Martin Luther King Jr. Violence Essay

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“The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world” (Arendt pg 80). Violence is contagious, like a disease, which will destroy nations and our morals as human beings. Each individual has his or her own definition of violence and when it is acceptable or ethical to use it. Martin Luther King Jr., Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt are among the many that wrote about the different facets of violence, in what cases it is ethical, the role we as individuals play in this violent society and the political aspects behind our violence.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a brilliant man who preached non-violence to his followers during the fight of equality in deeply embedded Jim Crow south. “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored” (King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail). Dr King’s message was clear; non-violence will force people to address the issue at hand. He preached to love your enemies by looking into ones self and figure out the reason that “arouse the tragic hate response in the other individual” (King, Loving Your Enemies). He continues by saying that a person must find the good in their enemy. In the speech given on November 7, 1957 about loving your enemy, King exposes why he is so opposed to violence when he says, “When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it…..“That hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. King clearly preaches non-violence because he knows that it will lead to tragedy every time and instead, one must love their enemies and stand down when they are presented with the opportunity to defeat their opponent.

Walter Benjamin had a different approach to violence than Dr....
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