Just and Unjust Laws: Should the Unjust Laws be Obeyed? Essay

Just and Unjust Laws: Should the Unjust Laws be Obeyed? Essay

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"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." Martin Luther King's words, which just correspond with the above assertion, perfectly tell us what to do in face of laws, either just or unjust.

To be sure, modern laws are made to express the general will, a will that aims at the common good. This means that laws in most cases intend to protect every social member’s rights under the principle of justice and fairness. For telling examples one need to look no further than American judicial system. The access to the two courts systems, one federal court and one state court, provides citizens with the greatest potential to have their legal problems resolved quickly and justly. Besides, the entire U.S. legal system depends upon the involvement and integrity of citizens in the roles of parties, witnesses, jurors, legal counsel and judges, making the legislation, judgment and enforcement respecting more citizens' will, which is probably based on various interests, so that laws can be as just as possible. Therefore, modern laws are in nature pursuing to treat and protect every individual in the society.

However, there once existed or exists certain unjust laws around the world. A number of ancient laws were made specially to protect the interests of the upper class, such as the King, the Pope and the aristocrats. Besides, it is also hard to rule out the possibility of modern laws being unjust for several reasons. Firstly, injustice is sometimes unavoidable, since it is difficult for legislator to take every situation and every possible result into account. Secondly, justice is a concept with relativity that different individual may view the sam...


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... whether it is just or unjust, it does not mean that we have no respect to laws. When disobeying laws, one must have higher purpose respecting the will of the mass. Gandhi and King both pointed out that they never advocated breaking laws on the sly for personal convenience, they attacked unjust laws at their own risk in order to improve the society. Accordingly, while admitting that it is reasonable and necessary to disobey unjust laws undermines the interests of the pubic, we should also recognize the value of laws, deeply respect it and behave strictly as the just laws. Otherwise, a society without the limitation of laws would undoubted come into disorder and chaos.

In conclusion, it is indeed every one’s responsibility to respect and obey just laws. But whether to disobey unjust laws calls for a prudent consideration about whether it is for any higher purpose.

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