Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King clarifies on the reasons why he participated in the demonstration against racism that led him to be jailed while Disobedience as Psychological and Moral Problems by Erich Fromm talk about the autonomy of human beings in making decisions and disobeying the arm of the law in order to get their rights and freedom.
Summary of the Readings
The Letter from Birmingham Jail was a seminal essay that was written by one of the Americans greatest icons, Martin Luther King. The circumstance in which he wrote this letter was a complicated one since he had been arrested for illegally participating in a demonstration against racism. Disobedience as Psychological and Moral Problems was written by Erich Fromm who tried to clarify on some human characteristics and nature (Nikolovska, 1). Majorly, the essay talks about the nature of people’s obedience and disobedience. One significant fact that is noted in the essay is that the historical stories of the beginning of the earth, disobedience were fast experienced when man ate the forbidden fruit.
Analysis of the Readings
The town in which Letter from Birmingham letter was dedicated to was Birmingham. He wrote this letter to prove a point and clarify on his the eight clergymen who were his critics (King, 78). The critics believed that the solution to this problem was through legal action while Martin believed in demonstration and exerting pressure to the governing officers in the town. Interestingly, according to Fromm, it is impossible for human beings to terminate the disobedient act by obeying. The letter argues that for any person to make it in life and achieve, he/she should be disobedient to the either the laws or norms guiding individuals in the society. Therefore, the essay encourages people to have freedom to make decisions, do what is right, and fight for their own (Nikolovska, 1). This should be done without being pressured or influenced by the society or the authority governing them. This decision made should be personal and optional. Similarly, in the letter, Martin tried to show that everyone living in the USA is a citizen and should not be considered as an outsider, hence they deserve equal treatment and sharing of national resources (King, 99). The letter also argued that the act of injustice practiced at any point in the country negatively affects the claimed justice practiced in the country.
Interestingly, Fromm argues that it is impossible for human beings to terminate the disobedient act through obedience. The letter argues that for any person to make it in life and achieve, he/she should be disobedient to the either the laws or norms guiding individuals in the society. Therefore, the essay encourages people to have freedom to make decisions, do what is thought to be right, and fight for what it is their own (Nikolovska, 1). This should be done without being pressured or influenced by the society or the authority governing them. This decision made should be personal and without being forced. Relating it to the Martin Luthers King Letter, the similarity in this document is observed. Similarly, in the letter, Martin stated that discrimination against the minority, especially black Americans was not only affecting them, but also the country as a whole, hence reducing the economic growth and progress. Through the letter, people realized that it is everyone's responsibility to oppose the unjust laws that affected human rights and freedom. Firstly, Fromm argues that it was right for Martin and other black Americans to disobey some rules and policies in order to set themselves free from the slavery that was enacted by the governors and leaders (King, 112). Obedience is not something bad, though Fromm and Martin try to bring sense and encouragement to their people to stand up for their rights and defeat the common enemy ‘obedience’.
The common theme in these pieces of writings is that human beings should be free minded and confident when thinking and making critical decisions in their lives. Through this, they will be able to realize when their rights and freedoms are violated. Hence, this will make them to fight for them and make their lives better.
King, Martin L. Letter from the Birmingham Jail. San Francisco: Harper, 1994. Print.
Nikolovska Milena. Summary' Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem" by Erich
Fromm. 2013. Available at <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Summary'-Disobedience-As-a-Psychological-And-1106528.html >