I hear the same complaints about politicians that you do. And while I understand them (I’ve complained plenty myself), the fact is that complaining accomplishes very little. And there is a very simple reason why complainers have no effect:
Because the complainers keep right on obeying.
As long as you obey, the things you complain about will keep on happening, and there is no way around that fact.
This idea that “nothing changes as long as you obey” has a modern proof – that of American blacks in the southern United States. Specifically, between the civil war and Martin Luther King Jr.
King is badly misunderstood. His legacy has become a tool for garnering of political power. He has been turned into a semi-mystical symbol and used by power grabbers of many types.
The real Martin King, however, was a minister who exposed the truth that obedience is serfdom. His crucial synthesis was to combine disobedience with goodness. His crucial work was to hold them together.
What King did is what we must do, if we wish to rise above the modern serfdom that surrounds us.
Blacks suffered for many decades in the American south. They complained endlessly, but the laws were against them and remained against them. A few of the white people around them were sympathetic, and more white people in the north were sympathetic, but everyone obeyed the law and little changed.
Until King came along, of course, with his new strategy of goodness plus disobedience.
King was, above all, a minister. Goodness was paramount to him, and he had a very clear vision of what goodness entailed. And, he became very good at communicating it. King added disobedience to goodness, and combined them with teachings on courage and self-control.
Within a decade or so of using this strategy, things changed in the American south. First, individuals changed. And, after a while, laws followed.
Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.
We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully because our aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself.
Most people can’t stand up for their convictions, because the majority of people might not be doing it. See, everybody’s not doing it, so it must be wrong. And since everybody is doing it, it must be right.
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right.
Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.How to Disobey?
What to do and how to do it are for YOU to decide.
If I were to give you some sort of blueprint, and if you followed it, you’d be falling right back into the same trap of obeying someone else… in this case, me. That would be bad for you and worse for me.
You must decide for yourself what path to take, and you must – inside of yourself – summon the courage to act upon it, without me or anyone else holding your hand.
You must choose and you must act. Until then, your serfdom remains.
But when you do choose and act, you make yourself a free man or woman.