To Do or Not To Do: That Is the Question of Men.
Both authors agree that if a man does not act to change something he does not like, then he is no good to anyone, not even himself. There is no utopian society, so there is always something wrong in a government. Civil disobedience is defined as a refusal to obey governmental demands or commands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government. This refers to people that break a law that they think is unjust, that only do this to bring the unjust law to light so everyone can see how unjust the law really is. Not everyone who breaks a state law because they think it is unjust is a civil disobedient, Martin Luther king Jr., was not a civil disobedient because he broke state laws because he thought they were in violation of the federal constitution. Now, people that can be called civil disobedient, have to be withholding taxes or violate state law knowing it is legally wrong, but believing the people are morally right. Both authors see the right for change in unjust laws but Thoreau believes that action on a large scale is the right way to go. Van Dusen makes a good point, if we act on a large scale then we are not hurting the unjust law but we are hurting democracy its self. .
Thoreau states that if unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? He believes that if we do not act then nothing will be done about the unjust law or it won't get done fast enough to help the people now. Most people under this type of government think it is more evil like to act out because the people acting out might not be the majority. But it is this type of government that makes it more evil. A government should be more ready for change and reform. Some people think that if there is an unjust law it is part of the necessary friction if the machine of government.