Civil Disobedience

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Civil Disobedience History, as Karl Marx suggest, is defined by human suffering. When a man is oppressed, his natural recours is rebellion. Most ost restiance movements of the past incorporated violenve. Violence has been a mean to an end for centurys. Even today our lives are chronicled through violence and human suffering. However, a paradox ensues when revolutionaries use violence to free themselves from oppression, as a mean to an end. By replacing violence with violence, you are only contuining a destructive cycle that can in no way liberate everybody. It oppresses the oppressor and depresses the depressed. Martin Luther King jr. sought to remedy this unhealthy cycle by prescribing a new approach to rebellion. Not only did he inspire millions to resist their human condition, he did so without resorting to violence. Through his pragmatic and ethical approach to civil rights reform, Martin Luther became a revolutionary revolutionist. King believed that the problem with violence as a means of pursuing freedom is that revolutionaries must often employ means that threaten to subvert it therefore is illegitimate, and as Hanna Arendt states in On Revolution, “Violence has no intrinsic value, and on the human scale of relative values, will always lie beneath the human needs and interests that is serves.” Albert Camus states “Violence can only be an extreme limit which combats another form of violence, as, for example, in the case of insurrection” Both Arendt and Camus agree with King that Violence, although justifiable in extreme cases, can never be legitimate. King sought to legitimize the Civil Rights Movement by exhorting and adhering to a philosophy of non-violence grounded in morals and human ethics. When we hear the w... ... middle of paper ... ...amus’ Rieux in The Plague when he says: “I have no more than the pride that’s needed to keep me going. I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when all this ends. For the moment I know this. There are sick people and they need curing” King, like Rieux, was a healer; he sought to mend the wounds of society rather that create new ones. It is for this vision that I deem him the ideal rebel. Bibliography: WDWGFH- Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1967) WWCW- Why We Can’t We Wait (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1963) TC- The Trumpet of Conscience (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1967) GONV- Merton, Thomas Gandhi on Non-Violence (New York: New Directions, Publishers, 1965) Isaac, Jeffrey C. Arendt, Camus, and Modern Rebellion (Michigan: Yale University Press, Publishers, 1992)

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