Civil Disobedience Essay Thesis On Pearl
One reason why the people who do acts of civil disobedience in the digital realm, say hacking and defacing a website, are more likely to try to hide their identity is because they can potentially get years in a federal prison for doing so. On the other hand, chaining yourself to the front doors of a business may land you in jail, but usually just for a few hours or overnight at most.
Civil disobedience essay thesis
Civil Disobedience. Just the title of Thoreau’s essay makes me grin and almost rub my hands together in mischievous delight. I’ve always believed that everyone practices some form of civil disobedience in their lives. For some, it’s the daily wink-wink type of disobedience like disregarding the speed limit, having a couple cocktails before driving home, or running a stop sign. All of these and many others are condoned in some fashion by non-enforcement of existing laws or by economic interests at odds with common sense. And, for the most part, we seem to be ok with these forms of disobedience until someone gets hurt. Indeed, this form of disobedience is not really done as an agitation for change but more for personal convenience. For others, civil disobedience is a weapon for change, a refusal to conform, a protest against war, or an action relating to some other moral issue deeply felt by an individual or individuals.
Although civil disobedience often overlaps broadly with other typesof dissent, nevertheless some rough distinctions may be drawn betweenthe key features of civil disobedience and the key features of theseother practices.
Thoreau says that any man who chooses to fight should have something to fight for. Now why would he approve of Luke if Luke had no reason, other then he was drunk, to fight the law. Civil disobedience is the rebellion of government to suit the needs of the people. Thoreau had a reason to not pay taxes he didn't think he should be paying for a war he didn't agree with.On Rawls's account of civil disobedience, in a nearly just society,civil disobedients address themselves to the majority to show that, intheir considered opinion, the principles of justice governingcooperation amongst free and equal persons have not been respected bypolicymakers. Rawls's restriction of civil disobedience to breachesthat defend the principles of justice may be criticised for itsnarrowness since, presumably, a wide range of legitimate values notwholly reducible to justice, such as transparency, security,stability, privacy, integrity, and autonomy, could motivate people toengage in civil disobedience. However, Rawls does allow thatconsiderations arising from people's comprehensive moral outlooks maybe offered in the public sphere provided that, in due course, peoplepresent public reasons, given by a reasonable political conception ofjustice, sufficient to support whatever their comprehensive doctrineswere introduced to support (Rawls, 1996). Rawls's proviso grants thatpeople often engage in the public sphere for a variety of reasons; soeven when justice figures prominently in a person's decision to usecivil disobedience, other considerations could legitimately contributeto her decision to act. The activism of Martin Luther King Jr. is acase in point. King was motivated by his religious convictions and hiscommitments to democracy, equality, and justice to undertake protestssuch as the Montgomery bus boycott. Rawls maintains that, while hedoes not know whether King thought of himself as fulfilling thepurpose of the proviso, King could have fulfilled it; and had heaccepted public reason he certainly would have fulfilled it. Thus, onRawls's view, King's activism is civil disobedience.Conscientiousness: This feature, highlighted in almost allaccounts of civil disobedience, points to the seriousness, sincerityand moral conviction with which civil disobedients breach the law. Formany disobedients, their breach of law is demanded of them not only byself-respect and moral consistency but also by their perception of theinterests of their society. Through their disobedience, they drawattention to laws or policies that they believe require reassessment orrejection. Whether their challenges are well-founded is another matter,which will be taken up in Section 2.Legal Protest: The obvious difference between legal protestand civil disobedience is that the former lies within the bounds of thelaw, but the latter does not. Most of the other features exemplified incivil disobedience can be found in legal protest including aconscientious and communicative demonstration of protest, a desire tobring about through moral dialogue some lasting change in policy orprinciple, an attempt to educate and to raise awareness, and so on. Thedifference in legality translates into a more significant, moraldifference when placed against the backdrop of a general moralobligation to follow the law. If it is morally wrong to breach the law,then special justification is required for civil disobedience which isnot required for legal protest. However, the political regime in whichobedience is demanded may be relevant here. David Lyons maintains thatthe Jim Crow laws (racial segregation laws in force in the southern USuntil 1964), British colonial rule in India, and chattel slavery inantebellum America offer three refutations of the view that civildisobedience requires moral justification in morally objectionableregimes. According to Lyons, there can be no moral presumption infavour of obedience to the law in such regimes, and therefore no moraljustification is required for civil disobedience. ‘Insofar ascivil disobedience theory assumes that political resistance requiresmoral justification even in settings that are morally comparable to JimCrow,’ says Lyons, ‘it is premised on serious moralerror.’ (Lyons, 1998, 39). If one takes the view that there is nogeneral moral obligation to follow the law (irrespective of regime),then both adherence to the law and breach of law must be judged not ontheir legality, but on their character and consequences. And this wouldmean that, even in morally reprehensible regimes, justification may bedemanded for civil disobedience that either has significant negativeconsequences or falls below certain moral standards.