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Book Title: Über die Pflicht zum Ungehorsam gegen den Staat: und andere Essays|
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The author of the book: Henry David Thoreau
Edition: Diogenes Verlag AG
Date of issue: January 29th 2014
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 19.46 MB
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Last time I reviewed this book, my review was rapidly deleted and I received a mail explaining that "if I continued to post content like this, my account might come under review for removal". Okay, let's see what happens this time round. Like millions of people round the world, I am appalled at what Trump, Bannon and the rest of their team have done in the eleven days since Trump became President of the United States. This is clearly no more than the beginning. I want to oppose them. But what can I do? I'm not even a US resident.
Let me think aloud for a minute or two. I started off by deciding that I wouldn't unnecessarily pay any money to the US: no trips to the US, as few purchases as possible of US products. Presumably this has some tiny effect, but it's not very dramatic. Of course, if enough people did it then you'd see things happen; I notice that Mexicans are already starting to boycott Mcdonalds and Starbucks. It would still be nice to accelerate the process.
It's now well-established that the internet is a powerful tool for organizing collective action. Already, there are hundreds of petitions, marches and demonstrations being set up that way. I'm wondering what options are available if people want to coordinate economic action against Trump's regime. For example, I don't think the following apps would be impossible challenges to build:
1. A shopping app which optimised its search so as to give as little money as possible to the US. Part of the problem with organising a boycott is that it's hard to know which things are actually American. The app takes care of that; it has a crowdsourced database of information which lets it quickly decide that Brand X will send 34% of the money you pay to the US, but Brand Y only 12%. Of course, American patriots will be able to use it in reverse, sending as many dollars as possible to US companies. It'd be interesting to see which pattern of behavior was more common.
2. A phone app which refused to take calls from any US-made phones. If the app is switched on, an attempt to call you from an iPhone just gets a polite message saying that the owner only accepts calls from non-US phones. Once again, needless to say, patriots could use it in reverse.
There's already a primitive app to boycott Trump businesses. I think we'll soon see this taken further. Please let me know if you come across anything interesting.
Thinking more about what I can do here, the subject of international conferences occurs. As an academic, I typically submit half a dozen papers a year to various conferences in my field. The venues for these conferences are in nearly all cases chosen by an international committee after a bidding process. Many conferences are held in the US. A quick look around Google suggests that the US conference market is worth on the order of $100B per year.
Given the Trump administration's irrational and capricious policy of banning people from entry into the US, solely on the grounds of their nationality and literally at a minute's notice, it seems to me that it would be not be fair to potential attendees to hold an international conference in the US when other alternatives exist. I will be making this point to the various professional bodies with which I am affiliated.
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Read information about the authorHenry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau) was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, philosopher, and abolitionist who is best known for Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.
Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism.
In 1817, Henry David Thoreau was born in Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 1837, taught briefly, then turned to writing and lecturing. Becoming a Transcendentalist and good friend of Emerson, Thoreau lived the life of simplicity he advocated in his writings. His two-year experience in a hut in Walden, on land owned by Emerson, resulted in the classic, Walden: Life in the Woods (1854). During his sojourn there, Thoreau refused to pay a poll tax in protest of slavery and the Mexican war, for which he was jailed overnight. His activist convictions were expressed in the groundbreaking On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849). In a diary he noted his disapproval of attempts to convert the Algonquins "from their own superstitions to new ones." In a journal he noted dryly that it is appropriate for a church to be the ugliest building in a village, "because it is the one in which human nature stoops to the lowest and is the most disgraced." (Cited by James A. Haught in 2000 Years of Disbelief.) When Parker Pillsbury sought to talk about religion with Thoreau as he was dying from tuberculosis, Thoreau replied: "One world at a time."
Thoreau's philosophy of nonviolent resistance influenced the political thoughts and actions of such later figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas K. Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. D. 1862.