Corporate Authority and Civil Disobedience

Corporate Authority and Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience is generally described as a nonrevolutionary encounter with the state. A man breaks the law, but does so in ways that do not challenge the legitimacy of the legal or political systems. He feels morally bound to disobey; he also recognizes the moral value of the state; civil disobedience is his way of maneuvering between these conflicting moralities. The precise requirements of civility have been specified by a number of writers, and while the specifications vary, they tend to impose a similar discipline on the disobedient persons. Above all, they impose the discipline of nonviolence. Civility, it is generally said, requires first the adoption of methods that do not directly coerce or oppress other members of society and, second, it requires nonresistance to state officials enforcing the law. I want to argue that there is a kind of disobedience that does not meet either of these requirements, and yet sometimes falls within the range of civility.

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