Evan Carton’s essay on Civil Disobedience focuses on students and their reactions after reading Civil Disobedience. This essay was different from the other two that we read because it focused on the reaction of other people that read it and how Carton interprets why his students acted a certain way after reading the essay. Carton explains that Thoreau doesn’t pay his taxes because it is a form of civil obedience because the government uses funds from taxes to fund slaveholding and wars. However, I don’t understand how Thoreau believes in the individual and their thoughts and actions will make a bigger impact than majority but one person not paying taxes is not going to affect a lot. But then he continues on to say that if thousands of people don’t pay them; it will work. He seems to be contradicting himself at every turn.
Carton also explains his non-taxpaying belief as a way to have more face-to face time with the government instead of having a clear distinction between civilians and representatives of the government and not even the government itself. When the government meets the people it governs, they will finally see that what they are doing doesn’t always agree with individuals like Thoreau and the famous line “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” is actually hypocritical.
My favorite part of the essay was how he explained how his students felt that the essay was criticizing how they advocate morality but they don’t do what they say in every sense of the word. The conclusion summarizes how they think Civil Disobedience summarizes the worst part of humanity and they said that it can also be seen as the most hopeful because we see our flaws.