Godlike Productions - Discussion Forum
Users Online Now: 2,107 (Who's On?)Visitors Today: 971,612
Pageviews Today: 1,562,344Threads Today: 469Posts Today: 8,370
02:31 PM


Rate this Thread

Absolute BS Crap Reasonable Nice Amazing
 

Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)

 
beauvoir
Offer Upgrade

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 08:29 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]

Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War (1846–1848).
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 08:37 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
Resistance also served as part of Thoreau's metaphor comparing the government to a machine: when the machine was producing injustice, it was the duty of conscientious citizens to be "a counter friction" (i.e., a resistance) "to stop the machine".[3]
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 08:42 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
[link to www.sparknotes.com (secure)]

Thoreau begins his essay by arguing that government rarely proves itself useful and that it derives its power from the majority because they are the strongest group, not because they hold the most legitimate viewpoint. He contends that people's first obligation is to do what they believe is right and not to follow the law dictated by the majority. When a government is unjust, people should refuse to follow the law and distance themselves from the government in general. A person is not obligated to devote his life to eliminating evils from the world, but he is obligated not to participate in such evils. This includes not being a member of an unjust institution (like the government). Thoreau further argues that the United States fits his criteria for an unjust government, given its support of slavery and its practice of aggressive war.
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 08:56 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
[link to www.fff.org (secure)]

Thoreau’s criticism is aimed at the form of obedience that springs from a genuine respect for the authority of the state. This obedience says, “The law is the law and should be respected regardless of content.” Through such attitudes, otherwise good men become agents of injustice.

Thoreau dissects the notion that “the law is the law and should be respected.” For one thing, not all laws are equal. Some laws exist for no other reason than to protect the government — for example, laws against tax evasion or contempt of court. Such laws often have more severe penalties than those that protect individuals against violence.

Moreover, the proscribed penalties for denying government’s authority are often so vague and sweeping as to invite arbitrary sentences from the court. Lawyers and the courts are part of the state’s defensive machinery. Thoreau concludes,

The lawyer’s truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency…. He well deserves to be called … the Defender of the Constitution…. Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, “Because it was part of the original compact,— let it stand.” [He] is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations….

Such courts offer no protection to Thoreau, who refuses to respect their authority. But he takes his refusal one step further. He not only rejects unjust laws but also the men who enact them. He withdraws his support from politicians who “rarely make any moral distinctions [and] are as likely to serve the Devil, without intending it, as God.”

Thoreau’s use of the word “intending” is significant. Even well-intentioned politicians stand so completely within the institution of government that they never distinctly and nakedly behold it. Whatever they intend, they serve the government’s ends.

Thoreau’s disdain for politicians may seem a logical extension of his disrespect for “the law” but many reformers disrespected the law without holding lawmakers personally responsible. The viewpoint of such people overlooked the role of “choice,” Thoreau argues. Every politician who enacts a law chooses to do so; every agent who enforces a law chooses to do so. If officials create or enforce a law with which they disagree, then they have surrendered their conscience to the state and should be held personally responsible for that decision.

Holding politicians personally responsible is not the last step in Thoreau’s withdrawal of support. He denies the authority of government itself. Again, rejecting politicians may logically seem to imply the rejection of government; but, again, many reformers rejected politicians without rejecting politics.

Thoreau holds such reformers personally responsible as well.

Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform.

The problem with reformers

Thoreau specifically addresses fellow abolitionists who called for the immediate cessation of slavery. Instead of petitioning the government to dissolve the Union with slaveholders, Thoreau believed those reformers should dissolve “the union between themselves and the State,— and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury.” Petitions only strengthened the authority of the government by recognizing its authority and honoring the will of the majority. “[Any] man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already,” he observes.

The reformers who petition government for permission “love better to talk” about justice than to act on it. Thus, Thoreau concludes, “Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man.” To men who prefer a safe strategy, voting becomes a substitute for action and politics becomes a sort of game, like checkers or backgammon, only with a slight moral tinge.

To Thoreau, anyone willing to leave moral decisions to the will of the majority is not really concerned that right should prevail. When resisting the poll tax, he did not consult the majority; he acted. If he had allowed the majority to decide whether or not he should pay, by his own standards he would have shown no regard for what is right.

Moreover, Thoreau considers voting to be a poor vehicle for reform because voting follows real change; it does not precede or cause it. “When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery,” he writes, “it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote.” As for the other means that the state provides for changes to itself, they are extraordinarily slow. Thoreau notes, “They take too much time, and a man’s life will be gone.”
A duty to resist?

Does this mean men have a duty to pitch their life against an unjust state?

“Civil Disobedience” speaks to the individual’s right to resist the state but Thoreau does not consider disobedience to be an overriding duty. He understands that men are involved in the business of living and he thinks this is proper even for a dogged reformer like himself. He writes, “I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.” First and foremost, he clearly stated, people should live their lives.

This is a crucial distinction. If a man is fortunate enough to be in circumstances that resemble Thoreau’s huckleberry field, “where the state was nowhere to be seen,” then he has no duty to seek it out but should, instead, go about the business of living. Thoreau defied the state only when it knocked on his door and demanded his money in support of an institution he considered to be unjust — slavery. Thereafter, when the state ignored him, Thoreau ignored it, even though his neighbors were taxed around him.

Thus, although “Civil Disobedience” is sometimes entitled “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” the latter is somewhat misleading. Indeed, the word “duty” may have derived from the essay’s critique and rejection of a chapter from William Paley’s book Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy. That chapter is entitled “Duty of Submission to Civil Government.”

According to Thoreau’s interpretation of the 18th-century philosopher, Paley argues that all civil obligations derive from expediency. Since Thoreau attempts to show the opposite — that civil obedience is morally grounded — the title “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” may have played on Paley’s title.

Nevertheless, “Civil Disobedience” does not espouse a duty to seek out the state for confrontation, to protest a wrong done to your neighbor, or even to resist the state in matters that do not violate conscience, such as buying a postage stamp.

The only political duty of a man is to correct any injustice he directly causes and to deny his cooperation to other injustice. This is the conclusion at which “Civil Disobedience” arrives.

If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself….

… If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too.

In short, Thoreau believed the state should never rank above the individual conscience or the business of living. But if the state demands a person’s first allegiance by asking him to violate his conscience and participate in an injustice, the person should disobey — not through violence but by removing his cooperation.
Thoreau’s legacy

Thoreau’s political theories were not well known during his own time. They were usually presented as lectures to small audiences or as articles buried in small-circulation periodicals.

“Civil Disobedience,” for example, was first rendered as a lecture at the Concord Meeting Hall. In 1849, it was published under the title “Resistance to Civil Government” in the first and only issue of Boston Aesthetic Papers.

read...
beauvoir
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 77797825
United States
07/10/2019 09:00 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
That's asking a lot from a country increasingly populated by stupid third worlders who only want more government handouts and intervention.
cosmicgypsy

User ID: 74619032
United States
07/10/2019 09:05 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
I adored studying Thoreau in college. He makes perfect sense....like fine French pastry tastes perfect.

Loved reading him....hf
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. -Buckminster Fuller


...I adapt to the unknown,
under wandering stars I've grown,
by myself, but not alone...

[link to www.youtube.com (secure)]
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 09:16 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
[link to www.fff.org (secure)]

The opening sentence of “Civil Disobedience” sets the tone by endorsing Thomas Jefferson’s much quoted sentiment on government — “That government is best which governs least.” Then Thoreau carries Jefferson’s logic one step further:

Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient….

After what appears to be a call for anarchism, Thoreau pulls back and dissociates himself from “no-government men.” Speaking in practical terms and “as a citizen,” he states, “I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”

Whatever his position on government, one point is clear: Thoreau denies the right of any government to automatic and unthinking obedience. Obedience should be earned and it should be withheld from an unjust government. To drive this point home, “Civil Disobedience” dwells on how the Founding Fathers rebelled against an unjust government, which raises the question of when rebellion is justified.

To answer, Thoreau compares government to a machine and the problems of government to “friction.” Friction is normal to a machine so that its mere presence cannot justify revolution. But open rebellion does become justified in two cases: first, when the friction comes to have its own machine, that is, when the injustice is no longer occasional but a major characteristic; and, second, when the machine demands that people cooperate with injustice. Thoreau declared that, if the government

requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.

Conscience vs. the collective

This is the key to Thoreau’s political philosophy. The individual is the final judge of right and wrong. More than this, since only individuals act, only individuals can act unjustly. When the government knocks on the door, it is an individual in the form of a postman or tax collector whose hand hits the wood. Before Thoreau’s imprisonment, when a confused taxman had wondered aloud about how to handle his refusal to pay, Thoreau had advised, “Resign.” If a man chose to be an agent of injustice, then Thoreau insisted on confronting him with the fact that he was making a choice. As Thoreau explained,

[It] is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel, — and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government.

But if government is “the voice of the people,” as it is often called, shouldn’t that voice be heeded? Thoreau admits that government may express the will of the majority but it may also express nothing more than the will of elite politicians. Even a good form of government is “liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.” Moreover, even if a government did express the voice of the people, this fact would not compel the obedience of individuals who disagree with what is being said. The majority may be powerful but it is not necessarily right. What, then, is the proper relationship between the individual and the government?

Perhaps the best description of Thoreau’s ideal relationship occurs in his description of “a really free and enlightened State” that recognizes “the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.” It is a state that “can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor,” allowing those who did not embrace it to live “aloof.”
War and slavery
read...
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 09:27 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
I adored studying Thoreau in college. He makes perfect sense....like fine French pastry tastes perfect.

Loved reading him....hf
 Quoting: cosmicgypsy


yes, read and reread since my high school, thoreau and the environment, warden, writers, surrounding, dating, friends, his time. .
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 09:34 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
In fact, the cooperation of the tool itself — the standing army — is required. Thoreau wonders about the psychology of men who would fight a war and, perhaps, kill others out of obedience. He concludes that soldiers, by virtue of their absolute obedience to the state, become somewhat less than human. He writes, “Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy-Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts — a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity.” This is how “the mass of men” employed by the state render service to it, “not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies.” In doing so, the men relinquish the free exercise of their moral sense and, so “put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones.”

Thoreau asks,

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.

But his “well-meaning” neighbors — even those who were opposed to slavery and the Mexican-American war — did associate with and obey the American government. Thoreau ascribes their behavior to ignorance and concludes, “They would do better if they knew how.”

The problem remains, however, why do people like Emerson — who cannot be called ignorant — render any obedience to laws with which they disagree?

One reason is obvious: the people who believe they need a government are willing to accept an imperfect one. Such people, Thoreau explains, accept government as a “necessary evil.” Other people support government out of self-interest; Thoreau specifically mentions merchants and farmers in Massachusetts who profit from the war and from slavery.

Still others obey because they fear the consequences of disobedience. This is the neighbor who says, “If I deny the authority of the State when it presents its tax-bill, it will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass me and my children without end.” Thoreau knows that his neighbor is correct in his assessment of what may happen. “When I converse with the freest of my neighbors,” he writes,

I perceive that … they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience…. This is hard. This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in outward respects.

By his own lights, Thoreau was fortunate in this respect. He had neither property to be seized nor children to go hungry. Accordingly, he did not criticize men who reluctantly obeyed an unjust law out of fear for their families.

[link to www.fff.org (secure)]
beauvoir
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 72177819
United States
07/10/2019 09:36 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
that essay , walden and his journals were a huge influence on how i live my life today .
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 09:38 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
HUMM...
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 09:43 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
[link to www.fff.org (secure)]

Thoreau’s criticism is aimed at the form of obedience that springs from a genuine respect for the authority of the state. This obedience says, “The law is the law and should be respected regardless of content.” Through such attitudes, otherwise good men become agents of injustice.

Thoreau dissects the notion that “the law is the law and should be respected.” For one thing, not all laws are equal. Some laws exist for no other reason than to protect the government — for example, laws against tax evasion or contempt of court. Such laws often have more severe penalties than those that protect individuals against violence.

Moreover, the proscribed penalties for denying government’s authority are often so vague and sweeping as to invite arbitrary sentences from the court. Lawyers and the courts are part of the state’s defensive machinery. Thoreau concludes,

The lawyer’s truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency…. He well deserves to be called … the Defender of the Constitution…. Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, “Because it was part of the original compact,— let it stand.” [He] is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations….

Such courts offer no protection to Thoreau, who refuses to respect their authority. But he takes his refusal one step further. He not only rejects unjust laws but also the men who enact them. He withdraws his support from politicians who “rarely make any moral distinctions [and] are as likely to serve the Devil, without intending it, as God.”

Thoreau’s use of the word “intending” is significant. Even well-intentioned politicians stand so completely within the institution of government that they never distinctly and nakedly behold it. Whatever they intend, they serve the government’s ends.

Thoreau’s disdain for politicians may seem a logical extension of his disrespect for “the law” but many reformers disrespected the law without holding lawmakers personally responsible. The viewpoint of such people overlooked the role of “choice,” Thoreau argues. Every politician who enacts a law chooses to do so; every agent who enforces a law chooses to do so. If officials create or enforce a law with which they disagree, then they have surrendered their conscience to the state and should be held personally responsible for that decision.

Holding politicians personally responsible is not the last step in Thoreau’s withdrawal of support. He denies the authority of government itself. Again, rejecting politicians may logically seem to imply the rejection of government; but, again, many reformers rejected politicians without rejecting politics.

Thoreau holds such reformers personally responsible as well.

Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to ref
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 09:53 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
Though Polk did enjoy popular support, "a sizeable minority of the citizenry disliked him intensely," especially a certain citizen by the name of Henry David Thoreau. The author of Walden; or, Life in the Woods believed that "true patriots were not those who blindly followed their administration" but "those who followed their own consciences and in particular, the principles of reason," even when it meant publicly standing against not just the man in office but the many who agree with him, or even when it meant running afoul of the laws of the land. He elucidated the principles behind this position in the 1849 essay "Civil Disobedience," which Josh Jones wrote about here last November.

[link to www.openculture.com]
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 09:55 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
yes thoreau
SKY* for YOU AND GOD!
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 10:27 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
Thoreau’s use of the word “intending” is significant. Even well-intentioned politicians stand so completely within the institution of government that they never distinctly and nakedly behold it. Whatever they intend, they serve the government’s ends.

Thoreau’s disdain for politicians may seem a logical extension of his disrespect for “the law” but many reformers disrespected the law without holding lawmakers personally responsible. The viewpoint of such people overlooked the role of “choice,” Thoreau argues. Every politician who enacts a law chooses to do so; every agent who enforces a law chooses to do so. If officials create or enforce a law with which they disagree, then they have surrendered their conscience to the state and should be held personally responsible for that decision.
beauvoir
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 10:41 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
HUMMMM......
beauvoir
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 75497409
United States
07/10/2019 11:00 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
One day it will be against the law to just sit and watch leaves fall.

God bless Thoreau.
beauvoir  (OP)

User ID: 77798947
Canada
07/10/2019 11:10 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]

Walden
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
This article is about the book by Henry David Thoreau. For other uses, see Walden (disambiguation).
Walden
Walden Thoreau.jpg
Original title page of Walden featuring a picture drawn by Thoreau's sister Sophia.
Author Henry David Thoreau
Original title Walden; or, Life in the Woods
Country United States
Language English
Genre Memoir
Published August 9, 1854[1] (Ticknor and Fields: Boston)
Media type Print
Walden (/ˈwɔːldən/; first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) is a book by transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The text is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and—to some degree—a manual for self-reliance.[2]

First published in 1854, Walden details Thoreau's experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau used this time to write his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. The experience later inspired Walden, in which Thoreau compresses the time into a single calendar year and uses passages of four seasons to symbolize human development.

The book can be seen as performance art, a demonstration of how easy it can be to acquire the four necessities of life. Once acquired, he believed people should then focus their efforts on personal growth.

By immersing himself in nature, Thoreau hoped to gain a more objective understanding of society through personal introspection. Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau's other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, a central theme of the American Romantic Period.

Thoreau makes precise scientific observations of nature as well as metaphorical and poetic uses of natural phenomena. He identifies many plants and animals by both their popular and scientific names, records in detail the color and clarity of different bodies of water, precisely dates and describes the freezing and thawing of the pond, and recounts his experiments to measure the depth and shape of the bottom of the supposedly "bottomless" Walden Pond.

read...
beauvoir
Dogfood

User ID: 37259724
United States
07/10/2019 11:11 PM
Report Abusive Post
Report Copyright Violation
Re: Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
popcorn

Last Edited by Dogfood™ on 07/10/2019 11:12 PM





GLP