We’d like to show the side of the world you don’t normally see on television.
It is not enough to protest about what is wrong. We must also begin to build what is right. This is the objective of Impeccable Activism. it fulfills two vital functions: The 'Impeccable' part is in the action it takes and that is to provide a service or to create something that enhances life in some way. The action must be impeccable in that nothing in the action can cause loss or harm to anyone and that it must be wholly beneficial so that everyone who is impacted by the action benefits. The 'Activist' part is that it must breach some law or statute. This is important because, in addition to providing an undeniable benefit, it must highlight the areas in which Law conflicts with Right.
An example of perfect Impeccable Activism took place in Orlando, Florida in June, when a number of the group Food Not Bombs were arrested for feeding the poor in a park without a permit. Orlando has a statute forbidding anyone to feed groups of more than 25 without a permit, which can only be issued twice a year.
No one can deny that feeding the poor is good and is the right thing to do. No one was negatively impacted by this action. The only argument against it is that it was against the law. This is the perfect platform to bring a proposal to the table: the introduction of a clause that would permeate the whole legal system without having to change a single law. I am calling it the Rule of Impeccability (but a less clumsy title would be welcome) and it works like this: when the law conflicts with what is clearly and unambiguously Right, the law must give way.
The objective of law is to uphold what is right. Law, by its very nature, is complex because it has to try to accommodate every conceivable scenario. But this is an impossible aspiration and there are numerous occasions in which laws that were designed to uphold what is right in many situations come into conflict with what is clearly and unambiguously right in others. The President of the USA must swear allegiance to God and this clause would hold that office to that allegiance. Having thus sworn such an allegiance, the president cannot deny that laws are made by man but Right and Wrong are defined by God. Personally, I think we all have an instinctive knowledge of what is right and wrong without bringing God into the equation but it will be a long time before a self-confessed atheist could ever hope to become President of the USA as an allegiance to God is written into the job description.
That taken into consideration, to allow man-made laws to take precedence over the values of Right and Wrong as defined by God is to betray that allegiance. Yeah yeah... I know... presidents betray their allegiance to God three times before breakfast every morning but always manage to put a spin on it. This, however, pins the State to that allegiance. How often have you heard the phrase: "It aint right and it aint fair... but it's the law"? I am challenging that assertion. A law that conflicts with what is clearly right is unfit for purpose. When the law is no longer based on the concept of right and wrong, we are going down a very dark path indeed.
The Rule of Impeccability would mean that each legal ruling in which there is ambiguity over whether the outcome of an alleged offense is positive or negative, it must be measured against a reasonable perception of what is right, regardless of the letter of the law. If it is found that the outcome of the offense is positive and that there are no victims (ie; no one is caused any loss or harm), to take punitive legal action would be clearly wrong. In such an instance, the law must give way to Right.
Law is inflexible and it must be so to prevent abuses. But it cannot be infinitely inflexible because the law is also prone to being wrong. The law can remain inflexible in every aspect except when it comes into conflict with what is clearly and unambiguously right. In this instance and only in this instance, the law must give way.
The beauty of this clause is that it is so simple. It's just plain common sense... something the law has lacked for a long time. It also has a moral logic that is impossible to dismantle. No one can justify an argument against a clause that can only serve to ensure that the right outcome is achieved because it only comes into play when the law is in conflict with the right outcome. As it stands right now, innocent people who have caused no loss or harm and have only done what is undeniably right are penalised simply because there is a law that must be brought into force. By the same token, real criminals have escaped justice on a technicality because of the letter of the law. This universal clause would address that.
Cases like the Orlando case need to publicly make this point and utilise the press and media interest to put the discussion on the table. I did contact the group but, obviously, it's for them to decide. In the meantime, anyone who is prepared to be arrested might like to consider some wholly beneficial acts that cause no loss or harm but just happen to come into conflict with the letter of the law and use the press to put the discussion into public awareness. I have a couple of projects which I am discussing with friends... so, if I don't immediately respond to replies to this post, you'll know where I am.
We need to introduce reason into law.
As you have already reminded...
Jefferson said: "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty"
I think you are perfectly right, Ron. This is a very good point.
It is time to stop applying absurd laws when it is obvious that these go against the mankind.
We have to take responsibility for bringing about the necessary changes ourselves. We tend to assume that everything has to conform to an established order and, of course, law is used as a way of ensuring that the established order is in the interests of those in power. There are two major factors that are required to maintain a law: enforcement on the part of those who make the law and acceptance on the part of those who abide by it. Society needs laws of course. Laws maintain order but must do so within the context of upholding what is Right. The duty of the lawmakers is to ensure that the laws remain within that context. We have a duty to abide by those laws but it is also our duty to ensure that we abide only by those laws that are within the context of upholding what is Right.
The Nuremberg trials set this as president. When Hitler came to power, he decreed that the persecution and mass slaughter of Jews became law. It was law that Jews were sent to the concentration camps and it was law that they were all but exterminated. Yet the declaration that Nazi officials were "just obeying orders" was not accepted as defense in the Nuremberg trials because it was established that it is the duty of every individual to defy laws that are clearly wrong and unjust.
Police officers... take note of this.
It is a natural inclination for people to serve their own interests. This is instinctive. However, society imposes a duty to serve the interests of the common good. This does not mean that we should not serve our own interests of course, because it is in our own interests to serve the common good. But to serve our own interests beyond the interests of the common good is effectively a crime against society.
Those with the power to make laws have a natural inclination to make laws that serve the interests of those in power. They have a duty to confine their powers to serving the common good but the position they hold protects them from any redress if they exceed those boundaries. We have a duty to abide only by the laws that best serve society but the position we hold exposes us to consequences for failing to abide by laws that do not serve the common good.
This sets us on a predictable path on which laws become progressively unjust and we become progressively compliant. One of the major factors in this relationship has to change. The lawmakers benefit from unjust laws and do not face established consequences for the injustice of their laws so they have no incentive to change. Although the consequences of not abiding by unjust laws may be an incentive not to change, the consequences of allowing the trend to continue on a downward spiral provide a powerful incentive to bring about change... even if, by so doing, we are acting against our own immediate interests. The lawmakers' duty is canceled out by the benefits of not adhering to that duty. But our duty to bring about change becomes an added incentive for doing so.
Revolution of some kind is always inevitable because of the complex nature of humans. However, it is not inevitable that revolution should take the form of bloody and violent uprisings. Mankind is now in adolescence. It's time to leave the tantrums of childhood behind. Tell a small child to go to its room and it may scream and shout and throw itself on the floor but, eventually, the child will go to its room. Give the same command to an adolescent and the adolescent will simply decide whether or not to comply... and there's precious little you can do about it.
We have had our bloody revolutions but, eventually, we have always gone to our room compliantly. Such revolutions rarely result in a better society and usually result either in defeat and increased tyranny or a false victory in which the leaders of the revolution become the new tyrants. Russia and China are classic examples but there are many more worldwide.
Effective and positive change does not come from war or bloody revolution. It comes from simply moving toward a new direction and defying anything that stands in the way. We are growing up. The time of stamping our feet in outrage is passed. Now is the time of saying: "Yeah yeah... whatever...." and disregarding the dictates of our parents. Like all adolescents, we will go our own way and make our own mistakes. And, like all adolescents, we shall learn from them and become adults.
Good to hear from you, Joni. Not so good to hear about your predicament though. Things are getting worse, particularly in the US. But, as usual, the UK will be close on its heels. I was hoping for a nice peaceful retirement but there y'go. Hang in there, girl. There are folks challenging the system in the US. You may well find a group that would take up your cause. I'll see what I can find. Anybody else out there have any ideas, message Joni.
Who? No, it wasn't me! I wasn't there! Jefferson said it!
eh? what? ..... er... oh! Ciao Joan! (how's-a goin'?)
Here if you grow a few leaves on your window you go to jail
and, for the following 7 to 10 years, your a.. is in "their" hands
while outside the rest of the world uses cocaine everyday. Yes, of course! this too is prohibited
but it seems that half of the paliament's members use it, soooo........
You know, Italy, maf... uhmm..... where was I ?
But this is the law! No matter if this is right or wrong.
No, I'm not suggesting you use cocaine, but grow your nice plants in the meedle of the public gardens:o)
This is, in great portion, the same principle that I am working on introducing or, in some cases, re-introducing into business, at least as far as focusing on what's "right" rather than what "there's nothing wrong with" and defining impeccability in the context of the outcome. The term I have used is Outcome Based Business, wherein we recognize that business is invariably a process of accomplishing something, or creating an outcome, in a context of exchanges of value, and that the ultimate and final basis for meaningful business is the outcomes, NOT the exchange of value. Impeccability exists in the accomplishment of all the optimal or desired outcomes (there are always more than one because there are always more than one effected constituency) as the measure of the effectiveness of the business activity, NOT in terms only of the accomplishment of the transaction(s). Thus, in a macro-economic sense, the measure of Gross National Product is fundamentally wrong because it is a measure of dollar value generated only rather than a combination of dollar value, human, value, natural value, environmental value, etc. I believe that this is where we have "gone off the rails" in a good deal of our socio-economic structure in that we measure, and thus value, only the dollar function, which means we have become obsessed with the transactions but NOT the outcomes. A textbook example of this that is easy for anyone to see is the state of affairs in the Niger delta.
Social entrepreneurism is a move in the right direction . Your points above are also vital, given that a good deal of law is, in fact, created to protect so called business interests. If we, as a society start to apply the principles of outcome based business to our routine dealings we can literally cause this change to occur as a grassroots movement. It DOES take more work. A good example is literally asking the man (or woman) behind the counter EVERY TIME YOU GO TO ANY STORE THAT HAS THIS - "What is the carbon footprint of this fish?" or "Is this fish sustainably fished? or anything else that creates an awareness in the seller of the outcomes, and then be willing to pay the outcome based price - meaning that if it doesn't meet the criteria for "right" then you don't buy it!! The same thing can be applied to a HUGE range of products. To be aware of what is right in regards to your food sources TAKES MORE WORK but it is exactly that deliberate and conscious level of engagement that is required for us to make these changes and it rests as a responsibility with US first and foremost, because in our 1st world, market driven, transaction focused economies we will change the paradigm when we deny the transaction until the outcome criteria are met. Civil disobedience, as you suggest, accomplishes that same engagement where the law is concerned, again centered around what is "right" from an ethical perspective, rather than what "there is nothing wrong with" in a purely legal context. Thanks very much for this post!!
..." ... if it doesn't meet the criteria for "right" then you don't buy it!!..."
I think this is a good example to follow. I usually do this.
I'm also applying this "rule" to everything and anybody.
Too many are exploiting humans, the earth, energies, etc. without valueing the consequences of their behaviors.
So I don't buy nuts at 7Euros for half a kilo because it is just a theft.
Who does use laws against what is "clearly and unambiguously Right" is stealing our dignity.
using actual infrastructure we should come back to our origins.......innocence honesty goodness pride make good values of the family for example ruling on money and profit