Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?
Even at the known risk of getting branded as a boring old uncle, I must admit into finding this essay fascinatingly metal. It was from some gandhian readings that I got introduced into this venerated magnum opus whose relevance transcends over centuries(also freely available on internet). Mahatma Gandhi has undoubtedly elevated Thoreau’s duty of Civil Disobedience from the level of individual consciousness to the ethics of a collective, during his Non-Violence movement.
A weak historic background might look something like this- Then president of United States was a demagogue(not demogorgon), and Thoreau belonged to the meager minority, who were morally troubled by the Government policies on slavery and Mexican war. So when asked, he refuses to pay State tax, as, according to him, giving allegiance to an invading war waging State is against his consciousness. Anyway, Tax was as certain as death even then, as it is now, and fractious Thoreau was put behind bars for withholding the same. Well, he continued being metal by welcoming the jail – ‘Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison’, and writing a whole essay in that direction. Thoreau was really thorough with his ideas, pun intended.
In this essay, he severely criticizes political passivism, and those who escape under the argument of not knowing what to do. Then followed portions I wasn’t able to completely comprehend except for the seemingly subtle yet lurid difference between what is right by law and what is just. Though the most obvious and convenient illustration to understand Civil Disobedient argument would be the recent Trump government, I urge readers to hyphenate the philosophy with one’s personal, more accessible demurs.
I am heavily under resourced to review this, but what amuses me is the relevance of this essay in today as well as the course of history it has been preserved along. It is highly difficult to register your opinion these days without being branded into the prejudiced categories everyone seems so eager to fit in.