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Civil Disobedience
The Individual and Society
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In brief, civil disobedience socially involves dissenting individuals...
  and it always is moral if truly it does standardize only to be civil disobedience. To be, the individual within a social contract publicly first must act privately to change that contract. That is, he or she must lack the socially-instituted political authority to change that to which he or she objects- be it within the language of law or of the persons or actions or inactions of individuals which or who have that political authority. For it only to be civil disobedience and, therefore, also moral, he or she cannot impose his or her personal authority upon another. He or she must limit himself or herself to enacting the standards of moral defense as the legitimate means to his or her end. 
  Then we morally could oppose the immorally-instituted interest groups which politically include the unethical individuals who would and universally do rule hierarchically as men. We also could answer that with the otherwise-ignored alternative which forms to be the hierarchically-moral rule of law, though socially we'd not be within man's political laws individually or collectively by doing so. 
  We'd instead and accordingly respond to protect our primary rights as individuals only in proportioned response because morally only then would we be on a level playing field with our oppressors. That is, this applies because we morally first must honor even our immoral opponents' preeminent rights equally with our own even where and when our language-analogous political laws of nominal authority secondarily are "up for grabs."
  This standard also applies to mean that our immoral adversaries personally would have the self-justifying, seeming sanction of their nation-states. They then likely would initiate unethical acts to which we personally might respond in self-defense and/or in the custodial defense of others. This could escalate to the point which standardizes "civil" war. In rational fact, it would if the individuals on both sides don't back down where and when the personal aggressor's "push" does result in the morally-disobedient respondent's returning "shove." Of course, the latter morally may yield short of that, but she or he doesn't have to.
  Therefore, the essence of moral civil disobedience includes but  doesn't limit to standardizing the concept of "passive resistance" which Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, among others, expounded. While enacting that moral option would prevent civil war, our added moral option physically to meet force with like-kind force likely wouldn't if we'd not revert to the former short of it. Regardless, the morally disobedient at best only would win the battle while losing the war if they'd first not dedicate morally to the source which provides the formatively-moral alternative.
  To liberate even the most oppressed but is a temporary measure. It only changes the individuals we'd identify from their labels of secondary human characteristic politically within a morally-flawed contract which features the self-interested, hierarchical rule of men from top down. Our history's replete with that as we've needlessly caught ourselves up within a vicious circle of our own making. Yet even the morally dedicated also must undergo the battle first, and that one offers many opportunities for escalation.
  Even beyond our self-defense or custodial-defense rights to protect one another's preeminently-rightful persons, we also could react morally to maintain our equal right sensibly to access our society's political places. That others can and at some point likely would try to stop us- ultimately even further to restrict us within those places we call "jails" would escalate the conflict. Then we would be in a civil war if those others next would force us to kill or be killed and/or safely incarcerate them before they would us. 
  Still, this writer, at least, prefers it not to come to that, and that also is our morally-private option. He prefers to stop short, morally to begin and end the attempt only by questioning our immoral rulers' claims to political authority and rule and offering the alternative to you as it and "you" would include them both. Even the president of a country or CEO of an international corporation, say, could be among the "you," and even they could join the ultimate cause before it is too late.
  Right now, this writer lacks rational reason to believe that the "sedition" laws of his country, the U.S.A., do apply to his tenuous right to "free speech." Though, therefore, he isn't and chooses not to be disobedient as yet, the possibility still exists for the ruling men instituted there to find him so. There have been times in that  nation-states past- during the McCarthey inquisition under the H.U.A.C. congressional "hearings" most egregiously recently, for instance, that people politically have been prosecuted and persecuted for far less.
  Yes, a new and reformed constitution somewhere must institute  interest groups within one truly-unified moral social contract . This writer no longer can swear his allegiance to the U.S. Constitution as the best possibility within an imperfect human condition instead. His allegiance is to the truths and facts which could frame its successor or rival elsewhere. Therefore, he stands ready morally to disobey and resist as necessary, even while he hopes not to have to. Please join him within a moral interest group, for that's also your first step from which the second onto an escalator of even morally-justified civil disobedience needn't follow unduly to risk our very lives.
  Others likely will call you "seditious," "traitorous" and/or  "unpatriotic" if you take the second step first anyway. You'd also offer your own possible rule as a man to replace that of others, each self-interestedly to invoke a divisive interpretation of an allegedly-common "supreme law" seemingly to justify her or his own self alone. If we'd take the formative steps in their logical order together, perhaps we could turn our species around without having to kill or die within and with our one truly-common- if generally-ignored- moral cause. Please, let's only embark on a morally-disobedient course if first we'd together have that  truly-moral replacement at the ready from the outset. 


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Last modified on September 18, 1999