Dear everyone, I am taking GRE in 10 days. Please help me succeed with my essay. Big thanks from China!
Every individual in a society has a responsibility to obey just laws and to disobey and resist unjust laws.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
Laws are supposed to protect every one's rights and keep a society in order. On this ground, I agree that as members of a society, people should obey that society's laws; no matter they are just or not. If certain laws are perceived unjust, people should use other means to change the law, instead of disobeying or resisting it. This is because the authority of laws are vitally important to a society, perceiving a law just or unjust could be oftentimes subjective, and there are plenty of other means to fight against the so called unjust laws.
If people just consider obeying just laws their responsibilities, even the just laws will not be duly effective. The reason is that when people choose to disobey the unjust laws, such acts will make the society lose the spirit of law to a certain extent. For example, many factories in China are violating the environmental laws. These factories dump their highly dangerous waste materials into the river, blow the dangerous dust into the air, and dump dangerous chemicals into some disserted land. When people ask them why they are ignoring the laws, which prohibit them from doing that, they will argue that these laws are unjust, on the grounds that if they obey the laws and purchase expensive machines to clean up their waste, they will go profitless. The result of such behaviors makes China a very lawless society. In China few people take laws seriously; when they break the laws, they will try to find powerful government officials to resolve the problems at hand. Some people might not agree with my argument, saying disobeying unjust laws will not make people do the same to just laws. The reason, they further claim, is that people disobey unjust laws for these laws are not protecting their rights, and they obey just laws because they are not made against them. In other words, people will obey just laws even though when they choose not to obey some other laws. However, from my point of view, it is more complicated than these defenders realize. I agree that nobody will disobey any laws in a society, but I will argue that some laws are considered unjust by some people, but could be considered just by others.
That will lead us to the second reason for not disobeying the so-called unjust laws, namely, it is often subjective to determine a law is just or not. For any laws in a society, you will find people who think they are not just. Recently, a British citizen was found guilty in Saudi Arabia because he tried to consume alcohol there. The country forbids people drinking any alcohol, which is a very serious crime. Many people, especially the Briton's families find the law unusually severe to punish their father. However, that does not mean, if you live in Saudi Arabia, you should ignore their laws, since people in that country really think the law is fair because of their religions. At this point, some people might raise a number of questions regarding the people who are not in favor of certain law. They will ask, what about people who hold different view? Are we just going to ignore their concerns? Are they supposed just to accept these unfavorable laws just for the sake for others? That is certainly not the case. However, I am not sure if these people should just choose to disobey or resist these laws so that they can be changed.
As I argued before, disobeying these laws will hurt the foundation of the society. Moreover, it could cause a great deal of chaos and tragedies. For instance, even though it sounds a little extreme, some drivers might find the traffic laws sometimes unjust, even though other people feel differently. These drivers try to ignore the traffic lights, marching out even when the red light is on ahead of them (believe me, it happens often in China). As a result, it is not surprising many car accidents follow these bad choices. Despite of disobeying the unjust laws, people actually have many other means to fight against them. They could go on the street to protest, just like what Martin Luther King and Gandhi did, they could voice their opinions through news media, and so on. However, the best way is through legislature. To disobey the law will make you an unlawful person, by trying to change the law through legislations, however, will reach the same goal, while still maintaining the spirit of the law in that society. Some people might say disobeying the unjust laws are more effective, in that it is easier to put pressure on the government. I agree with that, but I still maintain the other way is more effective in the long run. People will see, in the process, even when you are not in favor of some laws, you respect the spirit of the legal system. That is a good thing.
Few people have difficulties to obey the just laws, while many people find it hard to obey laws that bite them. However, it is everyone's responsibility to obey laws even though they think they are unjust. At the same time, people should use other means such as protesting, rallies, and best of all, legislation, to change them. Only that can a society be fair for everybody.