After reading Civil Disobedience, I have realized that Thoreau and I have some things in common. I agree with his statement that “government is best which governs least.” In my eyes, government has its main use in basics functions, such as operating courts, and maintaining military and police forces. There are a few other uses that it has, but I am not a huge fan of government interfering in the lives of the people. This also applies to economic issues. In my eyes, we are better off economically when there is less government interference and less regulation. Things like tariffs, high tax rates, and government owned enterprises make the economy as a whole less efficient, which is worse for the people as a whole. Having more government means less freedom and more conformity, something Thoreau and I are not big fans of.
A government that “commands my respect,” as Thoreau says, is one that operates for the good of the people while giving the people enough freedom to make their own choices. This is a somewhat vague description that was off the top of my head, but it sounds like a pretty solid description to me. As I have said before, government allowing freedom is very important to me, but I understand that having a government at all is still integral to a well-functioning society. An overbearing government that impedes on the freedom of its people does not deserve the respect of those people.
Having protest and civil disobedience in today’s society is still very important. Like almost anything, protest in its most radical forms can be detrimental. Using violence in protest is definitely not the way to get things done, but non-violent protests can be a good way to get thoughts out there and kind of “get the pot stirring.” Another form of protest that is sometimes used is to protest the government is to refuse to pay taxes that can be considered unjust. Some people refuse to pay taxes altogether. While I understand the reasoning behind this type of disobedience, it oftentimes just ends in the perpetrator getting arrested for tax evasion. Overall, we must have protest in our society as a way to combat injustices in our world.