Front Page Titles (by Subject) Just War Theory and Resistance - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1982, vol. 5, No. 2
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Just War Theory and Resistance - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1982, vol. 5, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Just War Theory and Resistance
“Just War Doctrine: A Warrant for Resistance.” The Thomist 45 (October 1981): 503–540.
The doctrine of the just war has a long history which may provide a moral justification for the individual's right to resist unjust wars.
In the Old Testament, the individual was justified in resisting authority in order to obey Yahweh. For St. Augustine, one was obligated to obey the king, unless his order was clearly unrighteous or contrary to God's command. For Aquinas, individuals are not bound to obey a ruler if he gained power unjustly or issued an order that is unjust. With Luther, subjects ought to obey their rulers in doubtful cases, but not when there is certainty about the injustice of the proposed cause. Vittoria concurred with this, and allowed that the individual need not assume responsibility for assessing the reasons for war before following a leader's orders. Suarez went a step further and held that in cases of “positive doubt”—for example, when there are reasons for and against the justice of a war, the individual is bound to follow the course that is more probably just.
A major advance in theorizing occurred with Hugo Grotius, who was the first in the Christian tradition to argue against engaging in war when the cause is of doubtful justice. Conscience is to be the sovereign guide of human actions, and if opinions waver about the justice of a cause, the balance should incline in the favor of peace.
Recently, the Catholic Church has affirmed the principle that citizens, and not rulers alone, have to concern themselves with the criteria of a just war. Furthermore, in February 1980, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops affirmed (implicitly) that the individual has no a priori obligation either to support or to oppose a proposed war. In effect, the government's decision need no longer enjoy any presumption of truth or justice. The American bishops also recommended that the government extend legal immunity to selective conscientious objectors, not simply to total pacifists. So far, the government has turned a deaf ear to the bishops' recommendation.