Civil Disobedience as The Only Productive Form of Disobedience

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When one thinks of disobedience, the mindset goes to a child misbehaving when in fact, defiance is a natural human reaction to oppression. Arguing, fighting and disobeying is a natural sort of rebellion against anyone who disagrees with the way things are. Whether it is rebelling against the government, parents, or societal norms, it challenges established criteria and facilitates the changing environment. Evidentially, human disobedience is a crucial factor in furthering humanity and is invaluable to social progress, as displayed by in the American Revolution, segregation in the 1900’s, and modern social movements. Such events change the perspective of a young child refusing to eat their vegetables to believing the word “rebel” interconnects with the word “maturity.”

The most substantial leaps in the social progress of humanity were created solely based on disobedience. Whether through peaceful movements or violent uprisings, societal defiance has facilitated massive global change throughout the entire history of human society. The American Revolution was brought about through widespread disobedience and rejection of an imposed set of rules. In a nutshell, the British wanted to make as much money as possible out of the 13 colonies. However, the British Laws were used as a ‘one-way street.’ The Americans were not afforded the same rights as the British people, nor did they have any representatives to present their points of view. Through the act of disobedience, the colonists protested, and their protests led them down the American Revolution. This rebellion led to the birth of a new, democratic nation that has dominated world affairs for decades.

American history is marked and scarred by its history of racial discrimination such as slavery and segregation. However, it is through the ideas and the acts of disobedience by key members of the African-American community that established social progress and abolished segregation. Rosa Parks is one example; by refusing to obey the law and give her seat the white man, she set off a chain of events that led to the abolishment of segregation throughout America. An equivalent figure, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who disobeyed the law multiple times, was jailed for his disobedience various times but was still able to lead a peaceful, nonviolent revolution towards real autonomy. Through their rebellion and their willingness to bend to the rules, they were able to spark a revolution and lead humanity closer to true equality. Disobedience can likewise come in the rejection of social norms. The LGBT community and movement have made leaps and bounds regarding acceptance in society due to their rebellion. By defying the social restrictions placed on them, they transcend the narrowmindedness of the modern community and move towards equal rights regardless of sexuality. By flaunting their views and ideas, they lead a chain of events to make way for other social movements. Feminism, transgender rights, LGBT rights and fights for equality make room for other voices to chip in and fight for equal rights and representation. Through this act of disobedience, they are bolstering other minority groups and their fight for rights.

Oscar Wilde claims that disobedience is a valuable trait that promotes social progress. His theory is correct, however, to an extent – disobedience can facilitate change and advancement, but can also lead to chaos, violence, and death. Understanding that there is a necessity for a violation when justified is vital, but realizing that an excess of riot can be equally as harmful to societal progress is unquestionably necessary. Violation dictates the fine line between anarchy and tyranny; regardless of its impacts, it is clear that rebellion is the key to making a change. Defiance is an inevitable characteristic of humanity; as a human trait present in all of us, the tendency to disobey is something that must never relinquish. It is undeniably valuable, catapulting our species ever-forward in our continued struggle for progress.

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