The Thoreau quote below has always been one of my favorites. If I remember correctly he was writing in the context of an increasingly hot national struggle over slavery that would lead, in the year after his publication of his essay, to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which required free states like Massachusetts to apprehend and send escaped slaves back to the South--despite their own state laws against slavery. The sentiment and logic (and Thoreau's prose) never fail to fill me with a kind of awe. Majority rule keeps us running and supposedly reflects a people's values and priorities (it is "expedien[t]"), but it never bears a necessary relationship with right. When the majority holds for something evil (i.e., slavery, internment camps), Thoreau argues that a conscientious person ("the wise man") must vote in some way other than by ballot. How exhilarating. One thinks of the Occupy Movement. The only problem is that this logic is as much that of Thoreau and someone like MLK as it is central to the thinking of the more virulent anti-choice groups or those wankers in Oregon. So--and this is no argument against Thoreau's point--when your government does things that you not only disagree with but on reflection find deeply and morally repugnant, even horrifying (i.e., Guantanamo Bay, denying health care to women with few resources in Texas, etc.), how do you register your vote for right? Resistance that is meaningful must undermine the order of law. That sounds fine if the cause is my cause, but if it's the cause of Operation Rescue, things start to seem more complicated. Order is never the same as justice, but it seems a more likely context for it than chaos.