Thoreau – Civil Disobedience
A couple things stuck out to me. First was Thoreau’s commitment to both idealism and reality. He spent the first and last thoughts on idealism, imagining the way things should be, but the bulk of the text is about the application of this vision to his current circumstances. I think this is revealing because it is an important balance to maintain. If we don’t have a vision then there might as well not be a discussion to start off with, basically not having a vision is like saying that everything is the way it is supposed to be. However, focusing only on the vision will not get anything done. If there is no practical application or fix of what you see is wrong, then that can be quite depressing.
The substance of Civil Disobedience is that a state is best served by morality not by what the whole feels is most expedient for itself. Sometimes the state acts in a way that is immoral and it is the duty of the individual to uphold morality and act as a balance for the voice of society. He talks about citizenship as being more than voting, but fulfilling your duty to the state to oppose immoral actions.
It is too bad that the system is set up to reflect what the majority (educated or not) wants and not what is moral. I suppose an accomplishment is that standing up for something isn’t considered treason.