Unrest

November 6, 2016 — Leave a comment

In light of my recent post on the 2016 election I feel compelled to clarify my position as I was asked the poignant question: do you want unrest? To this I would answer no but that’s far too simple a response and doesn’t take into the account the nuance of the situation. For one can be content with outward expressions of unrest without condoning violence. In turn civil unrest can manifest itself with both positive and negative effects on a society. Personally irregardless of the election results I don’t foresee there being much unrest in the forms of violence. However, the sentiments of those discontent with the current direction of the country and world  are going to grow exponentially so long as the establishment continues to ignore them.

Firstly I will point to how Christianity has influenced my perspective on unrest. I am of the belief that God ultimately has a plan for the world and that He is far more wiser than me as can be seen in verses Isaiah 28:29, Ephesians 1:11, 2 Timothy 1:9, etc. So for me ultimately who wins the election won’t effect my outlook on the world or cause my heart to tremble because if its God will who am I to oppose it. Furthermore we are called not to look upon the government or other people to protect our mind and bodies. Christianity calls for Christians to both respect those in authority  as well as use judgement in order to keep in accordance with God’s thelēma (Romans 12:2). When there is a clash of wills unrest will occur.

Secondly from a more historical perspective one can look at ancient Rome and the rise of the Populares faction in response to growing unrest between the plebeians and rich elites. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and Gaius Sempronius Gracchus were a pair of plebeian tribunes  during the 2nd Century BC , who sought to introduce land reforms and other populist legislations in ancient Rome. Naturally the wealthy senators and land owners were not keen on acknowledging the troubles of the poor plebeians which were being championed by the Gracchus brothers. The elites used all their power and influence to depose of them however the seeds were sown  and the Senate would later come to find an even more formidable foe 60 years later in the form of one, Julius Caesar. In the same way that elites squashed the reforms of the Gracchus brothers, I fear that the American political establishment is sending the US down a similar path. Sure they may win the battle, i.e. the 2016 election, but it remains to be seen if they will in fact win the war or lose to an even more deadlier creation.

Finally a short look at what one of the minds of the enlightenment thought  in regards to government and unrest. John Locke who largely influenced the American founding fathers viewed unrest as a legitimate reaction to a government which overstepped its boundaries. Locke declared that under natural law, all people have the right to life, liberty, and estate; under the social contract, the people could instigate a revolution against the government when it acted against the interests of citizens, to replace the government with one that served the interests of citizens. In such cases Locke argued that it was a moral imperative to replace the government by any means. His works influenced the English Civil War, American Revolution, and French Revolution.

So that is why I am not particularly bothered by the idea that a disruption in the status quo would see civil unrest. As long as people are still fallible and governments continue to ignore their constituents there will be the need from time to time for conflicts to take place.

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