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Justice - Essay Example

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Justice and Civil Disobedience By definition, justice can either mean the quality of being fair or reasonable, or the administrating or maintaining the law. However, every person has a different view of what justice is based on their own experience, referring to the workings of the government as the main example…
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Download file to see previous pages... Even though many people do not agree with how the government upholds justice, the government is still there to make sure that justice is kept. In his Civil Disobedience essay, Henry David Thoreau points out how pointless the government is. It is useless and the only reason that it has power is because it is treated strong, and not because they have the most legal point of view. Thoreau goes on to say that the government likes to do what is easiest instead of what is right; as such, Thoreau believes that if what the government is unjust, the people that should be doing the right thing should not follow the whims of the government. “A person is not obligated to devote his life to eliminating evils from the world, but he is obligated not to participate in such evils (Thoreau).” The purpose of this essay was to make it known that the government gets its power from us and that it does with that power whatever it decides to, even if it may not always be right. Thoreau made a few good points, but his actions in regard to how he felt about the government and its keeping of justice only showed why the government existed in the first place. In response to the approval of slavery, Thoreau protested by not paying his taxes and ended up spending a night in jail. While protesting may have seemed like a good idea at the time, all he proved was that the government was keeping justice as it should by punishing criminals refusing to obey the law. The government may not always be fair, and they may have their own agenda, but they still try to make sure that people are punished properly. On the other hand, Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, wrote about the purpose of his own protest against the government. Upset by the racial segregation in the United States, King led a nonviolent protest. However, he was arrested, being told that protesting against racial segregation should be saved for the courtroom and not for the streets. King states that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws (King).” In this way, the government did act in an unjust way, punishing somebody that was not doing anything bad or against the law. Legally, King was allowed to have a peaceful protest and the police did not have the right to arrest him. They wanted to put an end to something that was making them look bad, even if it was true. All the same, the government was acting in a way that they thought was proper to avoid causing more problems between King and his enemies. John Rawls took a different view on justice and civil disobedience. He believed that everybody should be allowed to “have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others (Rawls).” Rawls felt that if everyone had the same liberties, there would be no need for injustice or civil disobedience. This could make things easier for the government, but it would not give people the chance to exercise their right to protest. Rawls’ views continued to state that everything should be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution would be the best for those least favored. These ideas would allow the government to completely avoid any trouble that might make them look bad by not letting people have all of their freedom. At the same time, the government is doing what it can to make sure that people do not act in ways that they should not. On the other side of the argument, Cicero, in The Defense ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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