Civil disobedience is the act of breaking the law to make a statement about politics or justice, trying to effect social change by calling public attention to your grievance. An essential part of the act is to accept the legal consequences of breaking the law. The difference between those who practiced civil disobedience in the 1960s to bring attention to segregation and today’s Woke Students is that the latter want to do the crime without doing the time. In other words, they think they should be able to vandalize, assault, and harass people in the name of their ideology—without facing legal consequences.
Another essential part of civil disobedience is in its name—it’s civil. You don’t practice violence or destruction, for those practices detract from any public approbation you’ll get.
Here are two students who did face the consequences but think they shouldn’t have. Further, they’re not really practicing civil disobedience in the strict sense, as their crimes were theft on one hand and assault on the other.
The first video (sent by reader Su) is that of a University of North Carolina student who is pro-choice (I’m on her side there), stealing an anti-abortion sign from conservatives (I’m not in favor of that). A cop arrests her (she lies throughout: “I have no ID,” “I was going to give the sign back), and he treats her with respect, even informing her that those opposed to her views have free speech and a right to display their signs on campus. She still thinks she’s somehow immune to arrest. I have little sympathy for her—or rather, I sympathize with her views but not her actions.
Both films come from the “Created Equal” site, an anti-abortion group that sets up anti-abortion tables and specializes in showing pictures of aborted and dismember fetuses. Their methods are repugnant, but irrelevant to the point I’m making, which is about the right to peaceably promulgate your opinions and take your medicine if you break the law.
Here’s an enraged woman, also at the University of North Carolina, who screams at and then punches somebody from the Created Equal display. From Epoch Times:
The woman was identified as Jillian Ward, a pro-abortion feminist and aspiring journalist, according to Fox News. She was arrested by citation and charged with non-aggravated assault, reported the Daily Caller. It is unclear whether Ward attends the university.
If you want to break the law to make a political point, be ready to face the consequences of your action. I was once arrested for making a political statement, but peacefully, and I was prepared to go to jail had I not been given conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War. The heroes of the civil rights movement never committed assault on people or damage to property: they made their point quietly and were still beaten by billy clubs, thrown in jail, and bitten by dogs. It was their acquiescence to their attacks and their legal punishment that inspired the country and helped bring reform.
Civil disobedience doesn’t work if you hurt people or damage property in your “statement”, for you get no sympathy for breaking the law by damaging people and property. These two women above are the consequences of an entitlement that wants to censor free speech and doesn’t want to accept the consequences of illegal “censorship.” They are having tantrums, not effecting social change.