1.How do we choose which laws are just and which ones are not?

Question Description

Civil Disobedience

These discussion boards have been designed to explore controversial topics. Often these debates have the potential to become heated.  In the act of creating ideas, heat can be a good thing, but not at the expense of hurt feelings or frustration.  Remember that any argument asks that we change something about ourselves.  If we are asking our readers to change, we need to be civil about it. Likewise, when we are challenged by others with a different opinion, we need to keep an open mind. Remember, we are not changing the world here, only examining it. 

Some important rules to follow: 

  1. You may not attack other people or their ideas in this course.  To do so may result in failure of the assignment. You may, however, disagree with the ideas of others, but do so in a constructive manner. (e.g. "I don't agree with your post.  I think instead that . . . " NOT "That's a dumb way of looking at this."  Debate in academia is important, but let's all be adults here. 
  2. Ask open-ended questions (e. g. "What if we thought about things this way?"), and avoid making statements meant to be absolute or closed-ended questions ("There is no other way to think about this," or "Do you agree with me?").
  3. Remember to consider the lessons we've worked on throughout the rest of the class.  Rather than simply reacting to the readings and the responses of your classmates, think about the arguments being made. Really consider the effectiveness of these arguments. 

Go to the resources tab and use the EBSCOhost link to search for the following articles, then, using the questions below as a guide, write a 75-100 word response about the issue being discussed. Next, please take the time to respond to your classmates.


Go to the resources tab and use the EBSCOhost link to search for the following articles:

  1. King, M. (2009). Letter from Birmingham Jail. Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1.
  2. Kim, R. (2011). The audacity of Occupy Wall Street. Nation293(21), 15-21.


In his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (1963), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist, claims that "one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws" (King, Jr., 1963, p. 5). These sentiments have been shared by some of the most recognizable names throughout history, including America's forefathers, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and so on. Dr. King, as well as other from our list, were practicing civil disobedience.

Civil disobedience does not advocate a lawless society. Civil ddisobedience is not the same as someone simply breaking the law.  Civil disobedience is an organized process of law breaking that follows very strict guidelines:

  • Conscientiousness generally aimed at creating or restoring a certain freedom or liberty for all members of that society,
  • communication with the governing body,
  • publicity,
  • and non-violence. 

Practitioners of civil disobedience. more often than not, take aim at laws considered to be unjust.  

  1. How do we choose which laws are just and which ones are not?
  2. What laws do you see that seem to fit the model of what King would call unjust? 

King goes on to explain that those who are "more devoted to 'order' than to justice" were the real enemy of his movement toward civil rights (p. 7).  To do nothing, King implies, is to err on the side of the status quo. Think of some unjust things you have witnessed, yet failed to act on. 

  1. Had you acted on it alone, would your involvement have changed anything?
  2. What if we all reacted too swiftly and jointly to matters of injustice?
  3. How does the act of exercising of our first amendment rights, especially when we work together, help to shape the world we live in? 
  4. How did the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) use civil disobedience to further its cause?
  5. Considering the outcomes associated with the OWS Movement, could we claim that the days of effective civil disobedience are over?

Final Answer

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