Critical review of The justification of civil disobedience by John Rawls

Rawls argument is consistent with Storing’s argument in that not all non violent resistances against an established law are civil disobedience. Rawls (108) argues that where a law is an injustice by itself political mass action to safeguard the community’s just would not be regarded as a civil disobedience. Under these set of circumstances, civil disobedience is extinguished by the graveness of the injustice in question. Rawls highlights that in a situation where there is violation of the first justice principle which concerns equality in liberty; non violent resistances may not be classified as civil disobedience. Additionally, non-violent resistances resulting violation of the part two of the second justice principle which entails equality and fair opportunity for all people should not be classified under civil disobedience. This is because these resistances are a necessary evil for the society. An example of these violations includes denial of a group of people (especially the minorities) their voting rights or denial of opportunities for people belonging to particular ethnic and religious groups.

The underlying problem cited by Rawls is the difficulty in ascertaining that these principles are actually violated. This is because claims of injustices and violation of these fundamental principles may be prejudiced and it is hard to verify that violation truly exists. On the other hand, it is difficult to convince third parties that there actually exist violation of basic principles and that resistances are valid. Matters touching on everyone in the society such as the tax laws should not be classified under civil disobedience. This is because the injustice touches on everyone in the society unlike in the cases of segregation. Rawls argument is consistent with Storing’s that resistance to social injustices should not be categorized as civil disobedience. Equality among citizens is a fundamental right which should not be extinguished under any circumstance. For example in the US, black should receive equal treatment as the Hispanics (Rawls 109).

Response to paragraph 7

            Rawls is slow to acknowledge use of violence retaliation to social injustices as opposed to Storings. Rawls (110), indicate that civil disobedience may be applied where procedures of good faith have been unsuccessful in addressing the underlying issue…

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