All entries for Thursday 27 April 2006

April 27, 2006

Who will come for us?

Follow-up to First they came for the terrorists… from Dan Goodman @ Warwick

I wrote an entry on civil liberties intending to spark off a debate about what we ought to do if current trends continued to the point where we could no longer uphold the law in good conscience. Unsurprisingly, the subsequent comments and debate got sidetracked into an amusing if rather pointless spat between those who believe the government is doing right and those who don't. This entry is for debate on the questions I asked, which I repeat below.

As I said before, we haven't yet reached this point [where we could no longer uphold the law in good conscience], but we need to think about two things: how do we know when we have reached this point? and what are the acceptable forms of illegal resistance? The no2id campaign lies on the boundary between legality and illegality; it clearly contradicts the spirit of the law if not the letter.

I haven't yet reached a position on these questions, and I would be interested in debate and opinions. I can imagine that some might argue that certain forms of illegal protest are already justified. For example, protesting outside parliament without written permission (which is now illegal). But I doubt that anyone but some very diehard revolutionists would argue that armed insurrection is justified. I suspect that a complete exploration of these issues would require an understanding of the nature of collaboration. Why do ostensibly good people go along with things they know are wrong? What can be done about it? A simple question along these lines which continually perplexes me is: why does the Labour party go along with what Tony Blair wants even though he is quite clearly a Tory? (Tories, please don't be offended by this, I say this only for rhetorical effect.)

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