Matt Damon Speaks out Against Oligarchy, “Our Problem is Civil Obedience”

Damon makes some crucial points in this passionate rant against the system, and what he calls a “topsy-turvy” world.


“I start from the supposition that the world is topsy turvy. That things are all wrong,” starts movie star and author Matt Damon in this powerful speech calling on people to question authority.

The wrong people are in jail, and the wrong people are out of jail,” Damon goes on. “The wrong people are in power, and the wrong people are out of power. Wealth is distributed in such a way as to not just simply require small reform, but a drastic re-allocation. All we have to do is to look at the state of the world today, and you can see it’s topsy-turvy. You might watch TV and think it’s ok, but you just have to detach and come back, and you’re horrified.”

Damon_croppedDamon then references the style of the conference, which is ‘civil disobedience’. “As soon as you say the topic is civil disobedience, you’re saying our problem is civil disobedience,”He states.

“That is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.”

“Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of their governments and have gone to war. And millions have been killed because of this obedience. We recognize this from Nazi Germany,” Damon states, describing thoughtlessly obedient residents as “herd-like people”. “We know that the problem there was obedience. That the people obeyed Hitler. People obeyed. That was wrong. People should have challenged it, they should have resisted. And if we were only there, we would have showed them.”

Or would we? There’s something to chew on.

Damon’s message is that blind obedience to authority is not necessarily the ethical choice. Obedience cannot replace your ethical compass. In fact, it’s the root cause of all the countless young lives lost in senseless wars throughout the ages.

“The rule of law maximizes injustice. The rule of law is the darling of the leaders and the plague of the people. We ought to begin to recognize this. What we are trying to do is to get back to the principles, the aims and the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. This spirit is resistance to illegitimate authority.”

Damon promotes disobeying laws that do not serve the greater good or go against fundamental morality: those new, however increasingly typical injustices, like imprisoning the kind-hearted individuals who feed the homeless or prosecuting individuals for collecting rainwater. Like trying to sue those who decide to grow veggies on their yard, or making parents’ lives hell for preventing them from giving marijuana oil to their ill child, a child whose life could be saved if the plants were legalized (internationally). Damon believes we must stand up together against all of these injustices and more.

But, he says, it doesn’t stop there. Above all, we have to stop following the call of corrupt, lying leaders to go fight against other innocent people in endless, bloody wars that merely make no sense, and don’t benefit anyone except the arms dealerships, the rebuilding contractors, and the oil corps. We must stop making war, and we must stop believing that to honor the fallen we need to buy into the federal government and the mainstream media’s glorification of war.

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8 Responses to Matt Damon Speaks out Against Oligarchy, “Our Problem is Civil Obedience”

  1. Kelly says:

    There’s no indication of when this speech happened, or where, or why he was invited. Is it possible to add that information?

  2. Mike says:

    These aren’t Matt Damon’s words. It’s a Howard Zinn piece but it’s good that he read it.

  3. Thank you Matt Damon for the great article. I would hope you would go one step further by endorsing the one candidate that would agree with what you have said. I know it puts one out on a limb to go against establishment rule, but from what you said, you might be willing to do just that.
    A Bernie Sanders supporter.

  4. Daniel P Wilson says:

    Then why is he a Clinton supporter if he is arguing for change…

  5. Roslyn Halperin says:

    i agree to recommend a book No strangers to Violence no Strangers to love. page 121 . Franz Jaegerstaetter refused to join the German army and even though he had two small children and a wife he was executed.. ..for not joining the army.. Its a sad story and yet he is really a Saint.. he could have saved himself.. but stood up for what he believed as a Christian. I would hope since it is a higher age more and more people will be like Franz so no one gets executed in the future for refusing to go to war.

  6. Al Weener says:


  7. Boneyard smith says:

    How stupid. If there is a bad law, work to change it, not disobey it. What an asshole.

  8. Justin N says:

    He’s performing a Howard Zinn speech:

    While I don’t doubt that Damon is an ally on issues of social justice, these aren’t his words.

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