posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 11:21 AM
The first thing that really struck me in Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail was of course the iconic phrase “Injustice anywhere is a threat
to justice everywhere.” At its core I believe this statement to be true. I’ve often come back back to these words when thinking about my
country’s role in world affairs.
For example, there are countries whose regimes are oppressive towards women, in some cases downright misogynistic. I believe men and women are
equal halves of the same whole, and should be respected as such. I believe, in the very fiber of my being, that the oppression of women because of
religious or cultural ideals is a grave injustice.
Having said that, I’m left to wonder when one group of people is justified in imposing their will on another group. Even in cases where
great injustices are being committed, is one view of justice to be held in higher esteem than another? When so many different people have such varying
ideas of what justice is, who’s to decide which view is the truth?
So the question remains: if justice is indeed being threatened, whose idea of justice is it? Dr. King’s title of Reverend shows clearly
where his ideals come from. While I don’t subscribe to his religion or any other for that matter, my idea of justice is very similar to that of Dr.
In other parts of the world you may find a view of justice that says women are subservient to men and thieves ought to have their hands cut
off. A world governed in such a way would indeed be a utopia to some, but to others it would be an anathema. So what does Dr. King mean when he says
justice? He’s a man who saw a problem in the world and strove passionately to fix it. Do we as a nation have that same obligation to step into other
sovereign nations and impose our ideas of justice on them?
Somehow while I wasn’t looking we became the most heavily armed, most heavily incarcerated, chronically unhealthy nation in the world. The
“land of the free and home of the brave” has more people in prison than any other country, and is losing more service members to suicide than to
all of our five current wars combined. So where do we get the moral authority to enforce our justice on anyone else?
I'm not really asking the question. I know we don't have the authority. But what are the options when injustice is encountered? Either work
to stop it, or let it continue right? But can we say "Hey that's an injustice what you're doing there! You need to stop that!" even if that's
their ingrained way of life?
MLK knew that the disenfranchisement of balcks was/is an injustice. He got into the faces of whites and imposed his will on them, wanting to
change something that had been a certain way for 200 years. Of course he was justified in doing so, we know that. So why do I have moral misgivings
about going into other countries and telling them how to change their lives? I personally don't want to interfere in the affairs of other countries,
just as I don't want outsiders trying to change my ideals.
But injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere right?