It has been fascinating to watch the response to Trump’s first couple of weeks in office. As numerous people predicted, the president’s historically high levels of dissatisfaction and radical policies on an array of issues have offended many. In addition, he has upset multiple strategic alliances the US has with other countries, challenged the traditional relationship the White House has had with the press, and taken a belligerent posture (in some cases, even committing acts of war) towards many in the world. And of course, this list is by no means complete.
Regardless of the position one takes towards Trump or his opponents, it is worth remembering the value of disagreement and even civil disobedience for a vibrant democracy. It may be uncomfortable to go through, but can be beneficial in the long run. So as the Trump presidency continues, and with it the protests against his policies, let us recall some of the ways philosophers have articulated the necessity of this dialogue.
- Peg Birmingham, “Hannah Arendt’s Philosophy of Law Approach to International Criminal Law,” International Criminal Law Review, 2014.
- William Scheuerman, “Recent Theories of Civil Disobedience: An Anti-Legal Turn?,” Journal of Political Philosophy, December 2015.
- Candice Delmas, “On Michael Walzer’s ‘The Obligation to Disobey’,” Ethics, July 2015.
- Kimberley Brownlee, “The civil disobedience of Edward Snowden,” Philosophy & Social Criticism, December 2016.
- Jonathan Neufeld, “Aesthetic Disobedience,” Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism, Spring 2016.
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