Which Do You Cultivate – Respect for the Law or Respect for the Right?

That was Thoreau’s question in his Essay on Civil Disobedience.  His answer was, “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just person is also a prison.”  Philosopher Bertrand Russell countered, “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”  Psychologist Carol Gilligan counters further, (paraphrasing her), “Why so much worry about your ideas of conscience and justice when what is most essentially lacking too often with either is compassion and caring?”   What has been your direct experience with committing to conscience versus commiting to democracy versus commiting to caring?  Is it a matter of who do you trust?

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