The Cause Of Civil Disobedience

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What would a free society be like without peaceful resistance to laws? Would it be better or worse? The question itself is paradoxical; because it is based on the hypothetical negation of an analytic proposition, it makes no more sense than asking what polygons would be like without sides. Polygons, by definition, have sides, just as free society, by definition, has civil disobedience. As Adlai Stevenson explains it, “a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” This statement suggests that unpopularity exists within all free societies; thus, free society cannot exist without civil disobedience. In a democracy, civil disobedience is not only morally justified, but is actually required to sustain freedom. Peaceful resistance…show more content…
It is difficult to provide an example of an instance in which civil disobedience had a negative impact on society. As essayist Henry David Thoreau said, “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” If a so-called “free society” with unjust laws has no disobedience, how can there still be freedom? Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the civil disobedience movement that freed India, said: “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless and corrupt.” Furthermore, Martin Luther King, Jr., the leader of the civil disobedience movement that gave civil rights to the blacks, said: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust…show more content…
Do acts of civil disobedience against just laws negatively impact society? This question, too, makes no sense, for the opposite reason as the former. The question of what free society would be like without peaceful resistance was nonsensical because it implied that a free society could exist without peaceful resistance. This question makes no sense because “justice” cannot be defined by an analytical proposition. What is defined as “just” and what isn’t varies among cultures. This is not to say that absolute morality is subjective or objective; but it is to say that the moral justice in a society is always subjective. There have been acts of civil disobedience coming from both the pro-choice and pro-life movements across America for a very long time. So which side is morally justified? It all depends on your society. If your state legalized abortion, within that society, abortion is morally just. If it outlawed abortion, within that society, abortion is morally unjust. Until our entire nation can come to a unanimous decision whether to legalize abortion or not, we will never know for sure whether it is just or unjust. It took nearly two hundred years for the whole nation the come to a unanimous consensus that it was morally just for people of different races to
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