Thoreau On Civil Disobedience

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Active Participant Through Pacifist Disobedience Thoreau's, “On Civil Disobedience”, emphasizes the significant roles that authenticity and activism play in one’s life, which encourage action and renounce determinism. By presenting the main ideas that arise from this essay, I will argue that Thoreau, along with Locke’s Treatise of Government, exhibits ideas affiliated with Libertarianism. In contrast to the belief that a priori knowledge is the only kind of knowledge that expresses certainty about ontological truths, which is independent of external experience, Transcendentalism advances the idea that there is also an internal a priori kind of knowledge which is reliable and expresses each individual’s truth. According to the book, American…show more content…
Libertarianism holds that since individual truth is significant for each one, then in a democratic society where the majority rules, there is always going to be a violation of the minority’s truth, and therefore they advocate that individuals should always stick up for themselves, even if their opinions are contrasted to the opinion that the majority holds. Moreover, Libertarianism promotes as little government intervention as possible, since they do not trust the idea that a powerful group will be allowed to determine what is right and what is wrong, and impose those beliefs on others. As long as one does not harm others, Libertarianists think people should live life the way they want to, according to their personal set of beliefs and…show more content…
Thoreau protests in an active way on the one hand, since he renounces the government’s law of taxation, but he does so in a non violent manner. This is precisely why the essay is called “Civil Disobedience”. Libertarianism, hence, advocates individuals to be just towards themselves and towards others by not harming them, to be active by living life consciously, and lastly, it advocates free will versus determinism, since people are free to make their own decisions which are based on their own personal sets of beliefs; “a wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority”. (page 777) In an imaginary society where people would simply confirm to the government’s rules and laws without taking any stand, one could argue that those individuals have no free will and therefore are deterministically bound to obey the government. Thoreau strongly rejects to this sort of passivity and says “ I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion”. (page
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