Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience is a ritualistic or symbolic violation of law rather than rejection of the system as a whole, taken when legitimate avenues are blocked or non-existent.


  • Individual is a higher moral authority than the state – to think otherwise it to reduce justice to legality
  • HENRY DAVID THOREAUcivil disobedience stops us being agents of injustice
  • MARTIN LUTHER KING‘without civil disobedience we are in danger of patiently adjusting to injustice’
  • Opportunity to offer alternative views – voice of the minority
  • ARISTOTLE’S will of the majority can leave the minorities alienated and marginalised
  • Political procedures can be unjust (procedural injustice) or even too slow to react when human life is in danger
  • GHANDI – “satyagraha” – can achieve equal rights and freedom
  • Marxists believe that the state is a tool of oppression which is a vehicle for ignoring minorities and promoting the views of the bourgeoisie


  • May undermine respect for the law and cause social disorder
  • Without order life would be nasty, brutish and shortHOBBES
  • May lead to rebellion and revolution
  • Politics is based on complete and willing subordination to a master
  • JOSEPH DE MAISTRE: The notion of a limit to political obedience is dangerous and insidious; Don’t oppose a monarch who is trying to look after you
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