What is the relation of justice to the moral view that Thoreau maintains? Explain your answer.

When the majority rules, it is not just. 3.

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In his essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," Thoreau writes that "a government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice." This is why he regards civil disobedience as a duty. Justice is the product of the individual conscience, and the individual can assert his importance by standing up to the tyranny of the majority. The best way to serve the state, according to Thoreau, is by disobeying unjust laws, since this makes the state more just. We ought to respect the ideal of justice rather than the letter of the law.

Thoreau gives the example of an army marching to battle. It may be that every single man in the regiment, from the colonel who is nominally in command to the privates and powder-monkeys, is well aware that the cause they serve is unjust and that they are marching off to kill their fellow men for no good reason. If the matter were left to the conscience of any one of them, they would turn round and go home. However, because they are acting upon orders, they behave like machines rather than men. Any one of them who refused to follow these orders and consulted only his conscience would be serving both the state and the principle of justice.

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