Do individuals have inherent right to disobey what they see as unjust laws? What is the consequences of this, is there a reasonable basis for concluding that this behavior would be justifiable in society.
Henry David opens his essay with a motto, That the government in best which governs the least. The author's suspicion of government stems from the tendency. Civil Disobedience is an analysis or the peoples relationship to the country that pays more attention to why men are obedient to the laws created by the government even though they believe it to be unjust. This can be reflected back in 1846-1849 during the Mexican war where slavery was extended into the United States. This was catalyzed by a group of people who had manipulated the government to benefit themselves against the will of the majority in the society. The government is the one itself to blame for difficult and corrupt issues in the society since it provides a path for few individuals to use the powers they have in government to impose their moral will on the citizen and economically benefit themselves. According to Thoreau, the government is a major obstacle to the economic growth as it hinders creativity of individuals it claims to be representing. Thoreau believes that individuals have inherent right to disobey what they see as unjust laws prevails the leadership (Thoreau).
Civil disobedience present a point of which Thoreau believed there was a moral obligation of defying the government. A man has a responsibility to act according to what his conscious tells him, even though his move goes against the current leadership, the opinion of majority and rules and regulation implemented in the society. In circumstances where the government support immortals and unjust in the society, the author states the only service the citizens can offer during such period is a form of resistance against it. Resistance is the highest form of patriotism since it shows a wish of individual not to undermine the government but rather develop a good one in the long term. Thoreau, however, does not support a collective refusal of the government activities, but resistance against certain issues within the government which are believed to immoral (Thoreau).
Focusing on American tradition, men have identified and valued the right of revolution, and this is where Thoreau derived the idea of civil disobedience. A man discredits himself if he associates with the government that treats fellow citizen immorally, even though he is not the victim of injustice. Thoreau differs with an English Philosopher by the name William Paley who argued that the there should be the balance between the uniting against the government and the atrociousness of the criticisms to be looked into and the possibility and costs of re-looking into it. He asserts that it might not be necessary to resist yet the consequences of resisting are much higher as compared to the prevailing injustice. However, Thoreau argues that the resistance is not all about the current, but rather long-term goals of the society hence it better costs us at the moment, but the fruits of resistance to be felt by the future generation(Thoreau).
Through democratic ways, the author diverts to the issue of affecting change. The position of most people, but valid in the setting of democracy, is not equal to an ethical role. The author views that the key obstacles to reform lies with individual reject the actions of the government while at the same time silently lending in their practical commitments. As such, if the government that is immoral is not resisted by the majority, an individual with a true belief should stop to lend it his indirect help in the tax form. Thoreau admits that it is truthful, not possible to deny the government of tax dollars for a particular policy somebody wishes to oppose. At the same time, full payment of his taxes meant that he would be showing his commitment to the state. Thoreau in 1846 manipulates others to refuses to pay taxes. The consequences were extreme as he was arrested and jailed with other citizens. As this was not enough, he was asked to remain in prison until he had to pay the fine, something that he also refused. While in jail, he realizes that the only strength that the government has is the superior physical strength. Else, it is a complete intellectual institution, and even with the power it has, it cannot stop him from thinking otherwise.
The most corrupting force is money which brings together men to various agencies and the government that is responsible for immoral deeds and laws, for example, enslavement of blacks. According to Thoreau, this was illogically inverse relationship between freedom and money. It was the responsibility of the poor people within the society to resist since they depend the least on the government for their survival and protection. Seeing the little, they contribute to the state in for tax yet few individuals siphon the cash by using their authority is unacceptable. In spite of the fact that Thoreau spoke fearlessly against the government especially regarding the issue of slavery and war in Mexico. He alleges that he had a great respect for the government and all its agencies. Thoreau goes father and states that the first instinct he had has always been orthodoxy. As such, even though he was against the government, it remained the powerful institution on land(Thoreau).
Conclusively, there a reasonable basis for concluding that this behavior would be justifiable in society. Some people have used resistance to come up with various dangerous groups within the community. The government might think that it is a natural resistance, but when it gains momentum and more citizens join the resistance, the might start demanding for other issues that were not part of the resistance. However, people should know that obedience is earned and should be withheld from a government that is immoral. To make everyone understand, Civil Disobedience relies upon how our founding father resisted against the evil deeds of the government, something that raises a question when rebellion is justified. It is, therefore, the perfect for individuals to use their conscience to arrive at a final judgment. However, since people can act immorally, it means they are responsible for what they are doing, and nobody should direct the blame to the government. Remember, democracy is not the last move in the evolution of government since there are other steps that the government can utilize in recognizing the rights and freedom of its citizens. Notably, it is the duty of the society to contribute toward the moral values within the community. And when we focus carefully, there should be somebody who is not in government that can speak the evils carried out.
Thoreau, Henry David. "On the duty of civil disobedience." (1849).
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