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On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). Published by planksip

Growing up, I went through a number musical phases. First there was, of course, the theme song to Barney & Friends, which I would belt out incessantly (so obsessed was I with that godforsaken purple and green dinosaur, in fact, that my mother had him show up to my first birthday party...or at least she told me it was him; she wouldn’t lie to me...right? MOM!). Shortly thereafter were the scores to each of the Star Wars prequels, which made the rounds on my CD Player for much of my elementary school days (“Duel Of Fates” was my personal favorite). However, it was not until around middle school, when the angst started to hit me, that I began to develop a more...striking...taste in tunes. That was when I discovered the band Rage Against The Machine.

Now, while many people look back at their younger years and lament about how lame and embarrassing their tastes were, I actually am quite proud of myself for gravitating towards this band, particularly given the fact that their message stood in direct opposition to pretty much everything that my school, my family, and my peers (at the time) were telling me. I felt like I had finally found a voice that was saying all that I had been thinking about this evil, corrupted world dominated by the power-hungry forces of exploitative capitalists.

Then, I got a little bit older and read some Henry David Thoreau. And I realized that you can make a lot of those same points about the importance of refusing to conform to an unjust, immoral society and intentionally bucking the system through whichever means you have at your disposal, all the while keeping your voice at a nice, calm, indoor level. At least, that is the level at which I imagine Thoreau spoke. It is pretty amusing to picture old man Henry, big beard and all, screaming “LET YOUR LIFE BE A COUNTER-FRICTION TO STOP THE MACHINE!” while all the frogs in the pond at Walden looked at him like he was losing his damn mind. Oh Henry, you lovable truth teller, you. What would this world have been without you?

There would likely not have been a Mahatma Gandhi, nor a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., nor a Desmond Tutu, without the immense contributions Thoreau made to the public consciousness in his writings on civil disobedience.

Thanks, pal.

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). Published by planksip

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