This essay will explain and analyze two essays by individuals who express entirely different opinions of civil disobedience. In his essay, “Civil Disobedience: Destroyer of Democracy”, Lewis H. Van Dusen strongly discourages the use of civil disobedience as a means for change. He feels that this act of disobedience directly contradicts our democratic system. The other individual being compared in this essay is Henry David Thoreau; who in his essay, “Civil Disobedience”, supports the act of peacefully challenging or protesting unjust laws. He impugns us to do what is morally right, and to not be afraid to take a stand against injustice.
It does not settle the west. It does not educate.” Thoreau also uses powerful imagery in order to persuade his readers towards his ideals. He believed that one must be conscious of the laws they choose to obey and disobey, whether or not they are in the minority. The people should not be tricked into believing that neither the government nor the majority will know what is right and what is wrong. Instead, Thoreau remarks that it is up to every man to decide for himself what is right based on his moral standards and ethics.
He said “at the center of non-violence stands the principle of love” (Martin Luther King Junior). Malcolm x believed that the only way to stop violence is by any means necessary. He believed that if someone hits you and you ignore it, that person is going to continue hitting you. He said, “Obey the law, respect everyone, but if someone puts their hands on you, sent him to the cemetery”. Malcolm was not a violent person he just did not like people to take advantage of him or his people.
On the issue of admiration Machiavelli states that a prince ideally should be loved and feared, but it is more important that he be feared. It is more likely that his citizens would be loyal to him if they feared him. I believe that the true nature of man has not changed since Machiavelli’s time. I think that most modern governments still employ many of his general principals for ruling. Laws and punishment are necessary to prevent people from committing crimes.
This common message, not only between the two works in discussion but in many others, is that of the duty of the people themselves to disobey unjust laws and demands of the government in question. In most forms of civil disobedience, the main driving force is that of the participating individual’s disagreement with the common law of the government, sometimes referred to as human law, and their personal moral beliefs which are sometimes referred to as divine or natural law. Sophocles’ “Antigone” provides a clear example of such a conflict in beliefs where in the
A man has an obligation to act according to the commands of his conscience, even if it goes against majority opinion, the reigning leadership, or the laws of society. In cases where the government supports unjust laws Thoreau's idea of service to one's country ironically takes the form of resistance against it. Resistance is the highest form of patriotism because it demonstrates a desire not to overthrow government but to build a better one in the long term. Thoreau just wants to eliminate the ideas that make it a bad government not the entire government itself. Thoreau then talks about the issue of change through democratic ways.
Thoreau implies that as long as one moral person can stand up for himself, others will follow and eventually force change. Second, civil disobedience is a method of political engagement: its goal must be aimed at bringing the law into conformity with the requirements of justice. No civil state is perfect – all contracts have compromises and flaws. As a united people of a state, it must have its general will parallel to the path of justice to ensure freedom and equality. Therefore, the general will of the people requires that laws be amended to reflect morality and justice.
Gandhi was a man that would “strain every nerve to make Truth and Non-violence accepted in all our national activities” (i.e. Gandhi, 358). He believed that if India could get out of control and show the world that progress could be made, he would show other nations that they too, could gain their own power as a self governed nation. Gandhi and Marx would agree on terms of having self governing nations because Marx’s main goal was Communism. While Marx thought that strength in numbers mattered and how many Proletariats could take down the Bourgeois class, Gandhi believed that “strength does not come from physical capacity” (i.e.
"Let him hit you but don't hit him back". This quote is from a non-violence member telling the non-violence league not to have violent behaviors. It was Gandhi's method of working out his league. He meant to do it, and have no self-defense against the British to make them be frustrated, and solve the conflicts between the Indians and British in a peaceful way. Since, he made his non-violence league, Gandhi has been and he is a role model and/or heroic person to the Indian's.
If we take to violence we will not be able to reach God after we die, unless we repent. Some chief exponents of non-violence are Mahavir Jaina, Gautam Buddha, Ashok and Mahatma Gandhi were the chief exponents of non-violence.Mahavir Jain and his followers were strictly no-violent. They were wearing thin pieces of cloth on their nostrils to filter air to breathe in. Because they feared that worms might get into their bodies and die. Still to this day, the jainas follows the same principle.