Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Thoreau Misunderstanding

With the predictability of the sunrise, a few folks commenting over at Blue Mass. Group are hailing the Massachusetts legislature's defying of their sworn oaths of office and constitutional obligations as some kind of heroic act of civil disobedience.

In this case, NOT obeying the law is the moral thing to do

Rather then vote to put the civil rights of a persecuted minority on the ballot, the legislators should say:

"I am practicing civil disobedience. I am not going to support of a vote on this issue. I am willing to accept the consequences at the ballot box if the people disagree with this decision of conscience"

Decency does not require strict adherence to the law

For instance, if a law is unjust, then breaking the law is perfectly decent. Were those that illegally harbored escaped slaves before the Civil War not decent human beings?

In this case, members of the Legislature can argue that this law was unjust in this instance because it would allow one minority to restrict the rights of another minority.

Civil Disobedience is a Massachusetts Tradition

This is a civil rights issue. It is just for the legislature to practice civil disobedience by refusing to vote on the pending anti-gay amendment.

If the legislature practices civil disobedience by refusing to vote on the amendment, they will be taking part in a long standing tradition in the commonwealth. Massachusetts has a very long history of civil disobedience when it comes to matters of freedom and civil rights. Let us not forget the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution [huh??? - ed.].

Sorry, kids, but I gotta send up the bullshit flag.

Rosa Parks' refusing to surrender her seat on the bus to a white person, risking arrest and prosecution, was an act of civil disobedience.

Henry David Thoreau's refusal to pay taxes to the government as a form of protest against the government's policies was an act of civil disobedience.

A group of anti-war protesters chaining themselves together, refusing to clear an intersection when ordered to do so by the police, subjecting themselves to charges of disorderly conduct, are committing acts of civil disobedience.

If I were to protest Massachusetts' gun laws by carrying a concealed weapon without the required permit, on the grounds that providing for my personal safety by exercising my right to self-defense is of greater importance to me than the government's unconstitutional laws designed to prevent me from doing so, would be an act of civil disobedience.

But, these current attempts to expand the definition of civil disobedience to include the behavior of an agent of the government defying his sworn oath of office, acting in direct violation of the state constitution, and subjugating the rights of the citizenry in the process, is so far off base, it's laughable.

BMG commenter "Trickle up" gets it.

Civil disobedience takes on a very different character when laws are disobeyed by the state.

Of course, under this new definition, the Bush adminstration's wiretapping policies could be labeled as acts of civil disobedience. If he feels the fourth amendment places unjust restrictions on his ability to do what he feels is morally right, then he should simply ignore it, right?

Where are the accolades from the left for the president and his courageous decision to pursue that program?

Bay State liberals talk a good game about "equal rights for all", but as soon as someone they disagree with demonstrates the resolve to exercise his right to petition the government in a manner prescribed by law, well, then all bets are off. And, any efforts taken by the government to abbrogate that person's rights will be hailed as a great victory for "equality".

And people ask me why I wanted to leave such an idyllic place as Massachusetts.