Majority Rule And Power Essay, Research Paper
Majority Power vs. Justice
When looking at the Hagiographas of Martin Luther King Jr. in, A Letter From a Birmingham Jail and Henry David Thoreau in Civil Disobedience, one finds that each adult male takes a slightly different attack to presenting a message, but the messages are in fact similar, as both call for a drastic alteration to bulk regulation. Both work forces portion the desire for cosmopolitan justness and they feel bulk regulation prevents this, as excessively little of a figure of persons can do unfair Torahs that affect a big part of the population. Majority and minority are two footings that King and Thoreau use in their authorship & # 8217 ; s, but their definition of each differs somewhat. King sees himself as a portion of a minority in the fact that, him being black prevents him from holding equal rights under the Torahs of the United States of America. Thoreau sees himself as a minority because he does non hold a say as to the actions of the United States authorities that is suppose to stand for him and he is supposed to back up.
Both work forces call for action and usage themselves as a theoretical account for how to take action. The motivation for both Thoreau & # 8217 ; s and King & # 8217 ; s composing is based on race and how the United States authorities does non stand for all of its & # 8217 ; citizens. The issue of race is more at the head of King & # 8217 ; s authorship, while proper ( or improper ) representation by the authorities is more of the issue that Thoreau looks at, with race as a cardinal point. One of the few important differences in both work forces & # 8217 ; s try to carry the citizen & # 8217 ; s of the United States that their authorities does stand for all work forces, is the degree at which each protest. King & # 8217 ; s protest is grander in the signifier a big March, while Thoreau prefers to make his protesting on an single degree by non adhering to an unfair jurisprudence and declining to pay his revenue enhancements. Both work forces believe in accepting full duty for their action and all reverberations that come with their actions. This is apparent by the fact that both work forces spent clip in gaol for their actions. The subject of both plants is best summarized in Civil Disobedience, with Thoreau stating,
& # 8220 ; After all, the practical ground, why when the power is one time in of the people, a bulk is permitted, and for a long period allowed to go on to govern, is non the custodies because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. & # 8221 ; ( Thoreau, page 1 )
The end or ends of King & # 8217 ; s authorship is to: one, call for more action against the corrupt regulation of the bulk democracy and to: two, explain why and how he believes his actions will work, and why they are necessary for the rights of the minority. The chief job the King has with the bulk democracy is that they promote unfairness through unfair Torahs,
& # 8220 ; You express a great trade of anxiousness over our willingness to interrupt Torahs. This is surely a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court & # 8217 ; s determination of 1954 criminalizing segregation in public schools, it is instead unusual and self-contradictory to happen us consciously interrupting Torahs. One may inquire: & # 8220 ; How can you recommend interrupting some Torahs and obeying others? & # 8221 ; The reply is found in the fact that there are two types of Torahs: There are merely and there are unfair Torahs. I would hold with Saint Augustine & # 8220 ; An unfair jurisprudence is no jurisprudence at all & # 8221 ; .
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a jurisprudence is merely or unfair? A merely jurisprudence is a semisynthetic codification that squares with the moral jurisprudence or the jurisprudence of God. An unfair jurisprudence is a codification that is out of harmoniousness with the moral jurisprudence. To set it in the footings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unfair jurisprudence is a human jurisprudence that is rooted in ageless and natural jurisprudence. Any jurisprudence that uplifts human personality is merely. Any jurisprudence that degrades human personality is unjust. & # 8221 ; ( King, page 4 )
Harmonizing to King these unfair Torahs allow for non merely the minority to be kept from any kind of natural rights, but it besides allows for the bulk to remain in power. This is what alarms King as he knows that any group that is given power will normally take the necessary stairss to guarantee that they keep power, & # 8220 ; We know through painful experience that freedom is ne’er voluntarily given by the oppressor ; it must be demanded by the oppressed. & # 8221 ; ( King, page 3 )
King is besides concerned by the fact that majoritarian democracy can frequently present its will on the people under its regulation, coercing them to alter their issue on a peculiar issue. This can go on without the people even cognizing it and they shortly find themselves believing in something that they did non originally believe in, & # 8220 ; Persons may see the moral visible radiation and voluntarily give up their unfair position ; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals. & # 8221 ; ( King, page 3 )
King proposes that majoritarian democracy must be challenged through the actions of the minority. His belief in non-violence is cardinal to his method for opposing a majoritarian democracy.
& # 8220 ; In no sense do I recommend hedging or withstanding the jurisprudence as the rabid segregationalist would make. This would take to anarchy. One who breaks an unfair jurisprudence must make it openly, fondly, ( non hatefully as the white female parents did in New Orleans when they were seen on telecasting shriek
ing “nigger, nigga, nigger” ) and with a willingness to accept the punishment. I submit that an person who breaks a jurisprudence that scruples tells him is unfair, and volitionally accepts the punishment by remaining in gaol to elicit the scruples of the community over its unfairness, is in world showing the really highest regard for the law.” ( King, page 4 )
King believes that resistance to the bulk is the lone manner to obtain justness for all members of a society, and that this resistance, must come straight from the group being denied. This is an country where King and Thoreau differ slightly, as both believe in resistance, but Thoreau does so by himself, while King organizes a March of 1000s of people. This is slightly of an implicit in subject for both work forces in their authorship. King, despite being persecuted for his actions and deprived of civil rights still has hope for the United States coming together as a whole,
& # 8220 ; Let us trust that the dark clouds of racial bias base on balls off and the deep fog of misinterpretation will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities and in some non excessively distant tomorrow the beaming stars of love and brotherhood will reflect over our great state with all their scintillating beauty. & # 8221 ; ( King, page 10 )
Thoreau does non portion the same enthusiasm for the United States as state stating,
However, the authorities does non concern me much, and I shall confer the fewest possible ideas on it. It is non many minutes that I live under a authorities, even in this universe. If a adult male is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination free, that which is ne’er a long clip looking to be him, unwise swayers or reformists can non fatally interrupt him. & # 8221 ; ( Thoreau, page 10 )
This exemplifies Thoreau & # 8217 ; s inclinations to be breakaway when faced with following the regulation of an unfair state. Although King and Thoreau agree on many facets of democracy and minority power, their hope for the authorities of the United States is non the same.
Thoreau & # 8217 ; s chief contention with the authorities of the United States is that it should non be able to coerce its & # 8217 ; Torahs on the people of a state, particularly when many of the patterns do non recommend democracy. This is the ground why Thoreau wrote Civil Disobedience, as it is a protest to the bondage patterns in the United States and a protest of the purposes of the Mexican-American war. Thoreau does non believe that a authorities with these patterns is capable of governing him or his fellow citizens,
& # 8220 ; How does it go a adult male to act toward the American authorities today? I answer, that he can non without shame be associated with it. I can non for an instant recognize that political organisation as my authorities which is the slave & # 8217 ; s authorities also. & # 8221 ; ( Thoreau, page 5 )
The belief that the authorities has incorrect purposes, leads Thoreau to surmise that many of the Torahs in topographic point are unfair Torahs and he should non hold to follow them, & # 8220 ; Unjust Torahs exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavour to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we offend them at one time? ( Thoreau, page 4 )
Like King, Thoreau proposes a rebellion against the unfair Torahs of the United States. Thoreau believes that the cardinal issue in the rebellion against the authorities should be the forced regulations on its citizens when those regulations are unfair. He besides seems to believe that many people have been kind of brainwashed into believing that they live in a great democracy, when in fact the United States has a figure of important defects, viz. bondage.
Thoreau believes that a individual should presume all effects under the jurisprudence if they are to revolt and that this will hopefully take to alter. He preaches direct rebellion against the authorities and its & # 8217 ; patterns,
I do non waver to state, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at one time effectually withdraw their support, both in individual and belongings, froth the authorities of Massachusetts, and non wait boulder clay they constitute a bulk of one, before they suffer the right to predominate through them. I think that it is adequate if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Furthermore, any adult male more right than his neighbours constitutes a bulk of one already. & # 8221 ; ( Thoreau, page 5 )
Although Thoreau does endorse up his words with his actions, much of his energy is spent stating society that they are populating in an unfair democracy instead than taking them towards a alteration. Thoreau & # 8217 ; s actions do non take away from his words in anyhow, but he does non portion the same leading as King. Thoreau was a really passionate adult male and his thoughts and observations were highly intelligent and accurate. However, his desire to populate in purdah and non take on a larger function is where he and King differ and.
Despite elusive differences, both work forces can be looked at as the most prevailing talkers on justness of their several times. They both call for a alteration to the position quo and they are directing a wakeup call to all those who read their literature. Their techniques may really slightly, but their motivations are the same as they both hope to fade out bulk power through minority action, & # 8220 ; It is non desirable to cultivate a regard for the jurisprudence, so much as for the right. & # 8221 ; ( Thoreau, page1 )