A description of civil disobedience as the refusal to obey civil laws

Civil disobedience examples

Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. Legal Protest: The obvious difference between legal protest and civil disobedience is that the former lies within the bounds of the law, but the latter does not. The American author Henry David Thoreau pioneered the modern theory behind the practice of civil disobedience in his essay, Civil Disobedience, originally titled Resistance to Civil Government. Bedau ed. The government canceled tax collections until the famine ended. And although violence may eloquently communicate a dissenter's seriousness and frustration, it changes the nature of the dialogue. This communication, however, does not normally reflect an aim either to demonstrate conscientiously held objections to that law or to lead society to reform the law.

However, a paradox ensues when revolutionaries use violence to free themselves from oppression, as a mean to an end. On a pragmatic level, the efficacy of civil disobedience hinges on the adherence of the opposition to a certain morality to which an appeal can ultimately be made.

When the right to participate is understood to accommodate only legal protest, then the right conscientiously to object, which commonsensically includes civil disobedience, must be viewed as distinct from political participation rights.

examples of civil disobedience today

At a pre-arranged announced time, one at a time they stepped across the "line" and were immediately arrested. Given the highly negative connotations of this term, its philosophical usefulness is questionable.

Civil disobedience summary

On one pluralistic view, a distinction is drawn between the punishment that is deserved according to justice and the punishment that is actually justified. While directness may ensure that the objective of the dissent is understood, it has disadvantages; and in some contexts direct action cannot be justified. This does not mean that the virtuous person must always go along with the prevailing views or attitudes. Martin Luther King, Jr. King continued to dominate the organization. Given this offender's repentance, the justified punishment in this case is less than it would be were there no grounds for mercy. Revolutionary Action: The difference between radical protest and revolutionary action may be as difficult to specify as that between revolutionary action and civil disobedience. And still other civil disobedients, being anarchists, don't believe in the legitimacy of any government, and therefore see no need to accept punishment for a violation of criminal law that does not infringe the rights of others. As a vehicle for communication, civil disobedience has much to be said for it. On the Parade, a large contingent of police arrested everyone they could find who had purple dye on them. Thoreau came to conclusion that person should obey conscience rather than law in order to defend the justice and moral principles, which are the cornerstones of each individual conscience, from the unjust government policy.

An influential man by the name of Malcolm X once said that "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. B[ edit ] From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free.

Threatening government officials is another classic way of expressing defiance toward the government and unwillingness to stand for its policies.

civil disobedience synonym

Moreover, both are communicative, though their audiences may differ.

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Civil Disobedience (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)