Sunday, April 15, 2012

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Civil DisobedienceCivil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoreau condemns slavery and the Mexican–American War in Civil Disobedience. He advocates breaking the law where the law advocates you being an agent of evil. He advocates abolitionists not paying their taxes. His premise is that you best express your love for your country, its government, and the law by refusing to participate in its injustice and its violence. So far, so good.

He seems to prefer not paying your taxes over using your vote for the "available" subpar candidate or petitioning the state. While perhaps this was an option in the 1800s, it appears the US government has gained a lot of power over its citizens in the last 160 years, because that's no longer an option unless you want to just rot in jail. Obviously, people were jailed even for "petitioning the government" during the Civil Rights Movement, but Thoreau seems to have avoided jail (except for one night) while not paying his taxes. Citizens appear to have gained more freedom to protest and lost the freedom to refuse to pay their taxes (unless you happen to be super rich and can just claim losses while living the good life).

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