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Sunday, July 10, 2005

On Civil Disobediance

Since Judith Miller was sent up the river for honoring her agreement with a source, many pundits have been spouting off about civil disobediance, its history, and how they think it should be used.

I've heard the opinion that Civil Disobediance is acceptable only if the protester accepts the legal consequences of his actions. Thoreau spent a night in jail. Many civil rights protesters did as well, following sit-ins.

If a law is unjust, then the consequences for breaking it are unjust as well. If they can be avoided, then so much the better. The system is more likely to be eroded by the unchecked defiance of its rules than by one violation.

The reason that so many believe a protester must accept the consequences is that they do not want to undermine the entire system. They believe that the government is fine. They believe it can do whatever it wants, to whom it wants, when it wants, and everything is great. They only have a problem when the government comes after them.

I have news for you. Everyone is a minority. When we allow the neighbor's house to be demolished for a sports arena, we pave the way for a parking lot in our own yard.

That being said, overthrowing the government is not a good idea either, but I see no reason to accept one type of oppression in exchange for protesting another. Both are unjust. Protest, contrary to popular opinion, is not about the protestor's ego. It is about improving society.


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