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Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have... Options
Daemon
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
jcbarros
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 10:52:21 AM

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Dura lex sed lex.d'oh!
Verbatim
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 1:34:56 PM
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Joined: 10/3/2012
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Daemon wrote:
Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


"Lex malla, lex nulla - A bad law is no law." (St. Thomas Aquinas)

The question was yet "shall we transgress them at once?" All for a night spent in jail did Thoreau write "Civil Disobedience"?

"Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?



Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her - the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution.

-- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience (1849) 


Bully_rus
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 1:37:26 PM
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All three approaches have its merits, as well as fourth - scrap a law. Only context can make a differences count: what country, degree of problem, political alignment, maturity of system etc.
capitán
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 3:43:52 PM

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Location: San Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
There are laws which dictate the manner in which we, humankind, have to live within the political boundaries we ourselves have erected. These tells us how to behave, what the proper way to act is and what actions are punishable. Still, many would say that there are myriads of things that have gone wrong, are going wrong and things that were wrong since the very beginning.

Just by the looks of it, we can tell things are more than obviously wrong and something should be done about it, though it is easier said than done. Thoreau believed that a minority is powerless while it comforms to the majority; he believed in a minority actually doing something. Now, I would like to say “break the rules! Whenever you come across a rule that you know is wrong, then break it!” Nevertheless, how does one know that his own criterion is right? How do you know that what you are willing to do is the right thing? How do you find the way to join the minority that actually does something? How do you reach the peaceable revolution?
Verbatim
Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 10:58:57 PM
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Thoreau would not be amused at how some of our contemporary minorities would fit the bill for his complaints. He might--perish the outrageous thought-- even find good reason to lament the government's failure to really cherish the wise majority.
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