Blog 16: Civil Disobedience

Thoreau stated in his piece “Civil Disobedience” that “that government is best which governs least.”. I, personally, would tend to agree with this. On the political spectrum I would consider myself far more libertarian than authoritarian. I strongly believe that the government should try to maintain fairly disconnected with the day to day life of its citizens, as this helps to ensure that the government is controlled by the people and for the people. I am also a large proponent of a free market economy. This means that I want businesses to be able to manage themselves with very little government interference. Of course there are exceptions to this such as certain laws pertaining to labor conditions, monopolies, etc. I think that leaving the public to its own devices for the most part is the best way to ensure personal freedoms are maintained. The main role that I believe our government should occupy is the protection of “life, liberty, and property”. A government that would earn my respect would be a government that limits its own power and has checks and balances to prevent corruption. A government that would dedicate itself to maintaining freedom and upholding the values of democracy. A government such as this would command my respect because it would encourage many of the values that I have stated above. People should control the government, not the other way around, as many nations were in times not all too long before Thoreau. Even today there are nations in which the government oppresses its citizen’s. Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” has influenced some of the most well known protesters of all time. These figures include Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.. Civil Disobedience still carries a very important role today. It is the manner in which we control the direction our nation travels. Older methods are still used today such as “marches” or traditional protests, however, today we also have social media campaigns and political podcast, and other technologically new ways of letting the people’s voice be heard. This is still effective today, and we see evidence of civil disobedience influencing elections. 2016 was one of the most controversial presidential elections, and due to the amount of news, protests, and general noise about it, the election yielded a record high in voter participation. I don’t believe civil disobedience will die, as long as democracy is not dead.

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