A moderated law of value must rest upon two defining principles, 1. Value as elected opinion 2. Law as freed labor. We are called to share value by obeying democratic lawful governance. When nations are unprepared to fulfill these responsibilities they are nothing but common thieves and criminals. By agitation and resistance, it is incumbent upon EVERY individual to demand that these constraints be removed from the private and public sphere. Failure to do so will bring danger and destitution to our world. In order to live freely one must be prepared to die for freedom. Whether freedom is metaphysical or existential is one’s own business. However, nations will be required to embrace freedom’s cost as a way out from under fiefdoms. Fascists prosper when individualists ignore their duties as law-abiding people. They wait for criminal authorities to uphold law. Sadly, laws can work when people are willing to stand up for them. Unwillingness to do so is very very expensive. When speech is juridical a vigorous and ongoing defense of opinion should provide justice. This fight is moral and must begin and conclude with making life worthwhile of laws of value. Through practice of opinionated speech it might be possible to discard evil thinking. Only then rule of law is value fit to become enshrined within human beings.
Thoreau’s The Duty of Civil Disobedience espouses the need to prioritize one’s conscience over the dictates of laws. The influence of Henry Thoreau upon Gandhi. Thoreau begins his essay by arguing that government rarely proves itself useful and that it derives its power from the majority because they are the strongest group, not because they hold the most legitimate viewpoint. He contends that people’s first obligation is to do what they believe is right and not to follow the law dictated by the majority. When a government is unjust, people should refuse to follow the law and distance themselves from the government in general. A person is not obligated to devote his life to eliminating evils from the world, but he is obligated not to participate in such evils. This includes not being a member of an unjust institution (like the government). Thoreau further argues that the United States fits his criteria for an unjust government, given its support of slavery and its practice of aggressive war. Thoreau doubts the effectiveness of reform within the government, and he argues that voting and petitioning for change achieves little. He presents his own experiences as a model for how to relate to an unjust government: In protest of slavery, Thoreau refused to pay taxes and spent a night in jail. But, more generally, he ideologically dissociated himself from the government, “washing his hands” of it and refusing to participate in his institutions. According to Thoreau, this form of protest was preferable to advocating for reform from within government; he asserts that one cannot see government for what it is when one is working within it. Before Indian Opinion could be studied, information about Gandhi’s indebtedness to Thoreau is in the 1942 appeal “To American Friends,” he wrote, “You have given me a teacher in Thoreau who furnished me through his essay on the “Duty of Civil Disobedience’ scientific confirmation of what I was doing in South Africa. Gandhi had written to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942, ” I have profited greatly by the writings of Thoreau and Emerson.”
Robespierre’s directorship is a locus classicus of governmental use of terror ostensibly in the public interest. Gandhi doubted the benefit; he said, in 1909: “There is a forceful book by Carlyle on the French Revolution. I realized after reading it that it is not from the white nations that India can learn the way out of her present degradation. It is my belief that the French people have gained nothing of value through the Revolution.” —And, in 1920 (in a passage just after another allusion to the French Revolution):“[O]rder established by a tyrant in order to get hold of the tyrannical reigns of Government… is no order for me but it is disorder. I want to evolve justice out of this injustice.” —And, in 1942:“I believe that in the history of the world there has not been a more genuinely democratic struggle for freedom than ours in colonial India. I read Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution while I was in prison, and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has told me something about the Russian revolution. But it is my conviction that in as much as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today.” Here the phrase “everybody… his own master” is a call to self-discipline among the citizens of free India. Only such inner moral strength, so widespread as to be culturally predominant, could compensate adequately for the absence of tyrannical or quasi-tyrannical authority imposed by Government. When Gandhi felt outraged (which was often the case) he normally did not express it directly as outspoken rage, but instead took up certain forms of vigorous dialogue, political activism and constructive work. It seems to me that Mao’s concept of political common sense:“We cannot love our enemies. We cannot love the ugly things in society; our goal is to wipe out such things; that is human common sense” is gradually being superseded in some quarters by Gandhi’s common-sense view that win-win solutions to social conflicts are better than win-lose. I don’t mean that a nonviolent approach to socially pathological people willing to devour other people (in one way and another) is so problem-free as to be a simple panacea. It was, in Gandhi’s opinion, a necessary but insufficient precept of effective liberation. This can be a mere platitude but I would suggest that it is better than a likewise simple precept of “beating dogs in the water.”