John Rawls Four Models Of Civil Disobedience

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John Rawls defines civil disobedience as “a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political act contrary to law... with the aim of bringing about a change in the law or policies of the government” (Rawls, 1999: 320). Before engaging in political disobedience, nevertheless, one must consider their justifications, such as, “its legality, its use as a last resort, any coordination with other dissenters, the likelihood of success, ... and the expected harm (Brownlee, 2013). Rawls’ liberal model of disobedience insists that civil disobedience can be justified - even in a nearly just society – only if it fulfills four conditions. The four conditions are the principle of injustice, the principle of last resort, and the principle of fairness and the probability of success (Rawls, 1999: 326-331). In Rawls’ liberal account for political disobedience, these four conditions are justified because they limit the majority rule to our fundamental human rights – liberty and equality (cited in Markovits, 2005: 1899). Society has the right to disobey, within the limit of the law, if a government violates these human rights.…show more content…
However, as Daniel Markovits states, “the efforts to explain or defend such disobedience must proceed outside the liberal model” (Markovits, 2005: 1901). Furthermore, as Robin Celikates suggests, Rawls’ liberal justifications of civil disobedience need “a more practice-based, democratic and pluralist perspective” (Celikates, 2016: 39). Simply, John Rawls’ justifications to civil disobedience are too narrow with too many constraints. The justifications to civil disobedience need to be defined and understood in a way that is “less normatively loaded and therefore less restrictive (Celikates, 2016:
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