As I take the floor once again, I would like to add my get well soon wishes to budski, I hope you are feeling better. Since I can truly sympathize
with your discomfort, I will not give you grief for forgetting to answer my Socratic Questions, but I will for this:
Thanks again to Maxmars, despite the increase in verbosity
trying you know!
I think in this forum my affinity for verbosity frequently surfaces as a weakness. *sigh*…, but I digress…. (
Onwards to the Socratic Questions!:
Do you believe that sometimes people need protecting from themselves?
‘People’ need increasing degrees of oversight as the community’s population density increases. One could characterize this as ‘protecting’,
although I believe that term implies the application of guiding force. I prefer the idea that communities need civic stewardship. People, if they
are to be free, must also be free to err, if they are protected from that, they will come to rely on an external force to moderate their behavior;
which is contrary to any ascension into a higher form of social culture, or civilization, if you will.
Do you believe that the law of the land is of paramount importance?
I don’t want to avoid the question, but it is difficult to answer directly. I do believe that law is of paramount importance, and I also believe
that people of any particular region should be empowered to establish those laws, rather than have them imposed from afar, but essentially, that would
be the ‘law’ of ‘their’ land.
Do you believe that the protection and safety of the public and property is of paramount importance?
Yes I do, but that safety is not limited to a physical form. Thus the safety of property is not paramount; rather it is simply important to the
‘owner’ or ‘beneficiary’ of that property.
Do you believe that extreme and known violent groups have a place in the democratic process when it is to the detriment of public safety?
If a group exists that is extreme and violent, then it is has already set itself apart from the ‘public’ (by definition inclined to destroy or
damage the community.) Such groups are inherently criminal. By common decree (generally speaking) criminals should never part of a process of
self-determination, democratic or otherwise.
Given a choice, which rights would you rather see protected, those of violent troublemakers, or those of the law abiding populace?
You offer me two choices. I want them BOTH protected, of course violent troublemakers may surrender those rights voluntarily if they choose a course
of criminal action. It is a consequence of free expression.
My opponent has chosen to identify this component of our debate topic “… To Ensure Public Safety
” as key to his argument. I will try to
focus on that element, as I suspect it may serve me better than it does him.
It seems reasonable to me that this applies to VIOLENT protest and this is where I will focus in this part of the debate.
The debate however, is not restricted to violent protest, and as a matter of logic we need to examine this more closely. As I opined earlier, it
seems that by definition, the notion of ‘violent’ protest is inconsistent.
A protest, for whatever reason, is manifested as a group of people (or person I suppose) who are compelled to demonstrate their position on an issue.
This means, for example, it is the intent of the protesters to communicate their displeasure with a State action, policy, or position. To effectively
communicate, the message must be clear. Violence only detracts from the message, and so, I think true protests are not violent by nature.
Should an organized group of individuals plan
violence, then that is not really a protest, but a criminal act, approaching the realm of
terrorism. Breaching the laws and regulations regarding the rights of people to freedom from such crime is well within the realm of the police
authorities to prevent, intercept, or terminate. This, I believe, is because it is NOT protest, but crime.
It is always possible that a protest group can be agitated to the point of violence by external disruption or agitation. Once that point is reached,
the protest is over, and all that’s left is a mob riot. The message is no longer one of ideological purpose, but instead, one of the infliction of
pain and damage to the opposing parties. I have not heard of any protest, ignored and unmolested, becoming violent. In fact, I have not heard of a
single protest ever that devolved into violence without
such external influences in play. It might be as trivial as shoving and pushing in a
crowd (which is by common definition, “assault” – a crime) or as extreme as a tear gas canister or rubber bullets being used to disperse a
crowd, despite the crowd’s non-violent posture.
I would ask the readers this question: Who has the greater rights, the peaceful population, or those intent on violent disorder outside of the
Technically, since I am reading this, I can answer this question, which may have been rhetorical in intent…, but I can’t resist
Their rights are equal. In my opinion, a person either has a right or doesn’t. I think the notion of degrees of rights leads to the inevitable
disenfranchisement of citizens who, for any number of reasons, may be targeted as undesirable, or otherwise unworthy, by those with the authority to
enforce the limitation.
I understand that it is desirable to accept that there can exists, within a society, a body of functionaries that remain neutral. In practice
however, this seems to be fantasy. Bias and prejudice are a function of reason (misguided or otherwise) and unless we find some robotic non-emotional
inhuman judge, this is an unachievable position. Especially considering the social constructs which make up the foundation of the paradigm
‘leadership by popularity’.
It is a situation comparable with the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights overturning government decisions in certain situations.
In international law, there is a maxim that regardless of treaty or affiliation, no body outside of a sovereign nation can impose policy unless that
nation has legally legislated that policy directly. I have no doubt, even uninformed as I am, that there have been, currently are, and will always
be, instances where these external bodies have ruled in a manner inconsistent with the will of the people of a nation. In such a case, where does one
appeal? In the end, only the State can make rulings regarding its citizens, otherwise their sovereign status is an illusion.
Protest and the right to protest is not something that should ever be taken away….
I’m glad we agree.
Let me take you back to 1990, and the poll tax riots.
Throughout the UK, peaceful protests had taken place, with no arrests and no damage to property.
Yet in London, after a series of confrontations designed to ensure a police reaction, a hard core of between 3,000 and 3,500 began rioting, burning
I must ask, can you truly state that this was “a series of confrontations designed
to ensure a police reaction”? If this was a proven
case, then the actions were of premeditated violence, and not a protest but criminal in nature.
I do not know the specifics of this event, but I know that if the police knew who these people were, why would they react as if shocked by the
development? If the group is known to perform such acts, then the process should have set up controls to prevent their ability to propagate such
violence. If they were not known to be violent, or never had been previously, how was this even remotely avoidable? By removing everyone’s
right to assemble and speak freely?
And yet this protest eventually brought down the Prime Minister at the time - NOT through protest or riots, but through the ballot
That sounds oversimplified. That protest can’t have been the cause of the political defeat, a contributing factor perhaps, but not the cause.
In Luton, Islamic extremists targeted a parade of troops who had just come back from Afghanistan…..
What you are demonstrating here is the effect of war-time on a society’s safety. It wasn’t the fact that they could protest that enabled them to
cause this disruption, it was the fact that they intended to. No amount of legalese and administrative action can prevent willful execution of
violence by the extremely inclined. They will always find a way; in fact, they always do, even in the most repressive of police states.
I further submit that if law enforcement, including intelligence agencies had the wherewithal to deny certain groups the ability to cause
strife, then we would see less of the knee jerk reactions of people everywhere regarding Islam.
In this regard I agree. However, intelligence agencies are rarely given ‘police’ authority. And police seem to have, for reasons that elude me,
a very difficult time interfacing with intelligence communities. But MOST importantly, it was not the PROTEST itself that caused strife, it was a
criminal intent to do harm; with the protest serving as the pretext of their presence.
What I propose would be discretionary powers, given to law enforcement and overseen by a neutral body with powers of veto over law enforcement
In that scenario, it is NOT the police exercising discretionary authority because ultimately, the notional ‘neutral body’ with veto powers who are
the executors of that discretion. Assuming an ideal scenario, this would be practicable, but in the end the police would only enjoy the privilege of
‘recommending’ that a protest be banned, not actually rendering the decision.