War & Civil Disobedience
Program #ZINH037. Recorded in Denver, CO on October 09, 2008.
What are citizens to do when confronted by unjust laws and when their government commits crimes? Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela all advocated and practiced civil disobedience. This was not just some opportunistic temporary tactic. Non-violent civil disobedience was a deeply held moral position. Thoreau in his classic essay "Civil Disobedience" wrote, "Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure." He went to jail in opposition to the 1846-48 U.S. war against Mexico. When his friend and fellow writer Ralph Waldo Emerson visited him in prison, he reportedly asked, "What are you doing in there?' To which Thoreau replied, "What are you doing out there?"
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