General Question

calculatedrisk's avatar

At what point is civil disobedience justified in dealing with a corrupt government?

Asked by calculatedrisk (24points) July 30th, 2008

Suppose the government of a free and sovereign nation was taken over by a secret society that wanted to take away their freedoms and destroy their constitution.

Suppose further that the secret society had infiltrated every level of the government and correcting the problem through the political process was no longer an option.

Is it moral and ethical for the citizenry to turn to civil strife and warfare in overthrowing the scoundrels? If so, at what point is it appropriate to take action? How would the freedom loving citizens best go about overthrowing the corrupt government?

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10 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I guess the point is when you just can’t take it anymore; I’m sure this is different for everyone.

As far as the other question is concerned, a majority of citizens would have to agree upon a strategy and an ideology for action; therein lies the problem; a majority of people never agree on anything.

srtlhill's avatar

are you describing the boston tea party and the revolution.

Yes, before it’s to late, and guns an ammo

sd2ny's avatar

you are reading into the “right to bear arms” ammendment of the constitution. Our fore fathers predicted this problem and that was their attempt to correct it… The idea being that if the gvmt tried to go against the overall will of the people, they would have weapons to rebel against the gvmt..

I done think our fore fathers ever intended our gvmt to be this rich and powerful relative to its citizens.

Where do we draw the line? This is the question. I guess the answer is related to the amount of crap that a nation of citizens are willing to put up with… When enough people get agree that “enough is enough”, I believe things will work themselves out naturally

Harp's avatar

When you talk about “warfare”, you’re no longer talking about civil disobedience. Look carefully at what constitutes civil disobedience in the words of its pioneer, Mahatma Ghandi:

* A civil resister (or satyagrahi) will harbour no anger.
* He will suffer the anger of the opponent.
* In so doing he will put up with assaults from the opponent, never retaliate; but he will not submit, out of fear of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger.
* When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment or removal of his own property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by authorities.
* If a civil resister has any property in his possession as a trustee, he will refuse to surrender it, even though in defending it he might lose his life. He will, however, never retaliate.
* Retaliation includes swearing and cursing.
* Therefore a civil resister will never insult his opponent, and therefore also not take part in many of the newly coined cries which are contrary to the spirit of ahimsa.
* A civil resister will not salute the Union Flag, nor will he insult it or officials, English or Indian.
* In the course of the struggle if anyone insults an official or commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials from the insult or attack even at the risk of his life.

btko's avatar

If it’s to that extent, I would say any point is appropriate to use civil disobedience. Issue is, you will be thrown in jail. So you either need 10,000 friends to give you a hand, or hope that your jailing will lead to more unrest.

Lovelocke's avatar

I once said “You can get one million blacks, gays, mexicans, puerto ricans, teens, mothers, breast cancer patients and AIDs patients to rally to please their own egos, but you can’t get one million Americans to march on the White House to peacefully remove the President from office.”

Lovelocke's avatar

We tried, btw: World Can’t Wait. They took out a full page USA Today ad, had several celebrity endorsements, but here in Dallas, TX where JFK was killed, we had little more than 40 people show up.

jcs007's avatar

Everyone has a breaking point. In my eyes, civil disobedience is never justified unless all good attempts at a civil solution are exhausted.

Poser's avatar

@Lovelocke—You couldn’t get a bunch of Texans together to oust Bush? Hmm. Go figure.

Lovelocke's avatar

I guess Texas only deals with it’s own kind… Bush is quite the outsider.

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