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Lecture 2

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McMaster University
Diane Enns

Lecture 2 (September 17)– Thoreau Main Points -1) we are all free and there is power in this freedom  To act and to think.  Thousands are opposed to slavery but do nothing about it.  People will vote for the abolition of slavery without really caring.  Argues these people are the real slaves.  Those who refuse their freedom are the slaves (^)  Action from principle changes things and relations -2) disobedience is the refusal to support injustice  Truth is stronger than error (example of prison)  Things are accomplished when people refuse and stop the machine of ordinary life  If no one signed up for the military we would not have wars  An individual in jail is going to be heard under certain circumstances  The freedom to disobey  You can be obedient and look like a good citizen but you can be obeying a very unjust law – dangerous  3 categories of people o Armies who march to war against their will and common sense. Are they men or movable machinery (those who blindly obey)? Don‟t exercise freedom of judgement. o Politicians, lawyers, ministers and office holders (ruling class) – likely to serve the devil without intending it as god. Oblivious to the needs of the average person in terms of human rights or justice. o Those who disobey (heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers) and serve the state with their conscience (ability to make decisions involving what is right and wrong). Refusal to support injustice. Appeasable revolution – withdrawal and remain aloof.  To pay taxes enables his state to continue with this unjust rule. Refusal to pay taxes refuses bloodshed and violence. In this act of disobedience revolution takes place.  We do violence to ourselves when we don‟t make the right moral decision and support injustice -3) we have a right to revolution and a duty to disobey  “The right to revolution remains the right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government when its tyranny or inefficiency are great and unendurable (I, 8)”. o When is tyranny unendurable – a point where people say enough is enough  Slavery – urgent need to rebel (I, 8) o When a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves and a whole country is unjustly ove
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