Essay From Civil Disobedience

The best thing a person of means can do, he writes, is “to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor.” Or, presumably, if one has never been so, to follow the poors' lead.The paradox of Thoreau’s assertion that the least powerful present the greatest threat to the State resolves in his recognition that the State’s power rests not in its appeal to “sense, intellectual or moral” but in its “superior physical strength.” By simply refusing to yield to threats, anyone---even ordinary, powerless people---can deny the government’s authority, “until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.” Read Thoreau’s complete essay, “Civil Disobedience,” here.History is rife with examples of oppressive governments. But I see no moral reason to condemn people for fighting injustice, provided their cause itself is just.The present is rife with examples of oppressive governments. The question that presents itself to any opposition is what is to be done? Neither, of course, did Henry David Thoreau, author of the 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience,” a document that every student of Political Philosophy 101 knows as an ur-text of modern democratic protest movements.The figure he cites of “a sixth of the population” is not erroneous. Thoreau found both this developing nightmare and the Mexican-American war too intolerably unjust for the country to bear.And he recognized the limitations of elections to resolve them: “All voting is a sort of gaming...Related Content: 6 Political Theorists Introduced in Animated “School of Life” Videos: Marx, Smith, Rawls & More Hear 21 Hours of Lectures & Talks by Howard Zinn, Author of the Bestselling A People’s History of the United States ‘Tired of Giving In’: The Arrest Report, Mug Shot and Fingerprints of Rosa Parks (December 1, 1955) Martin Luther King, Jr.Civil Disobedience and Other Essays is a collection of some of Henry David Thoreau's most important essays. Of course, if enough people did it then you'd see things happen; I notice that Mexicans are already starting to boycott Mcdonalds and Starbucks. It's now well-established that the internet is a powerful tool for organizing collective action.

This is an essay we have become all-too familiar with by reputation rather than by reading.

and other non-violent Human Rights and Anti-War leaders around the world. Here are the basics of his prescriptions, with his words in quotes: "I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts.” Thoreau then goes on to describe his particular form of resistance, the non-payment of tax.

His thesis here, however, allows for any just refusals to recognize government authority.“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison.” Thoreau himself suffered little, it’s true, but millions who came after him—dissidents on all continents save Antarctica—have endured imprisonment, beating, and death.

Part of the problem with organising a boycott is that it's hard to know which things are actually American.

The app takes care of that; it has a crowdsourced database of information which lets it quickly decide that Brand X will send 34% of the money you pay to the US, but Brand Y only 12%.

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