For example, the opponents of Israel employed legal trickery to stop the reconstruction of the Jewish temple Ezra 4:1—5, 24. Howard responded that the notion of the individual right of dissent and resistance did not exist in all cultures, though doubtless it was not confined to the protestant ethic. Alabama State Troopers Attack Protestors. In terms of his more general arguments, you found in Thoreau a number of different images and concepts of the role of the individual and the state. A dissenter may believe that her cause is just and that her disobedience is morally permissible, but she might be mistaken either about the facts or about her principles. Under British rule in India, the British were harshly oppressive and only interested in exploiting products from India for their own use, causing many Indians to become extremely poor. Such a collapse of government would return us to a state of nature, in which case we would experience all the dangers that come with that condition.
For this reason, unannounced or initially covert disobedience is sometimes preferable to actions undertaken publicly and with fair warning. For Gandhi, civil disobedience did not imply disrespect for the law as such but a conviction that the particular law was wrong and therefore should be broken. All political philosophies had important ethical elements in them, and that was true too of the notion of world citizenship. To put it in the terms of St. An alternative response to Raz questions whether the right to civil disobedience must be derived from rights to political participation. While directness may ensure that the objective of the dissent is understood, it has disadvantages; and in some contexts direct action cannot be justified. My conscience will not allow me to countenance this kind of action, and therefore I am withholding my support, or taking action against it.
The focus here will be the issue of appropriate punishment. Given the nature of her conduct and objectives, she is likely to try to evade the legal consequences of her action. But a Constitution that can mean whatever five justices want it to mean is exactly the same as no Constitution at all. When one has a different purpose, bringing one into conflict with the law, why would one not break it? First, there is the problem of specifying an appropriate notion of violence. .
But whether one could do that in most Western secular societies was questionable. If a person publicises her intention to breach the law, then she provides both political opponents and legal authorities with the opportunity to abort her efforts to communicate Smart 1991, 206. Two final factors concerning a disobedient's choice of action are non-violence and directness. Mill maintains in On Liberty that if there are any persons who contest a received opinion, we should thank them for it, open our minds to listen to them, and rejoice that there is someone to do for us what we otherwise ought to do ourselves Mill 1999, 90. Its appropriateness is structured in part by the political regime, the tone of the social environment, the actions taken by other political participants, and so on. United State Department of Justice, n. And not only is nonviolence intrinsically virtuous, it also lends moral authority to the effectiveness of civil disobedience as a form of strategic action.
The right of personal defense is empty, however, if the means of self-defense are illegal. The use of nonviolence runs throughout history however the fusion of organized mass struggle and nonviolence is relatively new. Spiritual dimension Bob commented that April had virtually removed religion from the discussion in her opening paragraph. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. Third, violence, depending on its form, does not necessarily obscure the communicative quality of a disobedient's action as Rawls and Peter Singer suggests it does Singer 1973, 86.
Liberals of the Age hold these pieties to be self-evident it states that violence is equal and must be condemned equally; and that non-violent civil disobedience is everywhere and a more effective tactic when it comes to social and political justice. Due to the works of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr. Laws are a basket from which we have to pick and choose because to obey unjust laws leads to anarchy just as fast as not obeying just laws. How should the law respond to people who engage in civil disobedience? While commonly taken to refer to pacifist objections to military service, conscientious objection, says Raz, may apply to any law, negative or positive, that a person believes for moral reasons she is compelled to disobey. If civil disobedience becomes an accepted form of lobbying for a law change, does the law not become useless? In political theory it was related to Kant and his pamphlet Perpetual Peace, and to thinking about the notion of global democracy and global citizenship.
The pluralistic approach raises the question whether being motivated by civil disobedience might give the law a reason to show mercy towards an offender. John Rawls, the contemporary theorist of liberalism, justified it very much in these terms, drawing on Gandhian precepts, whether consciously or as a result of the logic of his own position. Thus, an authoritarian ruler is needed. Rawls maintains that, while he does not know whether King thought of himself as fulfilling the purpose of the proviso, King could have fulfilled it; and had he accepted public reason he certainly would have fulfilled it. Lets take something serious first, say murder.
From these two traditions rise the principal contemporary arguments for legal obligation, which concern respectively consent, gratitude, promise-keeping, fairness, necessary institutions, and public good. Yes it is chaotic but chaos is unavoidable. Millions of Americans were outraged by images such as the one below, and demanded action The Voting Rights Act. This willingness to accept, in principle, the workings of a system based on the will of the majority, even when you yourself are in the minority, is simply the essence of democracy. This is not to say that you have an obligation to devote your life to fighting for justice, but you do have an obligation not to commit injustice and not to give injustice your practical support.
To engage in civil disobedience is to walk on a slippery slope. It was much harder to demonstrate that individual conscientious protest in a society which was more liberal had those kinds of repercussions and political significance. This is a fundamental point of disagreement with Kant. Fellow clergy had been asking him the same question: How could he, a minister, break the law? No one is more innocent than the unborn, who are clearly presented as human persons in Scripture e. But he felt we could and should insist on better.