Resist or Squander

“Resistance” always held a bad connotation connected to it. The ones who resist are looked down upon in society. One must submit; conform to the majority, or face the consequences of law and judgement of their peers. And how easy has it become to submit when your rights/life are not affected? Why take a bullet for them, in a war that is not yours? Captain John Brown is a man of great honor and courage. He gave his life fighting for the civil liberties of the African Americans. Yes, he committed murder in doing so. But wasn’t he was justified? The slaveholders who were shot and killed had the easy way out. No pain or suffering; a bullet to the back of the head and their world went dark. The slaves were tortured. All they ever knew was to submit. The Douglass slave narratives highlighted the injustices, torment, and humanitarian violations these slaves were subjected to. A “moral relativist” viewpoint. A viewpoint widely accepted when humanitarian violations are on the line. Just as we freed the Jews from the Nazis, aided the suppressed Somalians in Mogadishu, and worked to liberate the Middle East from terrorist threats such as the Taliban and now ISIS. When there are humanitarian violations taking place, it’s the American way to eliminate these injustices; whether they are foreign or domestic.

Injustice will always be a topic of discussion in our Democratic state. The majority will oppress the minority, whether it’s just or not. One might identify the great injustice right before their eyes, yet silently conforms to the majority as they stand on the side-line with their false sense of security. Soon their card will be pulled; they will face the injustice of the majority, and many will watch as they walk the line.

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was a strong advocate for resistance. He knew the Africans Americans have been suppressed and lead on for too long. He notes that slavery was abolished in 1865, however Africans were still fighting for their un-opposed right to vote until 1965! As he stated in his speech Ballot or the Bullet “He made a fool of you. He made you think you were going somewhere and you end up going nowhere between Lincoln and Washington”. The train for liberation for the African Americans was moving very slowly. One can argue that without the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, African Americans might still be oppressed with legal barriers infringing on their right to vote. Malcolm advocated for resisting the majority. If they suppress you then you must resist. As David Thoreau states “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority”.

One great fear of a non-resistant society is the conformity to the majority or government. One of Thoreau greatest objections. He brings up the analogy of “the machine”. Where men are mindlessly controlled by the government. Following the orders of their superiors, without taking into account their own morals or ideals.  (Ex: German Troops in Nazi Germany) Thoreau compares these men to that of dogs or horses. They do the work, but are controlled by the authority.


It is up to the American PEOPLE to make decisions when the legal structure unjustly oppresses their people. Just as we did during the civil rights movement, and the revolutionary and civil wars. Today we see many organizations protesting and fighting for their civil liberties such as “Black Lives Matter”, “LGBT”, “Prisoners Union”, “Occupy Wall Street” etc. As Thoreau stated and Malcolm X advocated for “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine”.

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6 Responses to Resist or Squander

  1. nshah210 says:

    I really do see the point you are trying to make with the blog and to some extent I do agree with you. I just think it is hard to justify some of the positive resistance movement just because there is a reason why laws and order was created. Granted I do understand that a majority can oppress the minority and they have to do something to get their voices heard and get out of the situation that they are in. I just go back to Lincoln and the argument he presents that there should be more of a law and order to situations. But then again, it also comes down to violence. I think that peaceful protest is much better than using violence to get the point across.

    • zschilling says:

      I agree with you, but not entirely with Lincoln. He advocates for a abiding law and order for change, but if that were the case many things would be a lot different today. Many argue that violence isn’t the answer but thats a really gray area. Corruption, oppression and tyrannical government is still a threat just as it was in the past. If it’s was serious enough, violence might be justified.

  2. alxtower says:

    While the actions of John Brown might seem justified, it sets a bad precedent going forward in our society. If we are allowed to kill people just because we disagree with their stance, why even have society? Malcolm X believed that if violence was used in self defense, then it was justified. Douglass made a similar argument, and only fought back after he was attacked. That’s why the American people need to work within the legal system to make change for the people. Self defense will always be justified, and this was demonstrated by the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. By attacking those that disagree with you or even those that are neutral, you quickly shift from rebel with a cause to terrorist. The LGBT community had success because they were able to make changes politically. At it’s base, the Black Lives Matter movement is also aiming for political change. While this process might not bring about the swift justice people are looking for, it holds our society together and helps to keep people safe.

    • zschilling says:

      I don’t think violence is always the answer. However in some situations it’s justified. It’s not a good precedent in today’s society, but there can always be situation where it’s justified. Would you be OK with Muslims or Mexicans fighting back if they were being deported? A more extreme scenario is a police state oppressing the people. Not to be paranoid but it’s still a possibility. One of the reasons I’m for the 2nd amendment but OK with some restrictions. My main point is we always need to resist. Wether it’s violent or not, we cannot let the majority squander out the minority. Resistance is where we the people draw the line. Where the LGBT and Black Lives Matters communities said we had enough and we will resist.

  3. jfavila says:

    I agree that people should resist when the government is somehow threatening their rights but I do believe resistance whenever possible should be in a peaceful manner. Peaceful protest is what I support. if everyone was just allowed to shoot someone they disagreed with there would be chaos. Self-defense is justifiable but to me killing people who disagree with you just as John Brown did is too extreme.

  4. tonybetz says:

    I really liked your post, and I agree with what you are saying here.. I particularly liked the first photo you used of MLK with the quote. I do believe that if we let the world continue to be evil than we are in fact not better than those committing evil acts. Yes we are not actually doing anything wrong except for standing ideally by and not helping to put a stop to it. Really liked the post.

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