Civil Disobedience Various Approaches of Socrates, King, Malcolm X

Essay by dutchmenpoocha123College, UndergraduateA, April 2008

download word file, 5 pages 4.6

Civil Disobedience is one of the most basic rights of every citizen that lives on this planet. It is through civil disobedience that citizens are able to vent their feelings against the government and able to enact changes that they feel are necessary for the wellbeing of the entire society. However there are many various approaches to civil disobedience as shown by Socrates in the Crito, by Martin Luther King Jr. in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail", and Malcolm X in his speech, "The Ballot or the Bullet". However in this paper I will show that Doctor Martin Luther King presents the most effective means of civil disobedience.

Socrates' approach to civil disobedience is one that preserves law and order in the society at all costs. Using Socrates as the representative from the Crito, he believes that the highest value in terms of the state is order and lawful organization.

The state is what makes it possible for justice to exist, and then upon that we can construct a more rational and just place. Socrates believes that stability plays very important factor in giving us a peaceful place to live. Thus he concludes that best type of activism in terms of civil disobedience is through persuasion and negotiation. When we 'work within the system" it is easier to preserve the status quo of the current system while attempting to bring about change. The reason Socrates feels this way is because Socrates has great love for his city, Athens, Socrates claims that "resisting evil by any means other than persuasion is evil" is an ancient statement of moral pacifism. Socrates rests its logical defense entirely upon an analogy. He says that a citizen stands in relation to the state as the child does to the parent, as the slave...