Disobedience Opens the Door for a Better Society

To disobey a law is to disobey a moral code of a majority and no specifically one’s own moral code individually. Laws are essentially the moral codes a society lives by and is either religious, lawful, or self-inflicted due to conscious belief. However every person is born free with their own sense of morality and have the ability to do as they wish with this sense.

A perfect example of someone following their own morals and disobeying a law is Henry David Thoreau in his book Civil Disobedience. Thoreau’s morals were similar to that of Ralph Waldo Emerson with leaving the influence of ownership out of society and becoming closer to what is around it like nature. This basically insinuates that to lead a simpler lifestyle one must give up what he owns and live off of the land around him. Thoreau thus used his morals by spending the night in jail for not paying taxes so as not to pay for the government’s war in Mexico for Texas from his transcendentalist theories of not caring about material things.

Thoreau takes these ideas further in his book by talking about soldiers involved in the war and questioning, “Now, what are they? Men at all? Or small movable forts and magazines at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?” (Thoreau, p. 307). Within the quote Thoreau is implying that a man is not a man unless they can think for themselves with their own conscious thought that they were born with. So is it perfectly okay to disrespect a law though with this conscious thought?

Martin Luther King Jr. being a renowned role model for disobeying a law to please his own conscious thought in a civil manner wrote the Letter to Birmingham Jail to explain to other clergymen why he was disobeying the law to follow his own laws and God’s as well. King states that “…..freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” (King, p. 381).

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