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Civil Disobedience

Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected. - Mahatma Gandhi

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Varying Verity - Truth never changes, only our understanding into what it is . . .

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Do you have the SPIRIT for Civil Disobedience ?

Essence

Why are you not practicing Civil Disobedience?

by SARTRE

The abstraction of dissent becoming successful reality, through the practice of civil disobedience, is most closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi. The fate of over half a billion population, was transformed out of the convictions and actions of an uncommon and extraordinary mystic. Whatever your sentiments about colonial rule and empire, none can deny that the independence of India would have a very different face, without the man in the home-spun loincloth and traditional shawl.

The dawn of a new nation in 1947, arose out of the political and cultural turmoil - where Gandhi played a central role. After World War II, the mighty British Empire existed no longer. A Commonwealth emerged that could no longer rely upon Gunga Din's serving and perpetuating British control out of a Rudyard Kipling's myth of glory.

Yes, the times had changed; but Gandhi brought about much of that attitude over years of active involvement.

Gandhi disliked the words and idea of "passive resistance". He preferred the term Satyagraha - a combination of satya (truth-love) and agraha(firmness/force). It is the "the vindication of truth not by infliction of suffering on the opponent but on one's self ." Satyagraha is peaceful, opponents must be converted by a demonstration of purity, humility, and honesty. They are to be converted - not annihilated. Violence and anger create bitterness in the victim, and brutality in the attacker.

Appealing to the common sense and morality of his adversary was key. "It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by humiliation of their fellow human beings." Satyagraha assumes there is a constant dialogue between the opponents with a view to ultimate reconciliation. Insults, threats, and propaganda only serve to obstruct the goal.

Gandhi called upon his countrymen to follow no other gospel than the gospel of self-sacrifice which precedes every battle. Whether you belong to the school of violence or non-violence, you will still have to go through the fire of sacrifice and of discipline. He raised the level of individual dissent to the height of organized resistance. During the confrontation over the "Salt Acts", he saw the outcome as a struggle against a system that had reduced India politically to serfdom. It has sapped the foundations of our culture . . . it has degraded us spiritually. . . He stated his ambition is no less than to convert the British people through non-violence, and thus make them see the wrong they have done to India. I do not seek to harm your people. I want to serve them even as I want to serve my own . . .

By bringing together disaffected, alienated and desperate masses, he was able to apply the best kind of political pressure; namely, moral indignation. When the wrath of ordinary populace rally within their own communities, the potential for meaningful antagonism towards the ruling powers, has a practical chance to fundamentally alter the status quo.

That is the essence of proactive civil disobedience. Consider his own words:

"If man will only realize that it is unmanly to obey laws that are unjust, no man's tyranny will enslave him."

"Nonviolence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute. The spirit lies dormant in the brute, and he knows no law but that of physical might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law - to the strength of the spirit."

How many Americans understand and accept this basic nature of their own dignity? If the principle of self determination has any real meaning, in our own land, how can defenders of the State disparage and defame the sincere intentions and courageous actions of the remnants that seek to restore moral clarity?

The rules for those who seek redress, here in America, are quite different than those used in colonial India. In Demonstrating and Civil Disobedience: A Legal Guide for Activists, we find the legal rights and pitfalls that awaits those who challenge the forces of unaccountable authority. The prospects for respectful admiration and treatment from the enforcers of vested interest, are bleak. The hostility to those who resist injustices by practicing active civil disobedience, is rationalized - that challenging authority, means you are unpatriotic. When the example from the sub-continent is examined, most conclude that it was simply a clash of cultures. But when similar grievances are encountered domestically, the cries of internal subversion and foreign agitation are raised.

Most of the time, red herrings only serve the interests of the apologists as diversions away from the crucial and core issues. Bringing into question the legitimacy of the existing political order, is always a dangerous proposition. So using civil disobedience as dynamic tactics, must be criminal - or so says the DoJ. That response is a given, but the tacit approval of the masses for State sanctioned totalitarian dominance is the ultimate example of collective insanity. Gandhi would ask: where is the self-sacrifice of America for her own noble virtues and claimed principles?

How will Americans respond? Gandhi sums up:

"You have to stand against the whole world although you may have to stand alone. You have to stare in the face the whole world although the world may look at you with blood-shot eyes. Do not fear. Trust the little voice residing within your heart."

"Forsake friends, wife and all; but testify to that for which you have lived and for which you have to die."

The natural rights of each person is universal, and embodies the sanctity to seek remedy and relief through redress. The effective means that encompass its form, will vary accordingly by culture, political tradition and concentration of power. America has often been called a bastion of freedom. Dissent is the catalyst and civil disobedience is the mechanism. But how often does our country see the beacon of light that flows from the spirit of righteousness? Gandhi showed one way, will you seek your own?

Complement

Nullifying Civil Disobedience
by George F. Smith

Americans today should gave thanks we don't live in colonial times.  Back then we would be surrounded by traitors who had serious grievances with the law, especially the part that taxed them.  Lacking a sound public education, these upstarts didn't understand that a great empire like Britain needed massive transfusions of revenue to sustain it.  In their ignorance the rebels armed themselves with guns (!) and overthrew the government.

Fortunately, such horrors are all but precluded today.  A century and a half of progressive social education has made patriotism and somnambulism two peas in the same pod.  Today's patriots don't shoot guns, they wear flags and vote Republican or Democrat.  They have been carefully bred by government schools, liberal media, ultra-liberal entertainment idols, and the demagogues they put in office.  They have been made proud by America's involvement in world affairs, of which cable news tells them all they want to know.

Many of the founders we honor each Fourth would be executed as terrorists today, unless they were caught in California.  It's no surprise that Congress tripped all over themselves recently to recite a pledge of allegiance authored by a worshiper of big government, Francis Bellamy.  Do we see these same politicians showering equal respect on that instrument of limited government they pledge to uphold?  Of course not.

Congress claims an inalienable right to tax us to death, then tax our heirs after death, in the name of social justice.  They feel compassion for everyone except the people whose income they seize, in the name of social justice.  Presidents legislate by an unconstitutional decree called an executive order.  Congress legislates whatever it wants.  If they don't have a constituency to support it, they go behind closed doors.

They tell us we should be thankful to live in a country where we enjoy such freedom as they allow.  And who could be more thankful than our demagogues? They live in luxury and retire at full salary, which the rest of us pay for, while perpetuating state dependency through the Social Security fraud.

No wonder they broke so readily into, "God bless America."

They tell us there is evil in the world and we must eradicate it from the face of the earth.  Why not erase it at home and kill big government instead, as our forefathers did?  With a government reduced to its justifiable function we might be able to defend ourselves and prevent another Pearl Harbor or 9-11.

Cutting government down to legitimacy would require dissent, but dissent is unpatriotic.  So we let big government roll and try to keep out of its way. And it's been on a roll.

Guns are dangerous, the government and its liberal allies tell us, as the shadow of its weapons stockpile grows longer.  Surrender you arms, for your own safety.  Forget that Second Amendment nonsense, and trust us to handle all the guns.  We're on your side.

Our dollar is the world's reserve currency, as good as gold, government assures us.  Gold in fact is a Bad Thing because it threatens the existence of government paper.  That's why father Roosevelt took gold away from his children.  Our fiat dollar today buys what a nickel did a century ago.

Drugs are harmful, the government decrees, so it launches an endless war that creates a violent and costly black market.

Racism is evil, it proclaims, as it demands racial quotas in hiring.

Poverty is inhuman, it tells us, while escalating the war on the producers of wealth.

Education is vital, it preaches, as it shapes our children's minds to equate morality with sacrifice, freedom with slavery, and evil with business.

Smoking and obesity are health threats, state nannies warn us, as juries give victims of their own poor choices a field day in courts.

And we motor around with the Stars and Stripes plastered on our rear ends, telling government, "We're on your side, too."

What protesters we see are the ones we would expect to find in a culture saturated with state love.  Government isn't big enough, they complain.  At the G8 summit in Canada recently, a youth socialist choir sang "Free the people, not the market," while wearing their beloved designer jeans. [1]  If something exists, the state should control it.  They protest the stinginess of the U.S. for not writing a check in the amount of our GDP and handing it over to African dictators.

Just as we have had the convenience of withholding taxes since July 1, 1943, so now we have the ease of being patriots by just smiling and going along.

References

1.  Fears of violent protests against G8 summit prove unfounded

 
The truth is always the strongest argument
Sophocles

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