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Is it ever justifiable for protesters and activists to break the law for the sake of their cause?

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  • People should always .....ALWAYS...Follow the law

    No matter what there is no reason to break the law....Even during protests...Anything can be settled in a fair way .... No violence included
    breaking laws is not only on you but can also effect everyone around you ..... So think about everyone when you about to do something stupid

  • Ever is a long time, and those who say no think we should still be a Colony under rule of the Crown.

    The founding fathers were commiting treason. They had tried other avenues first, and had been ignored. They felt it their duty to rebel against immoral and injust laws. Let's pretend a law is passed that tells cops to go shoot any kids with genetic abnormalities. I would hope that they would unanimously reject said hypothetical law.

    Should this happen all the time? Of course not! Cop killings over cases like Michael Brown etc aren't justified any more than the KKK was trying to defend their view with lynchings. Disregarding the law should be undertaken with as moral a stance as possible in order to uphold the underpinnings of society and prevent descent into anarchy.

  • Lex iniusta non est lex: an unjust law is no law at all

    When a law is made that infringes on human rights, or breaks international law; e.g. the universal deceleration on human rights; the resisting of said law should be permissible...

    If, for example, a state introduces a bill banning peaceful protests and giving the police the power to unilaterally arrest their participants.... Most democratic countries acknowledge the right to resist unlawful arrest, and many cultures contend that a unjust law should not be binding....
    Lex iniusta non est lex: an unjust law is no law at all

    This is related to the right to revolution-an important part of many cultures, and is quintessential to any state that claims itself to be democratic...
    The United State's declaration of independence explicitly states (in reference to human rights), "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it"

    All that being said... A line must be drawn between benign, victimless, civil disobedience; and malignant, harmful crimes... If, in the breaking of the law, people are harmed, or even injured or killed, the issue becomes much more contentious and difficult to justify
    'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter'

    In conclusion, I contend that protesters and activists can be justified in breaking the law; and moreover, it should be permitted and even encouraged in instances where their rights or the rights of others are being infringed...
    Civil disobedience has been behind many of the most important socio political changes in history...
    As dangerous a line it is to walk, 'Crime' can be a tool for good, as well as evil...

  • Yes for the sake of justice you could break a law.

    For example martin Luther King Jr, the black people were protesting against the law, to get their civil rights. During 1970s, tens of thousands of peolpe broke the law to protest U.S. war in Vietnam, occupying government property, refusing to pay taxes that would support the war, and trespassing on the private property of companies that made military weapons.

  • Yes for the sake of justice you could break a law.

    For example martin Luther King Jr, the black people were protesting against the law, to get their civil rights. During 1970s, tens of thousands of peolpe broke the law to protest U.S. war in Vietnam, occupying government property, refusing to pay taxes that would support the war, and trespassing on the private property of companies that made military weapons.

  • I believe it is justifiable to break the law.

    I believe this because sometimes the law is unjust and unfair to some in certain situations. For example, Gandhi broke the law after being told, he couldn't sell or produce salt as it was illegal. He had to fight for the right to be able to have salt whether it was illegal or not.

  • Laws were made to be broken...

    And are the equivalent to doing absolutely nothing. WE THE PEOPLE, our founding document so elegantly states, and so Democracy is NOT a bunch of politicians in a room voting yay or nay. It's the active process of voicing the opinion of the people. Can people reach a consensus? No, because this government works on popular fallacies, as opposed to arriving at empirical evidence based decisions. However the function of protests is to support true democracy, the idea that anyone can improve the government, for better or for worst.

    So we arrive again at the question, are protesters actions justifiable if they break the law to prove a point? Yes, if said law is a fallacy, which makes no sense, and is a detriment to the economy, society, or progression. Only if they do not break the fundamental golden rules of social governance that is: "stealing", "murdering", "assaulting", only then is it absolutely justifiable.

  • Ex. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The only way to get a law to change is to break that law en mass, to show how ridiculous that law is. Unless you hurt people or, in my opinion, any sentient being during that show of defiance, bending or breaking the law to prove a point or to justify a cause is the quickest and most efficient method.

  • It is justifiable

    If protests will not be there ho will the people speak out for their rights , ideas ,opinion and mind. So there should not be any law to prevent protests to prevent public from speaking its our basic fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. Tn my opinion its right....

  • It is not justifiable for protesters and activists to break the law, because it is the law and law-breakers should be punished.

    It is never justifiable for anyone to break any type of law, and this includes protesters and activists who break the law for the sake of their causes. Laws have been put in place for very specific reasons, and people should follow them. If they do not, then they should be punished accordingly.

    Posted by: eyeslikethat
  • Which laws then, are the not allowed to break, if breaking it is fine?

    There is always the extreme example of someone traveling back in time to kill Hitler and save the Jews from the Holocaust. The unfortunate fact is that one rarely knows who is responsible for such horror in the present, and killing leaders one disagrees with or is worried about is murder. (We'll except cases like North Korea's leadership that sends thousands to starve in Gulags today. Those are known evil leaders, and even known world wide as the Axis of Evil.) Protesters who seek to brake laws bring up these extreme cases. Yet they forget that the laws they are breaking are not just for society's protection but their own. When they burn a car dealership to protest gas guzzling cars, they did not just hurt the car dealer, but its employees, those who were getting cars fixed there that are not scorched, and money out of the business that goes to repairing the damage instead of buying and investing and growing. When anarchists riot and burn, they rarely even get seen by those they protest. Yet they are damaging businesses of those who are innocent, in some cases even hurting bystanders who are watching. When they burn a business, innocent people trying to buy coffee may be hurt and even killed. Shall we say it is OK because they are trying to protest a coffee shop, even at risk of killing coffee drinkers? Is it OK to not just boycott a business but try to burn it down because it is oppressive to employees, at risk of an innocent janitor dying in the flames? Then there is the incredible irony that protesters who think it is acceptable to break the law for their cause still expect its protection. They feel they are so right they can damage property, attack people, and risk lives. Yet the police are still to be civil, they are never to be beaten, no one is to burn their cars in like minded protest, and they should receive full legal representation if they are unable to afford it. Their belief that their cause is so right that they can break it seems to mean that they can break it, even at risk of the lives of others, but the protections of those same laws should still apply to them. If they have the right to break laws they deem unfit, shall vengeance killings by anyone they accidentally kill also be overlooked? If the laws are so wrong, support candidates to office to change those laws. Or use the courts to overturn the bad laws. Or run for office yourself and change it. Risking harm to people will not lead to people coming to your side, unless you want to become the equivalent to the Taliban, who won power by killing all who disagreed. And any movement that requires such evil methodology to change the world in their image is inherently undeserving of it. (Thus those who think they can maim, rape and kill merely for ideas may be fair game to be proactively killed to protect the rest of society.)

    Posted by: Pir4And
  • There's a fine lime between protest & riot.

    It's one thing to sit outside of a business and protest what it's doing, it's another thing to trash their building and assault the people that go there and/or work there. Like anti fur protests can you justify spray paying someones fur coat since you just assaulted them, once you do that it goes from protest to assault. Then there's the people that protest abortions within the law and then there's the idiots that "kill" the abortion doctor or even bomb the clinic that's full of innocent people including the pregnant women that they "don't want getting abortions," so how can a person justify that?

  • Our laws have already enshrined the right to protest.

    By breaking the law, protesters put at risk our constitutional right to gather (peaceably assemble), debate, criticize our government and otherwise freely shape the discourse and evolution of our representative democracy. "Mob rules" is not the law of the land. Yet. If we embrace the mob mentality, we won't like it.

  • I do not believe that the law should be broken by protesters and activists for the sake of their cause because often when this is done, many innocent lives are lost.

    Breaking the law to protest a cause is not a good idea. Mobs often arise because of this type of behavior, becoming heated up by the emotion of the crowd and doing things they might not otherwise do. Innocent lives can be lost and people can be badly injured because of this type of activism. I certainly agree that people should have the right to promote their views or causes, but it should be done in a peaceful and orderly way to prevent chaos.

    Posted by: R0d0Ferdy
  • Breaking the law is acceptable only in terms of non-violent civil disobedience.

    I believe that citizens have the right to protest laws they believe are unjust. However, this protest, as Dr. Martin Luther King advocated, should be done in public view and must embrace non-violence. It can be a very effective means for affecting change in society when all other recourse have been tried. It is due, in part, to civil disobedience that the American south is no longer segregated.

    Posted by: SteenSigis
  • No because it invalidates their efforts in protest.

    The law exists for a reason, it exists to make people feel safe and secure in the face of the possibility of lawlessness. Sometimes people don't like what a government or a corporation is doing and want to protest that. This is a valid and useful practice when done peacefully and lawfully. However, when done without the law it is simply criminal, it completely invalidates the protester by turning them into a common criminal instead of a protester, and it causes the general public to have no sympathy for their cause because they are nothing more than a criminal. The one exception that I will allow for this is if the law itself is not lawful and has a need to be broken, but this is rarely necessary in legitimate protest in my opinion.

    Posted by: MariaR
  • I do not think it is ever justifiable for protesters/activists to break the law for their cause.

    I understand freedom of speech, and it is a Constitutional right, but breaking the law should never happen. What it does is put the cause in a poor light and also annoys everyone not involved. It also costs taxpayers money to jail the protesters/activists and some of us would rather out taxes go to something else.

    Posted by: WeberCrazii
  • Don't break laws, work to amend them

    Breaking laws does not earn respect, whether you are a policeman or protester. Everyone should be held accountable equally. Mob mentality also doesn't work in the best interest of anyone, especially if there are instigators working against the better good for all concerned. There will always be a faction that wants to contribute to lawlessness, they should not be tolerated.

  • No you should not

    It is unjustifiable to break laws becase you dont agree wth them. There are certain ways to go about certain things and breaking the law will only make things worse. You can protest about it but i assure you if you break the law there will be consequences. Do it the easy way not the hard way k


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