Blogging: An Act of Disobedience

December 10, 2011


In lecture, we have been discussing the idea of obedience. While we aimlessly type away, have we ever thought that we are performing act of disobedience? On this blog we have all done an array of things such as challenged public opinion, question or agree with experts, and voice our own ideas and opinions. As the semester comes to a close, I thought we take a step back from what we are hastily doing for a grade and put it into perspective.

The first aspect of the overall structure is Plato’s Crito “argument for escape” which explains, “that a person must do what the person knows is right”. In many cases during blogging, we are voicing our opinions as to what is right or wrong with our world and in many cases trying to find solutions or compromises to improve it. These opinions are what we think are right and most of the time, how other people should think or a least consider.

But then Socrates comes in with his incomplete argument for obedience which revolves around the idea that “opinions are not knowledge” and that “experts are more likely to have knowledge thannon-experts”. Since we are all in an intro to political theory class, we are obviously not the experts rather novices who are starting to develop ideas about all of these concepts we have discussed with the expert Professor and GSI’s. A lot of times we could be agreeing with what has been said in lecture and discussion but other times we are purposefully disagreeing to prove our own point.

Then there are the two theories of obligations. One being the theory of tacit consent which is when one gives consent to join a certain government or society. In a way, by commenting on a certain blog, you are giving consent to a person’s opinion, validating the opinion of a “non-expert”. There is also the “theory of reciprocity” where one gives gratitude back to your society/government as you would your elders. This could be seen as a student obeying a teachers’ instructions to blog and in return receiving a decent grade.

Most people see blogging partially as an easier way to get a good grade.I see it as a way for people, if taken seriously, to obey or disobey with experts on these topics.What do you think? Do you believe that blogging is an act of disobedience or are we just obeying with what we are told by our teachers? 



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7 Comments on “Blogging: An Act of Disobedience”

  1. blevz Says:

    I think that blogging certainly can serve as an act of disobedience. As the internet has grown larger and easier to access, many people around the globe with little access to representation have used blogging to have their opinions heard. As revolutions sparked in the Middle East, dis-empowered citizens turned to the internet to organize and make their grievances heard. While Socrates may be right that, “experts are more likely to have knowledge than non-experts,” it is also easy for experts to be biased towards privileged elements of society. Additionally, in societies with authoritarian governments, the potential for non-biased experts to express opinions counter to the entrenched opinions is very unlikely. Blogging seems to contribute to the open marketplace of idea needed for a well functioning society.

  2. mlvlasic Says:

    Interesting post. As the first commenter stated, I also think that blogging can be a form of blatant disobedience, but it’s also simply what we are told to do. Since blogging is a portion of our grade, we try to summon up as much expertise as we think we have on a topic and then we just write. Even though we aren’t experts, we are attempting to display the knowledge that we do have on the subjects being presented on the blog. Then again, as you say, when we voice our opinions on the blog we are also agreeing or disagreeing with what the actual experts have previously asserted about specific topics. I think that it’s a combination of us obeying or disobeying the word of the experts and us also just doing our best to provide as much legitimate knowledge as we have on a topic by putting it into paragraph form and entering it into a blog like this one.

  3. adamskt Says:

    I think that from the view of Socrates, blogging could be either a form of disobedience or a form of obedience, depending on the topic. Since we are not, as the author of this post mentions, experts on these topics, then contradicting or arguing against an expert would be disobedience. However, assuming that everything we hear is from an expert would not allow us to lead examined lives, which is what Socrates wants us to do. If we simply believe everything we hear because it sounds like it is from an expert, we risk never finding the real truth about the subject. I think that Socrates would support this blog as a way for us to question what we hear, in order to better understand and find the truth for ourselves. Since there is no way for us to know for certain whether a person we study is an expert (and therefore no way for us to know if we should obey or not), it is right for us to disagree with what others say, as long as our responses are well thought-out and respectful, and lead us closer to the actual truth. To me, this blog is a forum where we can combine all of our individual experience, wisdom, and opinions to bring ourselves closer to the truth as a whole.

  4. rfieds Says:

    This is a very interesting post. In terms of Socratic theory, I think that blogging presents a myriad of ideas and responses to issues that people sometimes have no understanding of. For this reason, blogging is disobedient in that we would be arguing against what is deemed correct or accepted. However, in being obedient by not blogging, we are essentially stripping ourselves of thought and creativity. Without regard to Socratic belief, blogging is a great form of expression in which we can pay witness to various viewpoints on certain issues. If we deem it a disobedient action, then we are denying the right to expression. I think that blogging is a great forum and should not be viewed as a disobedient act because it would be turning us in a wrong direction. Once again, without regard to Socrates, I think blogging shows that being disobedient is a good thing. If we were always obedient, then there would be no room for alternative opinion and there would be no opportunity for change.

  5. lkpeacock Says:

    I think the blog is just a way to facilitate discussions that are not able to happen in lecture or come up in sections. We are allowed to discuss further principles and ideas that are related to issues not brought up in class. It allows for us to apply the theorists’ ideas to current events or issues that are important to individuals in the class.

    Yes, there are always the students who are “disobedient” and just argue for the sake of argument. In some cases those students actually make us think deeper about why we are right and they are wrong, and other times they are just downright annoying, but they have a right to voice their opinions, even if they are novices.

    I agree with previous comments that without the blogging, we are limit our freedom of expression. Yes, Socrates, Mill, Machiavelli, etc. are experts on the philosophy behind politics, but it does not mean we cannot use their arguments to strengthen our our ideas or use them to disagree with one another. I think this is a perfect example of Mill wanting society to to limit anyones freedom of expression so that the human race can get to the truth.

  6. habavol Says:

    Hm, I like the different perspectives you have brought up. My initial thought was there is no way voicing your opinion on the internet is wrong! Because as United States citizens, we are all promised the freedom of speech, whether we are experts or not. I carefully consider everything people tell me, whether or not they are experts. I don’t think we should ALWAYS listen to only “experts.” Hearing different views on incidents gives us more knowledge than just listening to the one “right” opinion.

  7. carweiss Says:

    I like your argument and I think it brings up a lot of interesting points. It never really dawns on most of us to think that we all type away without really thinking about what we’re saying. For some of us, we are just aimlessly typing in the hopes of making an argument sound good because we need it for our grade. However, as your said in your post, for those of us who take this seriously, we are able to learn a lot from it and gain more insight into issues that we had never really thought about before. I think we are performing acts that cannot be done in lecture and we are able to chose which topics interest us and comment and argue amongst other people that find it exciting as well.
    Being disobedient is what allows this blog to take place and it allows us to explore different topics. Without disobedience, there is no room for interpretations, just a right and a wrong.

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