Social and cultural matters also allow for unjust laws to be violated. Submitting opinions supporting this statement, Mary Wollstonecraft, an advocate for women’s rights of the 18th century, presents that a major barrier for women is education in “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” (Doc 2). This key instrument that was unequal for women is discriminatory and disrupts the flow for a utopian society. Prohibition of gaining uniform degrees of knowledge is not only a rift in expanding the growth of the economy, but also hinders the reputation of society. Wollstonecraft adds a great amount of imagery and uses strong diction as she depicts the confinement of women in this wrongful society, comparing them to creatures trapped in a cage, which is the degradation forced onto the gender by men who consider themselves superior, both by the law and moral values (Doc 2).
The feminist relays that many opinions and positions of society can drastically change with a basic right presented to them, which is education. For, in society, the assignment of women was to stay at home as a housewife, entertaining themselves with listless activities that prevent them from gaining independent rights, creating a prison for the gender (Doc 2). They are not just flowers symbolizing weakness and pleasure to be adored by the naked eye of men, but a potential improvement to society, if only these unjust burdens were to be lifted from their consciousness and dreams. Moreover, the theory of ignorance regarding socioeconomic statuses is promoted in “A Theory of Justice” by John Rawls, written in 1971 (Doc 6). A system of fairness, he presents, is what society needs, and this will be done through installing a veil of ignorance over the perception of the people (Doc 6).
Justice is a key concept that should dominate and guide the lives of everyone, and through these principles, the citizens will be able to differentiate between what is just and unjust and act accordingly. Rawls believes that social justice has the ability to determine one’s freedom and accessibility to provisions in life such as quality of education and property. These especially affect those of the lower class, so unjust laws must be destroyed or modified to ensure the equality for all people (Doc 6). Although money and social statuses separate the people in certain aspects, social contracts benefiting only those of higher classes should be broken, allowing advantages for certain groups to be eliminated. Furthermore, Martin Luther King Jr. supports the violation of unjust laws in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (Doc 7). Using syllogism and pathos, Dr. King lists the offenses brought upon his people, leading into his conclusion that the African Americans can no longer await for society to alter its views to accept them. He writes emotionally with a sermon-like quality as he mentions how segregation is depriving the people’s happiness and human respect, also bringing in black children into the picture to relate to the general public, especially parents, who may access his writings. The presence of an antithesis is also present in his work, emphasizing that what is considered right legally is not always right morally. Civil disobedience, he writes, is the direction that he and the protestors will take in order to fulfill their responsibility of disobeying unjustness (Doc 7). Dr. King supports the idea by incorporating allusions to historical events relating to social and cultural injustices such as the story of the refusal of three men from Babylon to bow down to an idol,
as ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar (Doc 7). As black people had struggled to gain more rights, climbing up the steep stairs to reach the height of equality, they have become engaged in a world where their dignity in cultural and social aspects could not be shown proudly. Although acceptance of a societal change is difficult to embrace, it is work needed to be done by all men and women for everyone is and should be guaranteed equality under laws of sameness. In the Harvard Case Method titled “Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Black Voting Rights,” the discussion of discrimination of African Americans from Jim Crow laws arises. Jim Crow laws were a series of regulations prohibiting blacks from participating or accessing certain social facilities or separating them from white people. These included seating arrangements on public transportation, separate bathrooms, and separate schools. With the notion that Jim Crow laws addressed fairness but not integration, white supremacy advocates continued to push the unjust laws, being careful to avoid violating the federal laws in crafty ways. Martin Luther King Jr., a black minister and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, emphasized greatly on protesting this unjustness through peaceful tactics like mass campaigns and sit-in movements. His doctrines attracted national attention and proved numerous times to be successful, for he and his supporters took methods to oppose injustice in ways that the public had not experienced before. When the people of a minority are denied the right to express themselves, it is a transgression of the idea that all people are created equal and with the possession of natural rights to speak freely. In such cases, as Dr. King demonstrated in the 1960s, unjust laws should and can be defied and altered through nonviolent strategies. To conclude, when such unjust and unequal treatment in societal and cultural issues is thrust towards a bright population composed of equal humans, breaking the social contract provides a powerful argument.
Given these points, not all laws must be heeded, for there are instances when violations are appropriate. Although there are reasons concerned with safety and security to heed unjust laws, the political and the social/cultural justifications to break the social contract provide a more compelling argument to break unjust laws. Ensuring the natural and human rights of all people should be prioritized over fearing the consequences of disobeying laws promoting injustice. As proved by many philosophers and intellectuals such as Hobbes, Jefferson, Stanton, and King, breaking the social contract is necessary to provide endorsements and amendments in the regulations and roles of all men and women in society.