in spite of erosion
13th May 2004
The prevailing notions today towards civil disobedience today are that it's inappopriate, or even immoral. It seems to me everyone feels that change can only occur when "the proper channels" are utilized. Well in my opinion, civil disobedience is the only thing that can create meaningful change. Rosa Parks broke the law when refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. That act was illegal, but was it wrong? It did after all help launch the civil rights movement.
The "Law" has become something sacrosanct nowadays, for whatever reasons. It appears as its own entity, ambiguous and untouchable, though still looming over our heads and penetrating our consiences. If you break "the law" you are a criminal. But are you a bad person? Sure, laws can be important, but does "The Law" really deserve a spot above actual justice?
Every major social political achievement in the past, from womens' suffrage, to the abolition of slavery in America, the civil rights movement, to even the rise of civil government in America itself was made possible because of acts by ordinary citizens breaking the "law." The proper channels have proved largely ineffective - indeed, they've often worked against causes - in the past when it comes to issues of great importance: wars, civil liberties, environmental concerns, and so on.
In the end, in order for popular sentiments to get codified and officially recognized, of course we'll need the parliamentary process. But what do we do when they refuse to listen to the demands of the citizenry in the first place?
If anyone's interested, I point to Henry David Thoreau (one of my favorite American writers)'s very influental essay Civil Disobedience. He was thrown in jail for refusing to pay taxes, as a protest of the Spanish-American war. http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil.html
My question: in certain situations, is it moral to commit extra-legal and yes, even illegal acts in order for a minority to attain political attention? If "the proper channels" fail to get something important done, is it okay for that group to act outside the law to help get it done?
As long as you don't hurt someone in the process, especially an innocent.
Protesting a factory becuase it dumps waste into a lake= good.
Blowing up said factory= bad.
SFC III Troubleshooter.
5th September 2006
Looks like those of us have some sense and no one posted no. Civil disobedience is necessary to avoid exclusion from freedom and basic human necessity, but you guys are right, it’s how you go about it and if it is necessary. Some people like to take a situation and escalate it into useless violence that doesn’t accomplish anything but ensuring more rights are taken away, which is why we now have youth curfew in many US cities.
I think it should also be pointed out that a bunch of stupid teens who are "fighting the power" because they think it is cool is not Civil Disobedience, it is stupidity. You need to actually have a reason. Because you happen to disagree with the government does not mean you should go around breaking the law. Only when you truly believe that a right is being stolen should you resort to such things, and atleast give legal means a try first.
The Arrogant French Prick
5th December 2004
Of course it is more than moral. It is the only power the people has right now, why taking it away?
Lord of the Peach
19th April 2004
It is your prison sentence, not mine. If you think you can get hard drugs legalized by doing them, go ahead and have fun.
Only when you truly believe that a right is being stolen should you resort to such things, and atleast give legal means a try first.
That sums up my view on the issue
The US has its roots in civil disobedience and dissent. Both helped to create the US, and both should continue to shape the country.
I'm Specialer than you
9th September 2006
How effective is rebbeling against something that you believe is wrong by writing irrelevant annonymous swearing graffitti on some guys fence? Because that is what 99.9% of people who are "Fighting the power" are doing. Stating your argument and explaining by part of a government is wrong to try and persuade people you are right is more effective, your taken more seriously and their are no victims. Have you ever thought that if there is a law that everybody thinks is ok but but you might just be that?
22nd March 2006
The modern US law is based in reason, but influenced by the majority. Before you go quoting some old bs law, think of that law as being influenced by a past majority.
Being such, it is fairly rare that you find a cause worth fighting for. If you do find a cause worth fighting for then most of the time, if it's "worthy", people will back you in the form of petitions which you can then submit to your representative and get turned into law. That's the nature of the democratic system. If enough people agree with you then you can make change.
Just because your a self righteous minority doesn't necessarily give you the right to destroy property our cause violence. In the rare case you do have a cause that is both neglected and righteous you can cause civil disobedience, but only at your own risk. That is the price you pay for believing in your cause.
I'm too cool to Post
17th July 2003
Absolutely. It was one of the main weapons of the US Civil Rights Movement of the 60's.
It was also one of Ghandi's followers main weapons. Peaceful civil disobedience. No destruction or violence except by thoe trying to remove the protestors.
Italicised no more
14th August 2004
If there was no civil disobediance, the only thing that would prompt change would be the whims of the government. As afterburner said, as long as you don't endanger other people, go right ahead.