Quote of the Day: Civil Disobedience

 

“Rules were made to be broken.”

“Don’t disagree. Indeed they are. Providing, however, that the one breaking the rules is willing to pay the price for it, and the price gets charged in full … Otherwise breaking rules becomes the province of brats instead of heroes. Fastest way I can think of to turn serious political affairs into a playpen. A civilized society needs a conscience, and conscience can’t be developed without martyrs — real ones — against which a nation can measure its crimes and sins.” — Eric Flint, Crown of Slaves

This would be the flip side of my previous quote post about enforcing the law. If one truly feels like a law is unethical, break it — but understand the price that will need to be paid. As for martyrs, well — would Letters from a Montgomery Home ever had the power as Letters from a Birmingham Jail?

Our protesters are so accustomed to the notion that their vandalous “protests” will go unpunished that when one is arrested, one can find shock and outrage that any price will be demanded at all.  Which is why, yes, “civil disobedience” is now the province of brats and our serious political affairs have devolved into a playpen.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Wasn’t Crown of Slaves co-written by David Weber?

    Seawriter

    • #1
  2. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    We really owe it to them to arrest every last one of them.

    • #2
  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    We really owe it to them to arrest every last one of them.

    Thoreau says as much in Civil Disobedience. He believed an essential part of civil disobedience was filling the jails with protesters.

    Seawriter

    • #3
  4. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    We really owe it to them to arrest every last one of them.

    Thoreau says as much in Civil Disobedience. He believed an essential part of civil disobedience was filling the jails with protesters.

    Seawriter

    I would be okay with not arresting them, so long as we could all agree to simply ignore them.  No cameras. No microphones. No media. Then perhaps like the spoiled brats that they are, they might stop whining when they see it isn’t getting them the attention they so desperately crave.

    But that ain’t gonna happen.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Thank you, Amy. I am willing to have the protesters pay the full price. ;)

    And this is part of the Quote of the Day Series. If you would like to participate, you can sign up for a date here.

    • #5
  6. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Part of the problem is that the current crop of brats aren’t even protesting a particular law; they’re protesting democracy itself. They’re unhappy with the results of an election.

    The other part is that these people seem to think that if they just yell, “Civil disobedience,” loudly enough and often enough then they can declare themselves martyrs, but as a left-leaning former friend of mine said, “If you throw rocks at the cops, that’s not civil disobedience.”

    • #6
  7. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    I still recall thirty years ago I was a soldier from Fort Bragg hanging out for the weekend in Chapel Hill NC (that’s where the pretty college girls were) and on a Saturday afternoon, I was asked to sign a petition calling for the release of some idiot who was in jail for protesting something or another.  The young girl asking me to sign the petition invoked HDT’s call for civil disobedience.  I told her that she didn’t understand the concept of civil disobedience.  The whole idea of civil disobedience was to willingly violate laws you found unjust, and then pay the price for breaking the law.  I said that if I signed her petition, I would be violating everything HDT stood for, and that I could not do that in good conscience and that if this guy wanted to change law he found unjust, he needed to stay in jail or the law would never get changed.  She was dumbfounded.

    During the early part of I told her that my friend and I were serving in the US Army, so now she called us baby-killers which, oddly enough, did not help persuade me to sign her petition.

     

    • #7
  8. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    The whole idea of civil disobedience was to willingly violate laws you found unjust, and then pay the price for breaking the law.

    Right. The point is that if a law is truly unjust, most decent people will respond, “He’s in jail for what?”

    Incidentally, this is why non-violent resistance of the sort advocated by King and Gandhi only works in a fundamentally decent society. You can only appeal to society’s conscience when society has a conscience to begin with.

    • #8
  9. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):
    Incidentally, this is why non-violent resistance of the sort advocated by King and Gandhi only works in a fundamentally decent society. You can only appeal to society’s conscience when society has a conscience to begin with.

    So, forget non-violent protests once the Progs take over.

    Seawriter

    • #9
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Paul did his best work in jail.

    • #10
  11. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Even the statement that “rules were made to be broken” accepts the notion that there are, in fact, rules, otherwise what in heck are you rebelling against?  What are you breaking?  Or are you just for out and out anarchy?

    • #11
  12. bridget Inactive
    bridget
    @bridget

    If laws can be broken without repercussion, then they are mere suggestions, nothing more than guidelines for what we would like people to do in most circumstances.

    Ironically, the same people who think that they ought to be allowed a free pass to commit crimes based, on their own consciences, are the same people who want enhanced “hate crime” penalties for specific classes of victims.

    The entire set-up makes the law subjective and dependent upon the status of the lawbreakers or victims, rather than an instrument that applies equally to all.

    • #12
  13. Joe P Member
    Joe P
    @JoeP

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Wasn’t Crown of Slaves co-written by David Weber?

    Seawriter

    I dunno but he’s written with Eric Flint often.

    That reminds me, I need to check to see if that next Honorverse book came out and whether or not it’s coherently readable.

    • #13
  14. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Joe P (View Comment):
    That reminds me, I need to check to see if that next Honorverse book came out and whether or not it’s coherently readable.

    The last Honorverse book released was Shadow of Victory, released in November 2016. It is in the Honor Harrington period, but was part of the Shadow sub-series . The next one due for release is A Call to Vengeance, due for release in March 2018. It is book 3 of the Manticore Ascendant series.

    Seawriter

    • #14
  15. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Joe P (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Wasn’t Crown of Slaves co-written by David Weber?

    Seawriter

    I dunno but he’s written with Eric Flint often.

    That reminds me, I need to check to see if that next Honorverse book came out and whether or not it’s coherently readable.

    And unfortunately, the first third or so of the book is a collection of scenes that should have been included in the previous Shadows book so that one could make more sense. About the best I can say for it is that it checks in with a handful of characters we hadn’t seen since the Yawata attack and that I’d presumed were dead.

    • #15
  16. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Amy Schley: If one truly feels like a law is unethical, break it — but understand the price that will need to be paid.

    No. Understand that enforcing that price is unethical whether or not it’s your job. “I was just doing my job” is never an excuse for unethical practices.

    Not confident you know the difference between an ethical law and unethical one? Then don’t go into a business that requires you to make ethical decisions.

    Not confident others know the difference between an ethical and unethical law? Then don’t give them that job.

    • #16
  17. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If one truly feels like a law is unethical, break it — but understand the price that will need to be paid.

    No. Understand that enforcing that price is unethical whether or not it’s your job. “I was just doing my job” is never an excuse for unethical practices.

    Not confident you know the difference between an ethical law and unethical one? Then don’t go into a business that requires you to make ethical decisions.

    Not confident others know the difference between an ethical and unethical law? Then don’t give them that job.

    The police are our public servants, not our public masters. They are charged to uphold the law. We are citizens, not subjects; if we don’t want the police enforcing our codified will in the form of laws and regulations, it is our responsibility to changes those laws and regs, not the responsibility of the police to leave unenforced the laws each officer feels are unethical.

    • #17
  18. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    The police are our public servants, not our public masters. They are charged to uphold the law. We are citizens, not subjects; if we don’t want the police enforcing our codified will in the form of laws and regulations, it is our responsibility to changes those laws and regs, not the responsibility of the police to leave unenforced the laws each officer feels are unethical.

    Thank you, Amy. I was trying to come up with a way to address that utter nonsense. You have done so admirably.

    • #18
  19. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If one truly feels like a law is unethical, break it — but understand the price that will need to be paid.

    No. Understand that enforcing that price is unethical whether or not it’s your job. “I was just doing my job” is never an excuse for unethical practices.

    Not confident you know the difference between an ethical law and unethical one? Then don’t go into a business that requires you to make ethical decisions.

    Not confident others know the difference between an ethical and unethical law? Then don’t give them that job.

    The police are our public servants, not our public masters. They are charged to uphold the law. We are citizens, not subjects; if we don’t want the police enforcing our codified will in the form of laws and regulations, it is our responsibility to changes those laws and regs, not the responsibility of the police to leave unenforced the laws each officer feels are unethical.

    What if I’m unable to change an unethical law? Why am I bound to my countrymen’s inability to understand the truth? What if me spending my life in jail for a truly unethical law doesn’t work? Am I really morally required to give up my life and the productivity that my life would bring that would benefit the rest of the country? Am I also required to turn myself in for all the laws I realize I break, or break on purpose, and no one will find out about? Because it sounds like that follows from the OP.

    • #19
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Mike H (View Comment):
    What if I’m unable to change an unethical law? Why am I bound to my countrymen’s inability to understand the truth?

    I guess it’s time to leave the country. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

    Longer version, if your ethics are so out of line with the ethics of your countrymen, you might just want to find a new country if you can not sway them to change their ethics. Just remember that for most of history and most places, human sacrifice has not been out of the question in the average set of ethics.

    • #20
  21. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    The police are our public servants, not our public masters. They are charged to uphold the law. We are citizens, not subjects; if we don’t want the police enforcing our codified will in the form of laws and regulations, it is our responsibility to changes those laws and regs, not the responsibility of the police to leave unenforced the laws each officer feels are unethical.

    Thank you, Amy. I was trying to come up with a way to address that utter nonsense. You have done so admirably.

    If it sounds like “nonsense,” maybe you should ask me to elaborate instead of assuming there couldn’t be rational reasons for me saything the things that I said.

    • #21
  22. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    What if I’m unable to change an unethical law? Why am I bound to my countrymen’s inability to understand the truth?

    I guess it’s time to leave the country. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

    Classy. As if almost the entire human race and every country isn’t terrible at ethics. How dare I push back on the wisdom of crowds dogma? Better just throw me out.

    Longer version, if your ethics are so out of line with the ethics of your countrymen, you might just want to find a new country if you can not sway them to change their ethics. Just remember that for most of history and most places, human sacrifice has not been out of the question in the average set of ethics.

    Human sacrifice that has little or no chance of success is simply ill advised. Telling people that they’re required to throw their life away even if they’re the ones in the right just seems like a glaring flaw in your ethical model.

    • #22
  23. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Is there an ethics test in our legislative processes at any level? I think a broader test is constitutionality. Then, if a law is constitutional, perhaps some may judge it to be unethical. But do we have any agreed standards for such judgements?

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Mike H (View Comment):
    If it sounds like “nonsense,” maybe you should ask me to elaborate instead of assuming there couldn’t be rational reasons for me saything the things that I said.

    No, when something is patent nonsense, we don’t have to investigate the reasoning and the proof to see that the person has gone wrong. If we are the individual’s professor, we might want to to figure out how to correct the thinking that came to the erroneous conclusion. But the conclusion is still nonsense. If I come to you and say, everyone before me has had it wrong, F=m^2a^3. you can see that my conclusion is wrong. You don’t need to delve into my reasoning to see that.

    Now, what you are talking about is police nullification of the law. There is such a thing as jury nullification. That is a time-honored legal principal. But police-nullification does not exist. This is exactly why Comey was fired. He tried to do something in a law enforcement position that is reserved for prosecutors. Prosecutors are either elected or appointed by an elected official to represent the elected official’s office. It is over-stepping the bounds for police to decide which laws they do or do not like.

    Let’s take an example.

    Sergeant: “Did you bring in that murderer, Officer Murphy?”

    Murphy: “No, Sarge, it wouldn’t have been right.”

    Sergeant: “What do you mean it wouldn’t have been right?”

    Murphy: “Well, he used that little girl as a human sacrifice. It was part of his religion. It wouldn’t be ethical for me as a representative of the state to interfere with his practice of religion.”

    This is where your thinking winds up. I do not need to ask any questions about your postulates or premises to know you have landed in in the land of nonsense.

    • #24
  25. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Is there an ethics test in our legislative processes at any level? I think a broader test is constitutionality. Then, if a law is constitutional, perhaps some may judge it to be unethical. But do we have any agreed standards for such judgements?

    Mike H (View Comment):
    As if almost the entire human race and every country isn’t terrible at ethics. How dare I push back on the wisdom of crowds dogma?

    The problem is that most people don’t really want to be citizens who are responsible for participating in the running of their country.  They just want to be subjects and have someone tell them what the law ought to be and what to do.

    I don’t believe whatsoever in the wisdom of crowds, but I do believe in responsibility. As citizens, it’s our responsibility to get unethical laws removed. No, it won’t be fun or easy, but the alternative is what we see in Baltimore and Memphis and Chicago right now, where the police don’t want to enforce the law. So it isn’t, and people are dying.

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    But do we have any agreed standards for such judgements?

    Not really. The best we do is through the will of the people expressed through their representatives. Anyone can see that ethics has little to do with it based on the results.

    • #26
  27. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Classy. As if almost the entire human race and every country isn’t terrible at ethics. How dare I push back on the wisdom of crowds dogma? Better just throw me out.

    Push back all you want, but there are consequences if you push back in certain ways. It’s fine for you to advocate police nullification. But if police officers listen to you and get fired, justly, who pays the price? Mike the philosopher? Or the officers who think, “Maybe this guy has a point. I never did like that law about X. Then when the city gets sued because the law about X was put into place for a reason, and it has not been enforced…

    You see where this goes? Spout off about your fine and shiny ethics all you want, but you’re probably not going to pay any price for doing so. Others may. This is the problem with Progressives. They have all of their fine and shiny ideas (that happen to contradict the fundamentals of human nature), and they are never the ones who pay the price when their fine and shiny ideas are implemented.

    • #27
  28. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Is there an ethics test in our legislative processes at any level? I think a broader test is constitutionality. Then, if a law is constitutional, perhaps some may judge it to be unethical. But do we have any agreed standards for such judgements?

    Agreed to and true aren’t necessarily the same things.

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Classy. As if almost the entire human race and every country isn’t terrible at ethics. How dare I push back on the wisdom of crowds dogma? Better just throw me out.

    Push back all you want, but there are consequences if you push back in certain ways. It’s fine for you to advocate police nullification. But if police officers listen to you and get fired, justly, who pays the price? Mike the philosopher? Or the officers who think, “Maybe this guy has a point. I never did like that law about X. Then when the city gets sued because the law about X was put into place for a reason, and it has not been enforced…

    You see where this goes? Spout off about your fine and shiny ethics all you want, but you’re probably not going to pay any price for doing so. Others may. This is the problem with Progressives. They have all of their fine and shiny ideas (that happen to contradict the fundamentals of human nature), and they are never the ones who pay the price when their fine and shiny ideas are implemented.

    Don’t you at least agree that if a police officer believed beyond a reasonable doubt that a law he was forced to enforce was unethical that maybe he shouldn’t be a police officer? If that were the case, maybe it would make sense for him to risk his job to do the right thing, perhaps only to the point that he actually doesn’t risk losing  his job since he’s likely to be replaced by someone of less ethical standards.

    The idea that police officers should be amoral cogs in the government machine doesn’t sit very well with me.

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Mike H (View Comment):
    Don’t you at least agree that if a police officer believed beyond a reasonable doubt that a law he was forced to enforce was unethical that maybe he shouldn’t be a police officer?

    Yes. Or maybe he should be in a different part of the force. I wouldn’t suggest an officer who thinks prostitution ought to be legal should be on the vice squad, or if he or she is, they can advocate for changing that prohibition in their off hours, but they should do their job during their shifts. Likewise, an officer who is against drug prohibition should not be on a drug task force if it will effect his performance. That doesn’t mean that either couldn’t happily work in the traffic or fraud divisions.

    Mike H (View Comment):
    If that were the case, maybe it would make sense for him to risk his job to do the right thing, perhaps only to the point that he actually doesn’t risk losing his job since he’s likely to be replaced by someone of less ethical standards.

    That would be unethical. They are being paid to enforce the laws. If they accept pay to enforce laws and don’t do it, it is a form of theft. You are advocating theft now?

    If they really can’t enforce the laws, they should go become a physics professor.

    Mike H (View Comment):
    The idea that police officers should be amoral cogs in the government machine doesn’t sit very well with me.

    My father always said while I was growing up, “If you don’t like the law, work to change it, but don’t ignore it.” We do have mechanisms to change bad laws or legally do not enforce them. Changecan come through legislation where a law is repealed or replaced. Prosecutorial discretion is a mechanism that can work to not enforce laws. Jury nullification is a more democratic method of nullifying laws. We do not need another mechanism by police nullification.

    • #29
  30. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Is there an ethics test in our legislative processes at any level? I think a broader test is constitutionality. Then, if a law is constitutional, perhaps some may judge it to be unethical. But do we have any agreed standards for such judgements?

    Mike H (View Comment):
    As if almost the entire human race and every country isn’t terrible at ethics. How dare I push back on the wisdom of crowds dogma?

    The problem is that most people don’t really want to be citizens who are responsible for participating in the running of their country. They just want to be subjects and have someone tell them what the law ought to be and what to do.

    I don’t believe whatsoever in the wisdom of crowds, but I do believe in responsibility. As citizens, it’s our responsibility to get unethical laws removed. No, it won’t be fun or easy, but the alternative is what we see in Baltimore and Memphis and Chicago right now, where the police don’t want to enforce the law. So it isn’t, and people are dying.

    But people have to take calculated risks. A friend might choose to purchase modafinil from India, which is in a legal grey area what with it being Schedule 4, but not much enforced. Should one look to get locked away to try to perfectly correct the flawed law (or end up making it worse by drawing attention)?

    On the other end of the spectrum is tax law. I may think taxes are unethical, but I would be clinically insane to try to civilly disobey paying taxes. No one is going to be convinced by me going to jail for tax evasion. On the other hand, if I think I can get away with not paying some portion of my taxes, I would be right to do so and I wouldn’t be required to announce it to the world.

    • #30
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