Civil Disobedience: Its usefulness and limitations.
"Folly is wrapped up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him." Well the rod of discipline did drive some of my folly from me, but there still seems to be a piece in there that feels like doing me own thing. Maybe that's true for you as well?
Consider the conditioning we all go through from childhood on as others attempt to rein in our unruly behavior. First it's the parents and grandparents, then sometimes even total strangers, then the skool tries to get us speling corekt. Then, cops give us tickets for speeding and so on and on. We eventually all cave in and obey any and all we perceive as anyone in an authoritarian position. This makes us ripe for the pickin' by the political elites of the day.
And so, we need no longer wonder how Hitler, Stalin and Mao ruled their worlds as successfully as they did. The pre-conditioning for the subservience of the sheeple was already in place, and they were ready and in many cases eager to follow any order given, even to carry out the most awful crimes against other human beings.
Someone has recently pointed out though, that when an officer carries out a command to steal or murder or rape or whatever, that the person actually committing the violence is the most guilty one in the chain. Whether you agree with this belief or not you must decide but it does effectively eliminate the excuse of "just doing my job" and i think that's a good thing. To avoid the consequences of all evil behavior by claiming one was just following orders is absurd. At every point we have the choice to disobey. We all have choices all the time and sometimes the moral thing to do is to disobey!
And here is right where i expect to lose a lot of readers. Disobedience a virtue? Yes, in some cases disobedience is the greatest moral decision one could possibly make, and as with many thorny moral issues, to choose to disobey is often an incredibly difficult thing to do because of the inevitable consequences. Think Snowden living in Russia, giving up almost all association with friends and family in the States as he made the decision to disobey the worlds greatest empire.
I hasten to add that many laws of the land are good. If we were to all embrace civil disobedience for its own sake and drive everywhere with the gas pedal gorilla-taped to the floor, well.... No, what's being discussed here is having the biological components needed to stand up to those who issue orders to commit violence of whatever type against those who don't deserve it. Being able to stick to your guns and not do things you know to be evil simply because you are told to do them. It is a huge distinction!
The libertarian viewpoint is that we should all be able and allowed to do whatever we want so long as we don't initiate violence against our fellow-man. It makes a lot of sense. Surely, any country which embraced a system as logical as this would prosper as never before because people have a natural inclination to better their lives, acquire useful things and help one another and over-regulation/taxation inhibits all of this. Libertarianism then is something like being Liberal but just without the government-part. We really should give it a try sometime. Begin today by refusing to do evil because you are "commanded to".