“Civil Disobedience” — the Thoreau essay and the idea — is taught as a romantic tale of intellectual heroism, says TeacherLore. The transcendentalists would not be impressed.
A few years ago I visited three different classrooms in Montana high schools on the same day. All three classrooms featured a poster with Ralph Waldo Emersonâ€™s quote: â€œWhoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.â€
Few professions appear more like a herd of nonconformists than that of todayâ€™s English teachers.
TeacherLore suggests some reading materials to deepen the discussion and asks for suggestions.
The discussion of civil disobedience should include also, at minimum, a discussion of the rule of law, of the social contract, and of the difficulties inherent in setting oneself up as a judge of oneâ€™s own case.
I get annoyed by the idea that protesters are noble automatically, regardless of the quality of their ideas or their actions. Sincerity is overrated.