of lives, in the cause of national security. Government intervention in the cause of global justice is also justified. King strongly declares that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” King, 5). It is not possible to insulate America from the rest of the world. Although the role of a ‘global policeman’ may not be acceptable to everyone, responsibility cannot be shirked. Isolationism is a policy which belongs to the past. Intervention on humanitarian grounds, and on the grounds of protection of self-interest, is justified by King’s definition of justice. American intervention in Bosnia stopped the carnage which decimated the land. Again, intervention in Libya struck a blow for democracy. Of course, intervention carries great risks, as is clearly seen in the quagmire of Iraq. In the case of Syria, the escalating casualties call out for intervention. The government continues to restrict its action to the provision of humanitarian and logistical aid to the rebels. This stand is largely based on the perception that Assad is a secular ruler who holds back the surge of Islamic extremism in the Arab world. It is time to realize that, in King’s words, it is wrong “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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