Pros And Cons Of Civil Disobedience

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Should the law be a higher priority than one’s own morals? Henry David Thoreau, a well-known American Transcendentalist, once wrote that “the government itself, which is the only mode which people have chosen to execute their will is equally liable to be abused and perverted before people can act through it” (A1). After witnessing many unjust and immoral activities, such as slavery and the Mexican-American war (something he viewed as unnecessary violence fueled by avarice for land), Thoreau lost faith in the government. In order for people to avoid becoming “agents of injustice” themselves, he encouraged them to act according to their conscience rather than blindly following the law. Although I believe that in an ideal world people should…show more content…
It is easy to understand why the government should not control every aspect of people’s lives. Totalitarian governments such as the communist regime in North Korea rule by taking away the rights of the people and by not tolerating any dissent whatsoever. According to retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, in a report published in 2014 by a Commission of Inquiry established by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the North Korean Government was guilty of “[committing] human right abuses at a scale without parallel in the contemporary world – including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence” (F1). Although not as tyrannical a government, the British monarchy also took away rights from the American colonists prior to the revolutionary war. After declaring Independence in 1776, Americans replaced their government with a Democratic one in which people were supposed to have equal rights. Although Thoreau agreed that the shift from a “monarchy to a democracy [was] a progress toward a true respect for the individual,” he believed that the government was still too involved in the lives of individuals. Reasoning that the only purpose of the government was to protect the individual freedoms of the people it governed, Thoreau believed that it should have minimal control over their lives or better yet none at
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