Past Meetup

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

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Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) is an essay by American transcendentalist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentalism) Henry David Thoreau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau) that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government) to overrule or atrophy their consciences (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscience), and that they have a duty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty) to avoid allowing such acquiescence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acquiescence) to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Injustice). Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery) and the Mexican–American War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican%E2%80%93American_War).

The government, according to Thoreau, is not just a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work, but in fact the government is primarily an agent of corruption (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption) and injustice. Because of this, it is "not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize."

Political philosophers have counseled caution about revolution because the upheaval of revolution typically causes a lot of expense and suffering. What does Thoreau say of this.

There are those that say Saul Alinsky in his "Rules for Radicals" borrowed from Thoreau's essay but radicalized it to achieve an end result which was exactly what Thoreau wrote against which morphed into what is called today "Chicago Politics". Is there anything to this? Well that is what we do The Thinkers Club will figure it out. Civil Disobedience and Rules for Radicals can be found at any book store and all the librariews, also the text can be found on line, so mark your calanders and see you there.