Civil Disobedience In Henry David Thoreau's Critique Of Democracy

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Although the significance of Thoreau’s philosophy in this sphere and how he has become a source of inspiration for many activists and thinkers, however, the problem with his theory is the exaggerated scepticism regarding the outcomes of the democratic process. Also, an excessive reliance on individuality and individual conscience at the expense of collective will. Thoreau’s approach regarding democracy, government and civil disobedience is quite ideal and not suitable for the actual world we live in. In this sense Vivas (1995) has stated that “Thoreau's ideals are inoperative in the real, everyday world ... they are politically useless”. His critique of democracy resembles exhortations based on an ideal ethical philosophy that is difficult …show more content…
It is a permissible political action in the shadow of democracy regardless of the existence a law authorizing or preventing it. Disobeying unjust laws is a moral duty before to be a political duty as Martin Luther King has said “One has … a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” (King, 1963). Resorting to civil disobedience might become the first choice for dissidents as long as the ruling majorities do not respond to the demands of the disgruntles. Civil disobedience has a prominent role to play in a democracy since the latter groans under mistakes that were accumulated due to the preference of the pragmatic aspects at the expense of humanitarian in the governments’ policies. Civil disobedience is justifiable in a democracy since the official democratic institutions are not willing to listen to protestors and take their critiques into consideration. Civil disobedience is reasonable when the majority governments strive to restrict the work of opposition only under the dome of Parliament. Civil disobedience becomes necessary when majority governments seek to become tyrannical in the name of democracy and become corrupt and unlawful in the name of law, as Mahatma Gandhi has stated “Civil disobedience … becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt” (Rai, 2000, p.

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