Should Civil Disobedience Be Violent or Non-Violent?

Topics: Civil disobedience, Henry David Thoreau, Nonviolence Pages: 2 (473 words) Published: May 21, 2013
Should civil disobedience be violent or non-violent?
Rishi Wadhwani
Due date: 02/05/12

Should Civil disobedience be violent or non-violent?

Civil disobedience is the refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of the government. According to the etymology, civil disobedience has been present since the division of political power. There are many reasons why violent civil misbehaviour can be encouraged; nevertheless, the use of violence to treat with citizens can have a negative re-percussion.

Firstly, the use of violence to punish individuals refusing to follow the law is one of the most common methods of fighting against conflictive citizens. In many cases, violence is the only solution: “[A]n unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so ... This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment.” (Mahatma G. 1942, Non-violence in Peace and War). If the violence is used without any aim to kill or injure anyone, it is justified. The American and French revolution ended with peace-full democracies.

On the other hand, the use of violence can lead to a negative image of the government; this could lead to the loss of respect and control. The use of violence leads to innocent people getting involved in violent acts: “[T]he ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it ... Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” |(1967/2011 Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, pp. 62–63). |

Furthermore, the only way to break down the circle of violence is to protest peacefully, in many cases the government applies rules that do not alter to the nature of the citizens, this leads to conflicts. This is a idea...
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