Civil Disobedience and the Duty to Obey

Alexander M. Bickel, Civil Disobedience and the Duty to Obey, 8 Gonz. L. Rev. 199 (1973).

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“At what point,” asks John Rawls in his celebrated recent book, A Theory of Justice, to which I shall make further reference, “does the duty to comply with laws enacted by a legislative majority… cease to be binding in view of the right to defend one’s liberties and the duty to oppose injustice? This question involves the nature and limits of majority rule. For this reason the problem of civil disobedience is a crucial test case for any theory of the moral basis of democracy.”

I do not, as I shall briefly indicate later on, find it possible to accept the thesis of Professor Rawls’ book. But I do agree that the problem of civil disobedience is a critical test for any system of government. It searches the foundations of government, moral or other. An analysis of this problem is bound to illuminate the nature of any system . . . Read More.

 

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