Hannah Arendt
discusses some of her views on civil disobedience and this paper is in response
to such perspectives. Her main view is that civil disobedience is a group of
action based on opinions that people have in common rather than shared
interests between individuals, basically, opinions that the major part of the
society has. Moreover, she has views that put social disobedience within an
American origin recognized only by America rather than by the entire world as a
real word. This paper shows through both arguments how her analysis is
insufficient, and her conclusion is incomplete given the fact that it is only
based on the American legal system.

According to
Arendt, a civil disobedient can function and survive only as a member of a group.
Moreover, civil disobedience is indeed indirect disobedience, this is because
people can violate laws that they might view as non-objectionable, so they can
have the right to protest other laws that seem unfair to them. According to one
of Arendt sources, Rutgers Raw Reviews, to be more exact, “the law cannot
justify the breaking of the law.” And that is right, in a legal system, the
violation of any law cannot be justified. However, Arendt believes that the
American legal system can let civil disobedience pass in certain situations. For
example, the violation of traffic laws breaks the law to test the constitution,
which in this case, civil disobedience is clearly identified. She later focuses
her views on the fact that civil disobedience is often composed by people that
segregate themselves according to common opinions instead of shared interests. In
conclusion, she argues that individual opinions and acts are inadequate when
applied to civil disobedience.  

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Furthermore, she discusses
a Socrates case that contradicts pretty much what she said given the fact that
this specific case is based on an individual protest.  According to Socrates, “It is better to suffer
wrong than to do wrong.” In my opinion and understanding from when I first read
this, Socrates was talking about his individual point of view and way to act.
In my perspective, he meant that for him as an individual, it was better to not
agree with the major part of the society than to disagree with his own point of
view and beliefs. This clearly contradicts Arendt’s assumption that being
involved in a group that shares common opinion is a necessary condition of
civil disobedience. According to Arendt, the political and legal situation with
such justification has more than one problem. First, it cannot be a general
statement because to keep its credibility and validity it must remain subjective.
Another good thing to point out on this contradiction would be that us, as
human beings, naturally seek for our best interest which cannot be taken for
granted. With this said, individuals will not agree on something that it will
affect their own person just because it is what society shares.

The main thing in
any justification of civil disobedience is to put out criteria that will help a
person decide if a specific situation is of a nature that makes civil
disobedience something that the law can approve, something justifiable. The
impression that you are left with Arendt’s discussion is that she would prefer
to restrict the practice of civil disobedience to the cases when a first order
constitutional crisis is present.

In conclusion, civil
disobedience is a form of peaceful protest that comes from individuals and
group of individuals because of refusing with certain laws. Therefore, civil
disobedience may be of American origin, as said at the beginning of this paper.
However, now it has become a world-wide behavior. Which can be understood in
any language even if there is not a word for it.  


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