Campus, Opinion

On Civil Disobedience

King’s Academy believes in its students and their abilities to make rational decisions. However, some students do not live up to these expectations. One should note that the broken expectations tend to be similar and have always been dictated by the faculty. In these cases, peers of the violators take it upon themselves to decide what should be done with these particular individuals. The peers, in the form of the Disciplinary Committee, decide on the consequences of the student’s actions. As rules are enforced, there are those who will attempt to oppose them, and often succeed in breaking them. This select group of people does this simply because the laws exist, not because of their displeasure over the said laws.

As a proctor, I often hear my proctees whining to me over possible consequences that could result from violating expectations. They raise chaos in order to fight back against “the man,” essentially fighting fire with fire. These people do this without thinking of what they wish to achieve or how they might best achieve it. Now some might mention Thoreau’s ideas of civil disobedience, where the unjust laws are broken because of their irrelevance or for their invalidity. While this is arguable, people must recognize the difference between law and the consequences of law. If you break a law, whether for good reason or bad, you must understand beforehand that punishment is a possibility. One should not be enraged when he is punished, given that if one didn’t desire the punishment, then one should not break the law. When one makes the choice to violate a law, one must consider the consequences of that choice. Even those who were wise and just know this. When Socrates was given the death sentence, he did not attempt to escape, as others attempted to persuade him to. Instead, he accepted this sentence, for this was justice. To escape the consequences of his actions would have undermined those actions and all that he fought for.

Another factor people must take into consideration when disobeying rules is the reason for the said rules. In King’s Academy, freshmen students are made to go to the academic building during study hall. They will continue to go there until they prove that they are fit for independent study. Now, if students wish to break free of this rule then the obvious course of action requires them to remain orderly and to prove that they are fit for independent study. At the current moment, certain freshmen take part in “civil disobedience” and brush off the rules. What they must realize is that this response is unfit for the situation.  By “sticking it to the man,” they are bringing down his wrath upon them, and bringing upon themselves exactly what they are trying to escape.

In addition to the factors that are justifications of justice, what one must understand is that at times, these rules are beneficial, though they might not be pleasurable. Study hall is set for our own benefit. If one does not want to study during study hall, one must understand that his actions are hurting him.  Perhaps it is because one cannot handle responsibility, but these actions results in a lack of trust. We must understand that school s meant to educate and better us, and we must have study hall in order for this to happen.

Now do not misunderstand, I have broken rules in my day, though I might have been better at doing so than some. And when I was caught, I did not hate those who punished me for it. When I broke the rules, I believed that I was doing this for a good reason, not just to spite the authorities. People must understand this when they think about their next moves.

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The campus newspaper of King's Academy, in Madaba, Jordan. Established 2007.