Like Martin Luther King Jr once said “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” With these words in mind, I affirm the resolution resolved: Civil disobedience in a democracy is morally justified. I offer the following definitions to help clarify the round: Civil disobedience is nonviolent refusal to follow the laws or demands of government to prove a point and the person participating in civil disobedience has to accept the consequences. A democracy is a government by the people, where the people elect representatives or the leader. Not everyone has to vote in a democracy but, the leaders or representatives have to be decided by the majority of eligible voters.
Civil Disobedience: Righting the Wrong The foundation of civil disobedience is rooted in the concept of moral principal. When existing laws or accepted social behavior are viewed as being unjust, discriminatory or otherwise considered to be morally unfair, many citizens are compelled to take action in an effort to affect change. In 1849 Thoreau wrote about civil disobedience in his work titled On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Thoreau believed that a government with too much control minimizes the ability of the people to exercise their own judgment. He claims, “That government is best which governs least.”
Law and order, as far as most westernized intellectuals are concerned, is the absolute protector of rights. Every advanced democracy subscribes to the continuing presence of law and order, and it’s hard to argue with the results seen and enjoyed today. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Let every man remember that to violate the law is… to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty.” While this sentiment is deeply relevant, it trivializes legitimate grievances citizens have against the legal system. Many of these issues can, indeed, be worked out within the system, and permanent change is achievable.
Civil Disobedience is the unjust in the government, and I for one believe unjust should be demolished. Martin Luther King was influenced by the writings of Henry David Thoreau to non violently take action when the rights of the citizens are in jeopardy. Therefore, civil disobedience can change society for the next generation. Disobedience and rebellion bring about social improvements in society because it will improve the lives of God’s children. Henry David Thoreau argues that men must always do what they think is righteous, non-violently, especially when they think an aspect of government is not working.
Civil Disobedience is a term that is held in a very stereotypical manner. When I think of the term, I think of a peaceful protest that eventually will solve the everlasting issue of governmental control regarding the people's lives. This term to me insinuates that no matter how terrible the situation at hand can be, individuals in any community like setting can ultimately be the bigger person and do no harm to anyone or anything while demoralizing a law. However in current situations, my assumption of the term has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse. Though this may be the case, I still continue to proclaim that civil disobedience sheds a positive light on communal views and how a society should handle an issue.
Although laws are put in place to protect the citizens on which it is enforced, no system of government is perfect. There are times in which laws are passed that have a controversial effect on society, be it the segregation of race or religion, or the NSA spying on US citizens. Based on this, it can be concluded that civil disobedience is a peaceful way to express the unjustness of a law in hopes of change. Rosa Parks is an excellent example of civil disobedience having a positive impact on society. After peacefully violating the Jim Crow law that enforced segregation, Parks was arrested in order to raise discourse on the treatment of African Americans in American society.
Personally, I believe that civil disobedience is a lot more than what is included in its definition. My definition of civil disobedience does not only include the peaceful resistance of public laws, but also the disagreement with laws that do not directly affect American life. Civil disobedience should not only be defined as peaceful protest, but as other actions where Americans can stand up for what they believe in, even if there are no consequences. Writing letters, emailing, or even posting on social media should also be considered as forms of disobedience. All citizens should stand up for what they believe in, even when it’s against government views, to protect their own freedom.
I consider civil disobedience to be an easily-ignored pillar upon which our democracy was founded. In fact we are only established as a nation now because our founding fathers engaged in civil disobedience themselves. We were in a “social contract” of sorts with Great Britain and when we felt that they had not upheld their part of the contract (they did not allow us to create courts to maintain order, or to create a navy to defend ourselves, or to sustain our economy due to an inability to trade with any other countries), Thomas Jefferson concluded that it was our not only our right, but also our duty to break away. And it was Thomas Jefferson that combined all of the works of the great thinkers before him such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke
People's justification to engage in civil disobedience rests on the unresponsiveness that their engagement to oppose an unjust law receives. People who yearn for a change in a policy might sometimes find themselves in a dead end because their “attempts to have the laws repealed have been ignored and legal protests and demonstrations have had no success” (Rawls 373). What Rawls says is that civil disobedience is a last option to oppose an unjust law; therefore, providing civil disobedients with a justification for their cause. Civil disobedience is the spark of light that people encountered at the dead end and they hope that this spark of light will illuminate to show that an unjust law should not exist at all. Martin Luther King, Jr, in his “Letter from
When a law can be resisted without bringing harm to anyone, then that law should not exist. There are, currently on the books, sodomy bans and legislation against atheists taking political office: These laws are insane. Further, it is the state's job to ensure not only that civil disobedience is possible, but that it works. When civil protest fails to achieve results, violence follows. If a people realize that their peaceful voices will not be heard, such as what occurred in France in 1789, then they shall instead use violent methods.
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. "-Socrates. Peaceful resistance to laws positively impacts a free society because the society is not free unless it's able to check the government. As long as the protest of the law remains peaceful it is a good thing. It is the public telling the government that they will not let them gain to much power and crush their human rights.
In a country as abstract and diverse as the United States, many decide to be unique individuals and go against the natural way of a citizen. We know these acts as Civil Disobedience. In the many acts of Civil Disobedience, people go against the basic laws of their country peacefully and accept the consequences for the actions that they commit. Civil Disobedience is strongly frowned upon and negatively impacts a free society because it tells people that they can deliberately break the laws that make us the United States of America, it gives a great hindrance to the many citizens trying to live freely by following the rules, and it could start a mini revolt on the country. Civil disobedience tells people that they can absentmindedly break the
"Civil Disobedience, I shall argue, is an unsuccessful attempt to combine, on the level of principle, revolutions and conventional political action" The anonymous author of "The Case Against Civil Disobedience" asserts that peaceful protesting does not play a significant role in reforming political norms. His words often ring true in protests. In many instances of Civil Disobedience, the "peaceful" protests become dangerously violent. They tend to cause more tension and discourse than they cause change. Protests lead to increased divisions between the two viewpoints, causing support for current implication to solidify out of fear of change.