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My thoughts "On the Role of Civil Disobedience in a Free and Autonomous Society"

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posted on May, 3 2020 @ 02:26 PM
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I penned this in response to some thoughts expressed by someone who questioned the validity of acts of civil disobedience under the current crackdown on civil liberties.

In brief, I was sorting out my thoughts on why we (not just in the U.S., but across the world) are at a critical juncture when we need to realize the value and validity of acts of civil disobedience.

Here's the essay almost in its entirety. It's a little abbreviated...




It is an ancient, well proven, and universally accepted adage that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This truth is played out universally throughout the human experience and applies to governments as much as it applies to individuals. In this truth, civil disobedience becomes a critical part of the socio-political discourse and process of any cohesive society.

It is inevitable that a government - any government - will reach the point of imposing excessive authority over the governed not because it is right or good for the populace, but simply for the sake of power itself. When excessive laws are created, restrictions imposed, controls applied, surveillance methods universally employed “for the good of society,” the ruling class has grown beyond its usefulness and has become a threat to that which it should protect and nurture. Laws and regulations imposed outside of established legislative processes and without regard to the actual well-being or will of the people mean that they no longer exist for the actual good of any one, but for the sole purpose of exercising control for the sake of control itself.

This is where acts of civil disobedience become critical. If a "critical mass" of the population decides to stand against an oppressive regime, the regime will not have enough resources to persecute, prosecute or imprison that many people. Its only option remains the employment of violent force. In this case, the responsibility to maintain the norms of a free and autonomous society that functions within the regime of Creator endowed rights rests on the shoulders not of the government, but of the populace. If there is no critical mass, if the people do not know when to say "enough is enough," then they deserve and are complicit in whatever excessive measures are imposed upon them.

Civil disobedience has a long and well rooted history in the socio-political construct of the United States of America. From the Boston Tea Party in 1773, to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, through the civil rights movement and on to the present day situation, calm, respectful, well organized civil disobedience, when practiced en masse, is the single most powerful tool in the arsenal of a free and independent people.

Thoughtful, organized civil disobedience is respectful of the idea that “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” (Declaration of Independence, 1776) It respects those rights as they apply to others as well as to self and it realizes that if those certain unalienable Rights are not cherished, guarded and respected, a civilized and free society is not possible. This has been a foundational idea of American society since the beginning of the history of the United States. That is not to say that the government of the United States has always respected and lived up to this ideal, but the American people, rooted in a history of independence, self-sufficiency and self-determination, have historically held these principles dear to heart, even as we have grown and evolved in our understanding and application of them.

That same document that makes clear to us this idea of certain unalienable Rights also tells us that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This means that the authority of any governing figure is not derived from some invented concept of absolute authority, some perceived right to issue edicts and mandates on a whim simply because said authority considers it to be for the good of the populace, but is rooted in the the willingness of the governed to submit to the government based on the government’s bent to govern for the sole and solely for the good of the governed. Any powers exercised that are not derived from the consent of the governed can,, by extension, be considered unjust.

The document goes on to say “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

When the governed perceive that the government governs not for their benefit but for the sake of its own power, it is not only the right but the responsibility of the governed to alter the form of Government or abolish it and institute a new or refreshed form of Government in its place.

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following in a letter to William Stephens Smith, the son-in-law of John Adams. (Adams was a close friend of Jefferson and would, ten years later, serve as second president of the United States.)

“The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. … And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”1

To remain quiet under unjust governance is, says Jefferson, “a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.” It then becomes the responsibility of the populace to see that “their rulers are … warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance.” That is to say that the governors need to be reminded that they do not govern a simple herd of sheep, but that even among the flock there are guard dogs who will not submit to the mismanagement of the herd, that the people will guard their God-given liberties.

The best remedy is to pardon and pacify those governors who would overstep their moral and constitutional boundaries. If possible to pacify them peacefully, that is to say set them at rights by a peaceful show of resistance to their unrighteous rule, thereby informing them that they attempt to overstep in vain and to their own detriment, then this is best. It is preferable to pacify them in this manner and pardon their infringements, keeping a vigilant eye on them to ensure that they do not repeat their transgressions at a later date, thinking the people have been pacified.

Jefferson goes on, however, to fortify his argument with the statement that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” He even goes so far as to question the value of “a few lives lost in a century or two” in the quest to guard the liberty of the masses.

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edit on 2020 5 03 by incoserv because: I could.




posted on May, 3 2020 @ 02:29 PM
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The last paragraph would not fit ...




Jefferson was not promoting or encouraging the idea of a violent resistance. Indeed, the preferable course is a respectful and peaceable resistance, an en masse act of civil disobedience, rooted in the American tradition of respect for the universal rights of all mankind based on the mercy and generosity of our Creator. If the critical mass of civil disobedience is not reached at a certain point, or if it is not respected by the governing authorities, the only two options that remain are violent overthrow of the offending regime or a social life of quiet and submissive oppression lived at the mercies of those who usurp those Creator ordained and granted universal rights.



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 02:31 PM
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a reply to: incoserv

Honestly, society has been disobeying "the norm" for a while now.
Otherwise we'd have a dog an pony show all the time, and instead have instability.

But the new disobedience is organization and unity.

That's the most dangerous thing of all to any form of control, cooperation on a mass level, just not towards the original form of instigated control, ironic isn't it.



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 04:12 PM
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a reply to: incoserv

Thoughtful and we'll written. S+F.

I'm sure there will be the usual mix of dismissal and rage after people finish not reading it.



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 04:19 PM
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a reply to: incoserv

Nicely put forth Inco. That final portion, that to which I am responding now seems to me to be the crucial point of the whole argument, the whole concept of civil disobedience.

You suggest '' preferable course is a respectful and peaceable resistance, an en masse act of civil disobedience, rooted in the American tradition of respect for the universal rights of all mankind based on the mercy and generosity of our Creator.''

I do not disagree that this is how it should be, however from my experience it does not come about so easily. When many hit the streets for civil disobedience under these motives they are all to often joined in those streets by those who do not hold to those standards. They are joined in the streets by yahoos who would rather pillage and destroy for their own self amusement.

This then over-rides any respectful CD and becomes the focus of public attention on what ever the point being criticized. The whole act takes on that image such as events in recent years that have attracted the BLM hooligans.

But more to the ''critical mass'' that you find to be crucial. This is the crux of all the speeches for civil disobedience I have heard.The '' we must join together'' anthem. I have yet to see it work.
Back in the sixties when people began to protest in favor of legalizing weed it was only liberals who wanted to see it. Conservatives were for the most part totally against it. But as time has worn on more and more people who use weed are conservative people as well so that I would assume that the critical mass may have been reached on that issue, yet where is national recognition of that mass, of that will of the people. Just more and more blather about soon kiddies soon. It has been 50 years and still is illegal on a national level.

So even as we cannot see any real levels of ''critical mass'' civil disobedience we HAVE seen a few examples of this next part of your OP.. the only two options that remain are violent overthrow of the offending regime or a social life of quiet and submissive oppression''. Right off, from the last fifty years, I can think of two examples of when some have reached this point. The Weather Underground spouted these very same words and good ole Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver spoke very much in this vein as well.

I"m not trying to undermine the intent of your OP Inco but offering up what I have found to be dramatic hurtles on the way to accomplishing it.

Thanks for the time you have given us to have written such an understanding as you have and for maybe even reading my reply.



''



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 04:53 PM
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originally posted by: Tranceopticalinclined
a reply to: incoserv

Honestly, society has been disobeying "the norm" for a while now.
Otherwise we'd have a dog an pony show all the time, and instead have instability.

But the new disobedience is organization and unity.

That's the most dangerous thing of all to any form of control, cooperation on a mass level, just not towards the original form of instigated control, ironic isn't it.


Over the last 20 years, everything you can imagine had been brought into play to divide us. Whether it be left or right politics and ideology, it has WORKED.

We are more divided than ever, but the virus is supposed to unify us all....standing together separated STILL from each other.

Masks to hide our faces...6ft between us wherever we are to further divide us.

This is a complete and sustained PSYOP that's been incrementally unleashed upon the entire world.

Very few can reel in their own programmed and manipulated, (and frankly unimportant) self interests to admit they've been had. Most won't even entertain the idea.

I mentioned weeks ago that realities would be shattered. It appears I nailed that one and we haven't even seen the worst of it yet.




ETA: I went over to the farmers market today. Its situated in a parking lot. There were pink "x's" on the ground where you're supposed to stand. I wasn't on one of those x's and this lady started scolding me for it. I told her we all have masks on and we're OUTSIDE!! She looked at me for a moment and said, "You know what? You're right, this is nuts."

That just shows you the level of programming plaguing the world right now. Her first reaction was to well, react..but out of fear and hysteria, not logic.

I'm glad she had that one singular moment to give it some much needed thought.
edit on 5/3/2020 by EternalShadow because: correction, eta



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 08:57 PM
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a reply to: incoserv

To have a truly 'free' society would imply anarchy. Where everyone does their own thing and no-one imposes rules upon anyone else.

It is clear that this society would quickly degrade into a hell on earth for most of those in it.

So, we have laws and rules. Society agrees to abide by those and we can cooperate by doing what someone else wants and what we don't immediately want, in light of a balance of good outcomes.

However, this type of cooperative society is not libertine. It tilts strongly towards the authoritative.

We have a nonsense fiat currency that we agree has value and it even can usurp the value some hold over human life!

We have officers of the law who will arrest you for doing things that harm no-one, but that contravene rules put in place that only make sense in very specific situations.

We have people who seek power and wealth to the detriment of others.

We are required to pay taxation, for many things outside of the immediate or personal need of the majority.

We need to face it that we don't have liberty because that is the way we prefer it. What we want is a balance of liberty and law. We want rules that are relevant.

But the jingoism of liberty is just that. Empty words.

It is surprising to realize that those who want most to 'keep us in our place' are the same ones that suggest we are free in rousing speeches.



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 09:01 PM
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a reply to: chr0naut


To have a truly 'free' society would imply anarchy. Where everyone does their own thing and no-one imposes rules upon anyone else.

It is clear that this society would quickly degrade into a hell on earth for most of those in it.


Social Darwinism.



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 09:02 PM
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originally posted by: Liquesence
a reply to: chr0naut


To have a truly 'free' society would imply anarchy. Where everyone does their own thing and no-one imposes rules upon anyone else.

It is clear that this society would quickly degrade into a hell on earth for most of those in it.


Social Darwinism.


Non-survival of the least vicious.




posted on May, 4 2020 @ 12:21 AM
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a reply to: incoserv




respectful


I highlight this word because when I see someone protesting, I think to myself, that is their right.
When I see someone protesting and is practically yelling and spitting right up in another persons face, to me that is a lack of respect and no longer protesting.



posted on May, 4 2020 @ 10:28 PM
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originally posted by: TerryMcGuire
a reply to: incoserv

Nicely put forth Inco. That final portion, that to which I am responding now seems to me to be the crucial point of the whole argument, the whole concept of civil disobedience.

You suggest '' preferable course is a respectful and peaceable resistance, an en masse act of civil disobedience, rooted in the American tradition of respect for the universal rights of all mankind based on the mercy and generosity of our Creator.''

I do not disagree that this is how it should be, however from my experience it does not come about so easily. ...

Thanks for the time you have given us to have written such an understanding as you have and for maybe even reading my reply.



First, you are welcome. Thank you for reading. My apologies for the delay in responding; it's been a busy last day or so.

I agree with everything you say, and I think that Jefferson did, too. That's why he said (and I quoted) that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Note that he did not should be refreshed or could be refreshed or might be refreshed. He said that it must be refreshed.

Decent men and women exhaust all possibilities for peaceful resolution before resorting to other means. This is why a crowd of armed men walked into the capitol building in Detroit a few days ago; they protested peacefully, but their presence was a reminder that if it needed to go further, it would.
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edit on 2020 5 04 by incoserv because: I could.



posted on May, 4 2020 @ 10:32 PM
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originally posted by: chr0naut
a reply to: incoserv

To have a truly 'free' society would imply anarchy. Where everyone does their own thing and no-one imposes rules upon anyone else.

It is clear that this society would quickly degrade into a hell on earth for most of those in it.

So, we have laws and rules. Society agrees to abide by those and we can cooperate by doing what someone else wants and what we don't immediately want, in light of a balance of good outcomes.

However, this type of cooperative society is not libertine. It tilts strongly towards the authoritative.

We have a nonsense fiat currency that we agree has value and it even can usurp the value some hold over human life!

We have officers of the law who will arrest you for doing things that harm no-one, but that contravene rules put in place that only make sense in very specific situations.

We have people who seek power and wealth to the detriment of others.

We are required to pay taxation, for many things outside of the immediate or personal need of the majority.

We need to face it that we don't have liberty because that is the way we prefer it. What we want is a balance of liberty and law. We want rules that are relevant.

But the jingoism of liberty is just that. Empty words.

It is surprising to realize that those who want most to 'keep us in our place' are the same ones that suggest we are free in rousing speeches.


I don't think that an anarchist society would be a fee society, because in an anarchist society, the strong would inevitably oppress the weak. Social Contract is all about balancing things out, and I believe that a minarchist society with a strong, well delineated social contract would be best.

But, it takes a moral people with strong commitment to a transcendent, objective, universal moral standard to make it work. Part of the reason that the system that we function under has broken down is that we have abandoned an objective moral framework for an anchorless subjective and relativistic worldview.



posted on May, 4 2020 @ 10:34 PM
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originally posted by: JAGStorm
a reply to: incoserv




respectful


I highlight this word because when I see someone protesting, I think to myself, that is their right.
When I see someone protesting and is practically yelling and spitting right up in another persons face, to me that is a lack of respect and no longer protesting.


That is, IMO, part of the transcendent objective moral framework to which I refer. Within that framework should be embedded a respect for differing views so long as those views do not infringe on the rights and well-being of others.



posted on May, 4 2020 @ 10:52 PM
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originally posted by: incoserv

originally posted by: chr0naut
a reply to: incoserv

To have a truly 'free' society would imply anarchy. Where everyone does their own thing and no-one imposes rules upon anyone else.

It is clear that this society would quickly degrade into a hell on earth for most of those in it.

So, we have laws and rules. Society agrees to abide by those and we can cooperate by doing what someone else wants and what we don't immediately want, in light of a balance of good outcomes.

However, this type of cooperative society is not libertine. It tilts strongly towards the authoritative.

We have a nonsense fiat currency that we agree has value and it even can usurp the value some hold over human life!

We have officers of the law who will arrest you for doing things that harm no-one, but that contravene rules put in place that only make sense in very specific situations.

We have people who seek power and wealth to the detriment of others.

We are required to pay taxation, for many things outside of the immediate or personal need of the majority.

We need to face it that we don't have liberty because that is the way we prefer it. What we want is a balance of liberty and law. We want rules that are relevant.

But the jingoism of liberty is just that. Empty words.

It is surprising to realize that those who want most to 'keep us in our place' are the same ones that suggest we are free in rousing speeches.


I don't think that an anarchist society would be a fee society, because in an anarchist society, the strong would inevitably oppress the weak. Social Contract is all about balancing things out, and I believe that a minarchist society with a strong, well delineated social contract would be best.

But, it takes a moral people with strong commitment to a transcendent, objective, universal moral standard to make it work. Part of the reason that the system that we function under has broken down is that we have abandoned an objective moral framework for an anchorless subjective and relativistic worldview.


I totally agree and wasn't in any way promoting anarchy.

In the Bible (I am including this for its historical context, not to get 'preachy'), there is the repeated phrase "and everyone did what was right in their own eyes" in the Book of Judges.

The Book of Judges chronicles the failure of moral relativism and the degeneration of a society from one with a clear moral and religious basis, to a liberal one, where a father kills his own daughter because he made a stupid oath, and where another dissects the body of his gang-raped and murdered concubine, posting the body parts around the country as 'a warning'.

Clearly, as that society lost their moral footing, anarchy grew, but still "everyone did what was good in their own eyes". Moral relativism fails and the anarchy of the 'freedom' it entails is destructive.

edit on 4/5/2020 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2020 @ 11:53 PM
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a reply to: chr0naut
I think we'd get along in meatspace.



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