Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience"
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Thoreau’s point of view of the state shows the division of all people into three major groups. There are those who serve the state with the help of their bodies, those who serve with their heads, and also those who serve with their consciences. At first sight, it is a good theory because, really, each person has his/her own unique talent. Someone has a good body, someone is able to handle complicated problems, and someone possesses perfect conscience. All these things are very important for the state, but the latter must know how to use them in a proper way. I think that if a person is good at working with the complicated tasks, it does not mean that he/she must do only this job. If a man has a good body and can use it in serving his state, this does not mean that he is not able to apply his head for the same purpose. Therefore, I agree with Thoreau’s classification of the people serving the state, but I cannot agree with the attitude towards these people. Especially, it concerns those who serve with their body. They are treated as animals and someone who does not have the right of voice and other talents except of using their bodies.
First of all, it is not morally to treat people like that. They deserve attention and respect. Unfortunately, I have not seen any signs of these qualities while reading the passage under consideration. There are only offensive remarks pointing out negligence towards those who serve by their body. Does it mean that these people’s task is not important? Does it mean that these people do something harming to the others or perform any other action demonstrating disobedience or anything else? There is a negative answer to all these questions, but these people “have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs” (Abcarian & Klotz 118). It sounds very unfair as there are no such remarks concerning people serving by their head and conscience. This improper attitude makes me think that Thoreau’s point of view of the state is not perfect. It needs changes and must not be applied in the contemporary world. I see improper attitude towards people here and that is why this point of view is impossible to use in any democratic society. It is impossible to turn people into machines serving the society, to turn them into tools to maintain the state’s welfare.
When I was reading the passage under consideration I wondered why the men serving by their bodies were so obedient. Why did not they stop working? It is unclear, but, perhaps, they just had not been taught to do that. They might have taught that their only role is to protect the state and to serve with their bodies, nothing more. I do not want to see such a classification in the contemporary society. It is awful and unfair. It deprives people of their individuality and the right of choice. I do not think that men serving with their bodies were dreaming to do that. They could not be eager to be treated as animals and machines. In the passage the author stresses that these people “put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones” (Abcarian & Klotz 117). Why does it happen? I think that that the answer can be found in the attitude towards these people. I believe that if everyone neglects a person, in some time he/she will have the same attitude towards himself/herself. My opinion is that it is better to place Everett C. Marm in the group of people serving with their head.
To sum up, I would like to stress that although Thoreau’s point of view of the state shows the division of all people into the three major groups, it has some disadvantages. Neglecting people’s ability to perform several functions in the state is one of them. Plus, those people who serve with their bodies seem to be completely neglected and humiliated. It must not happen in any state because its purpose is to protect people. Otherwise, it is unfair policy to humiliate those who do everything possible to protect the state. People are treated as machines in the passage under consideration and they seem to have no opportunity to change their lives for the better. As for me, I dislike this attitude and would never suggest applying Thoreau’s point of view of the state in the contemporary society. I appreciate my freedom, ability to choose the occupation I like and possibility to voice my point of view whenever I want to do this. In any case, the passage I have read helped me to appreciate the contemporary life and democracy in my state.
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