28 November 2010
Civil Disobedience: Power in the Hands of the Betrayed
Evolution is the gradual development of an entity into a more complex and improved form. Since the beginning of civilization, governmental bodies have evolved into more equal and just forms. However, governments haven’t independently progressed; individuals, both those that govern and those governed, have helped its advancement. I firmly agree with Albert Einstein that we should “never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it” (Einstein, Quotegarden). This implies that there are problems with the state, something we all can agree upon. Here, we should heed Clarence Darrow’s words, “as long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever”(Darrow, Quotegarden). We the people deserve freedom, and any wrong that impairs our freedom should be justified. Revolutions are our way to bring about these justifications. There are many types of revolution, but of all, civil disobedience remains the most intricate and, in many cases, the most effective. Throughout history, acts of civil disobedience have forced the reassessment of society's moral parameters. Gandhi’s resistance to British rule in India, the suffragette movement, and the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., all exemplify the importance of civil disobedience as a mechanism for social change. However, throughout history there have doubtlessly been numerous acts of civil disobedience that have failed due to untimeliness or impropriety. Examples include the Tank Man in Tiananmen Square, Iran peace protests and Palestine against Israel. Why did they fail? Was civil disobedience needed then? More importantly, when is civil disobedience needed? Civil disobedience is a response to an unjust law. Laws are simply words etched on pieces of paper. These words will be...