Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience - The King's Speech Analysis

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Sewanee University of the South
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The text from the transcript contains the concept of revolution and its moral justifications. Martin Luther Jr. explains the philosophical principles that affected the student movement in the context. The student movement was fighting against racial discrimination. The movement was mainly concerned with freedom for blacks. They needed to attend the same institutions and enjoy the same privileges as the whites. But the kings speech is more about the significance of non-violent movements. The King believed in equality and fighting for freedom, but also advocated for non-violent techniques.

The King starts by airing the discrimination on people of color that existed in the south. The blacks had begun assessing their self-worth. Instead of leading a quietly despised life, the blacks yearned for freedom and a decent living like the whites had. The only available option was to demand equality through mass movements. Martin gave ways to fight racial discrimination or any oppression. The first way is to accept and succumb to the oppression which in the end changes nothing. The second way to fight oppression is by using violence to resist. The king concludes that this type of resistance ends causing more problems instead of figuring them out. The third way which Martin advocates for is the non-violent resistance. The non-violent technique was the only one used by the students in the south.

Martin Luther starts with the fundamental principles that pushed for the campaign and fight for equality. The king states the first law saying that the way to be deployed in acquiring something should be as pure as the result. The principle is the most significant concerning the non-violence struggle for equality. The King states that the end exemplifies the means used. The meaning of this is that violence and immoral destruction cannot finish in moral and constructive results (Blaisdell 123). The doctrine of non-violent opposition ensures rational thinking and moral consideration.

Another principle given in the speech is that of non-injury. All those involved in this movement are expected to abide by this doctrine. The students are not supposed to cause harm to others. They are to refrain from any violence whether physical or verbal. Due to this principle, the moral principle of love exists in in-between the non-violent resistance. The king goes ahead to explain that this type of love knows no limits. He gives reference to the Greek language. According to the Greeks, love is aesthetic, can be reciprocated and binds people from different backgrounds creating friendly relationships. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart (Blaisdell 124). Gods love does not discriminate. God did create all people to be like him.

The speech calls for the oppressed to obey the moral laws. Martin describes that there are just and unjust laws. He defines just laws as those that fit moral laws. Just laws uplift human decency. On the other hand, unjust laws do not align with moral laws. Unjust laws do not square with Gods legislation because they demean other human beings (Blaisdell 126). The king has a different understanding for the non-believers. He says that unjust laws apply to the minority because the majority mostly push for such laws. An example is that the blacks were not allowed to vote back then. They were not included in creating such laws which were unjust. The King states that people have the mental ability to change and it is this thought that the rule about the people being non-cooperative with wickedness is a responsibility just as cooperation with good. The King says that those who indulge in defying civil laws are aware of unfair laws and they face the consequences because they hope that such laws change. Those who face punishment know that if they endure undeserving suffering, then they can help change the social injustice through redemption (Blaisdell 135). The moral perspective in this is that even Christians also got persecuted for the right they believed. The oppressed think that if they endure suffering without resisting back violently, then the majority might sympathize with them. They also know that they are better off if the majority is reacting to their oppression instead of their violent resistance. Another principle arises from this scheme, and it states that people have the mental ability to do good. Its true that not all people do right or are interested in stomping evil in our society. But the King says that it got imprinted in our human nature. Everyone understands right and wrong, but it is up to one to pick the right one. Everyone has the potential to do the right thing.

In conclusion, the King had an objective to change the unjust laws that governed the American society. He planned non-violent movements and explained to the students about the purpose of the campaigns. His actions as he explicated, were civil disobedience but his aim was to appeal for freedom and equality to all races. The student movement used a non-violent approach and endured suffering to acquire freedom and justice.

Works Cited

Blaisdell, B. (2016). Essays on Civil Disobedience (1st ed., pp. 121-131). New York, UNITED STATES: Dover Publications.

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