Can breaking the law ever be justified? Imagine a world without those brave people who dared to not abide by the law and fight for a right. A world without Gandhi would be a world without independent India; without Mandela there would be white superiority in Africa; without freedom fighters, there would be no democracy in Nepal. I believe that all the actions of such law breakers are good, even though they were against various laws, and such actions can be justified to some extent.
Even though laws are meant to maintain order and protect rights, it is not always justified; some might be unfair to minorities whereas others might stir up a revolution. Some just violate human rights. In such cases, civil disobedience might be necessary. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” said Martin Luther King Jr. The righteousness of revolt is shown by this remark made by a great revolutionary himself.
Indeed, so much of justice has been served through revolutions.
Gandhi, in India chased the British away through non-violent methods. Marching on, producing salt and breaking the law, Gandhi took a stubborn stance, without violent means, showing that they would not handle the British rule anymore. This established a happier independent India. Similarly, Mandela broke the racial barrier in South Africa, by breaking the law he helped in establishing greater good. Another major reason for breaking the law is because of one’s religion or culture.
The French law has recently banned wearing the Islamic attire called ‘niqab’.
An extreme effort to bring equality into the Muslim society, it is equally an imposition to women’s freedom. People put religion before law in some cases and rightfully so. It is not moral for the law to tell someone what not to wear; it is taking the freedom of choice away. It is a violation of human rights and not at all worthy of being called an offense. Similarly, public nudity is also taken as an offense to the law in many places.
I do not think that shedding clothes will do more harm than create arguments among couples passing by. It is just a way showing the love of nature to many and there is no reason why it is wrong to do so. Likewise, PETA activists might have done a nude rally to raise awareness against wearing fur clothing. An act like this would be a justifiable reason to break the law. More than breaking the law, it is an animal rights awareness campaign which should lie higher than the nudity law.
There are also cases where law breaking becomes a compulsion, which is when it comes to life and death. The hierarchy of law should be taken into account. Saving somebody’s life is always of more importance than obeying civil laws. For example, if a person is severely injured and the closest hospital is across the border in another country, then illegally crossing the border should not be the main concern, saving the person’s life should and in such cases law breaking is most definitely justifiable. However, breaking the law is not always justified.
Vigilantism and Terrorism are two major issues where groups or individuals claim to be providing justice or freedom. Vigilantes like the Ku Klux Klan are basically extremists who try to bring justice by exterminating wrong doers, while in doing so they are violating greater laws. To some they are freedom fighters and to others they are terrorists. Other extremists like the Jihadists are even worse; they conduct violent bombings and self sacrifices in the name of religion destroying innocent lives along with their own.
Both these acts are terrorizing rather than justifying. These terrorist and Vigilantes don’t seem to realize that before acting as saviors they are completely violating human rights. Personalities, heroes like Gandhi, Mandela and King will always be necessary. Times are changing and with them so will the wants of people. With time there will be more conflict and as a last resort there will always be room for justice even while breaking the law.