disobey like Thoreau

As a child, the thought of punishment was enough to keep us from disobeying our parents or teachers.  The majority of adults obey for the same reason. Punishments are unpleasant and to be avoided.

Then there is the relatively small group of people who disobey simply to be doing so.  “The criminal element” I suppose one could call it.

The group that usually isn’t spoken of though, or if it is, the words are proud and not derogatory, is the Civilly Disobediant.

That’s my home group.

I strongly believe that civil disobedience is not just a right, but a mandate in our society. Protesting the socially, politically unacceptable is the oe tool all citizens have to show the government that we are angry and simply not going to put up with it (whatever the “it” is at the time).

“Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?”
― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

6 thoughts on “disobey like Thoreau

  1. Thoreau spent a night in jail for his refusal to pay taxes in protest of the Mexican War and it is thought that this night in jail prompted him to write Civil Disobedience.


    1. I spent a night in jail protesting POTUS45…guess I’d better start a book now. lol


  2. The only issue I have with promoting civil disobedience is that it often isn’t that civil and it sometimes evolves from disobedience to destruction. I’m all for peaceful demonstrations to protest the “it” of the day, but it seems there are those whose primary goal is to disrupt and to remove the peaceful out of peaceful demonstrations.


    1. and that is not civil disobedience, but rioting. I am NEVER for rioting. Never for physical attacks upon humans..not even disgusting or despicable ones. Civil disobedience is refusing, quietly but firmly, to follow an unlawful order, governmental demands for the purpose of influencing legislation or government policy, and is characterized by using such nonviolent techniques as boycotting, picketing, and nonpayment of taxes. Marchs for awareness on a large scale are a part of it.


  3. Hear, hear! The civilly disobedient are the real heroes of the world. Good for you, Suze!


  4. PS I’d love to read that book.


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