Friday, December 05, 2008

Labour’s new Equality Bill – all religions are equal



The Queen’s Speech contained proposals for only 14 Bills, compared with the 18 promised in a draft Queen’s Speech in May. The Government said that their overriding aim was to concentrate on tackling the economic downturn. But there is one Bill which has absolutely nothing to do with this; indeed, it has absolutely not a lot to do with anything of much importance.

Her Majesty possibly had no idea that she was reading out details of one of the most insidious bills to emanate from this Labour government. The proposed Equality Bill consolidates nine pieces of legislation and almost 100 statutory instruments on equality. Public bodies will be under an obligation to consider diversity issues – ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, disability – in developing employment policies and planning services. Collection of data will therefore be more rigorous, and employment quotas will become the norm. The Bill will abolish the use of secrecy clauses by public bodies which prevent employees uncovering gender pay gaps by discussing their pay, and will permit political parties to use all-women candidate shortlists until 2030.

But the Bill also proposes to extend equality in the provision of goods, facilities and services to cover religion. In the world of Not-So-New Labour, all religions are equal, and the State religion can no longer be more equal than others. Her Majesty may soon find herself Supreme Governor of the Mosque of England. The ‘provision of good, facilities and services’ has such a wide-ranging embrace that it may leave many British Christian traditions open to legal challenge. The Bill potentially spells the end of the privileges of the Church of England, the elimination of prayers in Parliament, the end of the Head of State being Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the end of Christian acts of collective worship in schools, the end of restrictive Sunday opening hours, and the embracing of national holidays around non-Christian religious festivals.

At a time when Catholic adoption agencies are either closing or being obliged to place children with homosexual couples, this new Bill could further oblige them to place Catholic children with Muslim foster parents.

The Muslim Council of Britain has welcomed the proposals of the Equalities Bill. Their secretary general, Abdul Bari, said: "We are delighted that the government has at last listened to the argument we have made for years." He continued: "The proposal requires the support of all fair minded people as it is based on the requirements of treating all equally and fairly. The proposal is a manifestation of Government's recognition of disparity in current laws in this regard - an issue that the MCB has for long campaigned."

Long campaigned?

And they are very quick off the mark with their generous offers of assistance. Mr Bari announced that the MCB was ready to work with the Government and all other agencies ‘to make this long-overdue change a success’.

Do not places of worship offer a service? Cranmer awaits the first case before the courts of a Christian refused employment in a mosque on religious grounds.

Ah, but it won’t work like that, will it?

No, no, no. Just as the Bishop of Hereford was sued for refusing to employ a homosexual youth worker, it will be the churches and Christian groups who will be obliged to employ those who believe in Allah, Waheguru, Krishna and the tooth fairy. And if they do not, they shall be brought to court to answer for their bigotry. And they shall lose, while the minority faiths shall be exempt from the legislation, because they are already sufficiently persecuted and marginalised by the Christians and do not need their sufferings to be multiplied or their oppression exacerbated by the state.

Is not the provision of education a service? Will this legislation make it a criminal offence for schools to select pupils according to their faith?

And what will this legislation do to Holy Communion? Is the Eucharist not a service? Are not bread and wine material goods? May they be withheld from non-Christians, or will that be an unacceptable discrimination? If people of all religions are equal, then churches shall be obliged to provide the service to all who attend.

Excommunication shall henceforth be illegal. The Lord’s Supper shall be a koinonia for the world and his dog, even if that dog be a Jedi.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

There is one ray of hope on teh horizon for Your Grace.

A similar effort was made in the USA which received the initial support of all "fair minded people2 including both Republicans and Democrats.

They had, however, failed to take into account the redoubtable Phylis Schlafly who began a one woman demolition job and by a painstaking intelectual analysis of the implications of such legislation killed the whole process.

We need our UK equivalent Champion but the ground work may have already been done. Any suggestions as to who might be encouraged?

5 December 2008 at 11:18  
Blogger Christian-jedi-Alliance said...

This is a major disturbance in The Force Your Grace.
The Rebel Alliance will be monitoring things very closely.

God Bless and May The Force Be With You.

5 December 2008 at 12:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

Who voted for Muslim Council of Britain?

Who do they represent?

Actually I do know the answer, but it is a damning indictment and nutshells with all that is wrong with our country.

5 December 2008 at 12:53  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
This is not a new thing, since time began the pompous & ignorant have tried to set themselves above the Almighty & tell us they know better than Him or us, but the church is not just the state church but the body of Christ on earth. As in other countries the state may persecute us, ban us or even kill us, there will ALWAYS be a remnant that will be victorious in due time. "When you see these things, look up for your redemption draweth nigh" as in the time of Elijah all looked dark but faith will triumph, ask Ahab & Jezebel.
Keep up the good work of being a watchman on the tower.

5 December 2008 at 12:56  
Blogger Christian-Jedi-Alliance said...

Martin Sewell's idea is very refreshing and encouraging.
For inspirational purposes The Rebel Alliance can recommend that communicants take a look at The Phyllis Schlafly Report for Nov 2008.

5 December 2008 at 14:17  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

This Globalism racket is not so good after all is it.

Maybe we should look for Party that will look at British Interests first, and get our Industries back online, Building cars, ships so we can transport Oil, traded ( rather than stolen through illegal war(s) )
And what exactly has happened to the Oil revenue, why are we £1Trillion in debt.

A party that would demand the return of of our fishing grounds, widely regarded as some of the best in the World.
We should stop the EU ( and other agents ) from hobbling our farming.
That way at least we could feed ourselves.

We have always traded with Europe and the World, we didn't need an EU 200 yrs ago, so what exactly has the tens or is it hundreds of Billions been spent on, we will never know because 80% of its budget is unnacounted for, it has not had it saccounts signed off for 14ys In my view this is the very definition of a Mugging and the Police should be brought in, Unfortunately the very fact that they have not investigated this themselves suggests that they too have been subverted, clearly someone somewhere chooses not to see a crime of immense proportions has been and is being carried out Against this country.

We are being taken down, economically, militarily and psychologically who is it that promoted 24hr drinking, relaxed the drug laws, who was it that prohibited parents and teachers from disciplining children.
Who is it that has undermined the Chritian basis of our culture, the family unit, promoted radical feminism to cause further division.
Divide and conqEUr.
Divide and conqEUr.

Imagine a situation where you pointed out to a child only the negatives of their behaviour, eventually that negative stereotyping would begin to work its magic, the child would lose self esteem, it would begin to believe what it was being told, it woud soon become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Now imagine doing this to a nation via the Mass media for 40 yrs.
Routinely describing the British people as Lazy, Fat, Drunken, Drugged up murdering Racists.

Look at Programmes like the Jeremy Kyle show, and their carefully selected Big Brother contestants, an insidious plot to set up the British people.
Look at mass immigration, clearly designed to fragment society and destroy unity and cause unrest, You only have to look at what happens the world over when you have uncontrolled mixing, Africa, Pakistan, India, the Mid East with Sunni, shia, Kurdish, Isreal, Palestine.
We invade these countries and wonder why we have terror attacks and plots at home.
This is not stupidity, this is by design, more terror at home means justification for Westminsters Police state powers, perhaps an excuse for pressing the civil contingencies button, Making Brown or whoever divtator for life.

National Unity is not helped when we invade their countries for oil.
Are Iraqi's and Afghans all Terrorists or are they simply protecting their countries from plunder by Western powers.

The real enemy of the British people is not the Immigrants, the real enemy of the British people is Westminster and the think tanks, Globalist lobby interests orchestrating this war, behind closed doors Against our country and the Great British people.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are under attack, I hope that when the British people wake up, as they appear to be doing they realise that their real enemy lies in and behind Westminster.

How to set up and use Psychological Repression against and entire nation.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=458340&in_page_id=1773

Repeat this for 40 yrs, look at shows like Eastenders, Coronation street, families,bickering, fighting, squabbling,plotting.
Where is the love, the family unit, compassion, patriotism, positivity, care, unity, community spirit.
They have been taken out by design so that after repeated exposure, the content will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

The British People are under attack, we MUST MUST MUST Unite and counter this Hideous Plot orchestrated by Westminster and their Globalist Pupettmasters.

5 December 2008 at 17:14  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

Re Martin Sewell and Chistian-Jedi-Alliance

I took a look at the Phyllis Schafly report. All good stuff, the Americans do this so well. But I especially liked the (unconscious?) humour in the statement

'Conservatives want English to be legislated as our official national language because that is the best route to e pluribus unum.'

5 December 2008 at 17:52  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

If separation of church and state works in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Ireland, France and the USA, why do you think it will have such terrible consequences in the UK?
Fewer than 6% of the bishops in the house of Lords vote on any given bill; can't your church decide on which people it wants to be bishop whithout having to ask the government's permission?
You would think you'd want to be free; instead, you're carrying on like a 40 year old man who won't leave his parents' house because he
'prefers to live out his commitment to family values'.
By linking religion to the state officially, you're in the company of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan.
Fewer than 2% of your people go to church any given Sunday-what was an unreal pretence 40 years ago is now becoming a bad joke. End it.

5 December 2008 at 20:43  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

And please don't tell me about how useful and good and innocent the churches of Norway, Finland and Denmark are: the situation for religion is at least as bad for the established Lutherans as it is for the Anglicans and Scots Presbyterians.
Congratulating these groups for never oppressing anyone would be like praising a paraplegic for never mugging anybody or a eunuch for never committing rape.
Ironic that so many conservatives are desperate to cling to what is the oldest, and least used, nationalised industry in the UK.

5 December 2008 at 20:47  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6 December 2008 at 01:06  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

pluralist forms of governance, promotion of the rule of law, separation of church and state, human rights, free enterprise, diversity, pluralism, tolerance, anti-discriminationism, multiculturalism, multiracialism, inclusivism, environmentalism, free abortion on demand, constitutionally guaranteed gay marriage, healthy diet and exercise, non-smoking, animal rights, prevention of global warming, Ismism,

YOU LIVE IN A FANTASY WORLD

6 December 2008 at 01:08  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

My e-mail is fredpreuss@ymail.com, if you'd care to e-mail me the deleted comments.
I, for one, have absolutely no use for animal rights, Ismism or prevention of global warming. I think polygamy should be illegal, including any benefits for 'wives' #2,3, 4.....etc.

6 December 2008 at 02:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough I watched the last 20 minutes of the animated version of Orwells Animal Farm yesterday, surprising how accurate the man is,you could recognise so many members of the government, also Mr Martin the speaker. Of course we all know that 1984 came true a few years back but its kind of chilling to remember the end of these novels, sleep well!

6 December 2008 at 02:58  
Blogger len.allan said...

Labours new equality bill -all religions are equal.
But will they all get you into heaven?.
God has written a book, it tells us how to get to Heaven,
However if you would rather listen to labour who knows where you will end up?.

6 December 2008 at 20:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Her Majesty may soon find herself Supreme Governor of the Mosque of England.

NOT while she is a Woman !


The MCB received £150,000 of public money from the Government for a number of specific projects. These were: the MCB leadership development programme; the MCB leadership mentoring programme; MCB direct, a web portal for information on Islam and Muslims; a British citizenship programme, and the British Muslim Equality Programme. .[13]

In 2006 the MCB won a grant of £300,000 from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). According to a DFID press release, projects will include (subject to final arrangements) producing teaching materials for Muslim schools and madrasahs and a website focusing on work to reduce poverty and links between Muslim communities in the UK and those in Nigeria, Bangladesh and India.

7 December 2008 at 07:49  
OpenID BL@KBIRD said...

See the way the deck keeps tipping off to the left? You could put a line of deckchairs there and the Eloi could rest their heads at a more comfortable level.

8 December 2008 at 02:56  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Isn't the Anglican Church still the official Church of England? Or whatever it is that's called "The Church of England".

Adrian P wrote: "And what exactly has happened to the Oil revenue, why are we £1Trillion in debt."

Because, my good man, it never was about Oil.

13 December 2008 at 00:09  
Blogger sunnyjim said...

When each and every race, colour and creed are given equality of status, then only chaos can ensue.

It is totally necessary, without prevarication, for any nation that allows people from all over the world, to ensure that it is the religion, laws, traditions and culture of the host nation to remain pre-eminent. Otherwise, the very fabric of that nation, in our case, built up over many hundreds of years, will become unbound.

In such an event, it is not difficult to foresee outright warfare taking place in our towns and cities as one culture fights to dominate the others, particularly that of the host nation.

On a slightly different topic, but somewhat parallel, I suggest the following articly by Robert Henderson (published in Right Now! magazine) will find much sympathy with the natives of this country.

Blind obedience to the law is the dictator's friend



The government of 18th century England has been described
as "aristocracy tempered by rioting." There is something
of that in any society no matter what its politics, for
all who exercise power become corrupted to a lesser or
greater degree by the identification of their interest with
the common good. Even in a place as politically placid as
modern Britain rioting has played its part in fundamental
change, the last time being in 1990 when the Thatcher
Government was finally frightened into dropping a flagship
tax - the Community Charge, popularly known as the Poll Tax
- by a serious riot in Trafalgar Square in central London.

That is the reality of politics. The theory, as ever, is at
odds with what actually happens and that which is reasonable
and practical. "The law must be obeyed" and "Violence is
always wrong" are two of the most chanted modern political
mantras, at least in the West. Not bad chants as
political dicta go, for the law is the skeleton on which
society rests and violence can all too easily become
an endemic social disease. Yet the logic of an
absolute bar on disobeying the law or engaging in
violence for political ends is that an elite may behave
as badly as they want without fear of punishment.

Suppose the House of Commons passed a law which extended
the life of a Parliament to 50 years - this the Commons could
do quite legitimately, because there is no constitutional
restraint on Parliament. Would we simply accept such
a gross political abuse because it had been achieved
legally, that it was done within the form of democratic
procedure? The sane answer has to be no. But if we do not
accept it, how do we act against those who abuse power
without provoking something approaching anarchy or replacing
one abuse of power with another?

The general answer to this can be found by answering another
question, namely what is political disobedience (in which I
include everything from passive resistance to full blooded
civil war) a substitute for? It replaces the normal
democratic political process. It becomes legitimate where
a society is so ordered that participation in the
political process is either denied overtly or
covertly or when the behaviour of the ruling elite
constitutes treason. Political disobedience is the
civil or internecine version of Clauswitz's "war being the
continuation of politics by other means."

That is all very well, but how in practice do we determine
both when political disobedience is legitimate and the extent
to which it is legitimate in any particular situation?

If political disobedience is not to be merely a means to
gain advantage by an individual or group, it must be
exercised within a moral context. It is to be a means to
an end, not an end in itself. That end must have a clear
and limited moral purpose if lawbreaking or violence is to
have any foreseeable limit. The end must be to create or
restore those structures which are necessary to a free and
democratic society.

Proportionality

Political disobedience should be proportionate to the
political circumstances and the ill to be cured and as
moderate as is compatible with effect. Faced with an
unambiguous, brutal and efficient dictator, the masses are
left with little alternative but extreme violence such as
assassination, because other and lesser forms of protest are
effectively denied.

That is not the case in societies which have at least the
form of representative democracies. In such societies other
forms of political disobedience, including non-violent
methods, can be effective and violence is inappropriate as
anything but a final resort, when all else has failed and the
damage being done by those in power is considerable.

In practice, governments in states which have both the form
of representative democracies and some of the content are
peculiarly vulnerable to even non-violent resistance provided
it is truly widespread or arises from a strike in a vital
industry. Such governments are bound by the pretence at least
that they are not dictatorships. Thus strong-arm measures
which are the common currency of the dictator cannot be used
with impunity because they are publicly observed and sooner
or later elections must be held.

Generally, the more broadly power is spread in a political
system, the wider the range of extra-political
action.

When is it reasonable to disobey the law

When the law is made by made without democratic authority,
when the law is not equally applied, when the law takes
away a man's living, when the law disadvantages one man but
not another, when the law amounts to treason. When, in
short, the law is incompatible with a free, self-governing
society.

What are the requirements for such a society? Above all
there must be free expression, for a free society must be
democratic and a democratic society cannot outlaw any aspect
of life from debate and be called either free or democratic.
The mass media must be both free of government control and
open to all. All adults must have the vote and meaningful
opportunity to engage in mainstream political activity. The
state must not use force against its people which is
disproportionate nor have a monopoly of force.

When is violence justified?

This is the most difficult of questions. In an outright
dictatorship the answer is morally unambiguous; it is simply
justified. But there are, of course, many steps between
elected representative government and outright tyranny.
Ultimately the judgement has to be personal, but made within
criteria which impose clear ends and restraints such as those
discussed above.

There is one instance where violence is unequivocally
justified in a formal democracy, namely where the political
elite as a class engages in behaviour which is objectively
treasonable. It is justified because such a matter becomes a
question of self-defence.

Treason is a slippery word, yet it clearly has an
objective meaning. In a dynastic context it is betrayal of
the sovereign. In a democratic context it is the betrayal of
the population to an external power for the general
population has become the sovereign.

Of what does treason consist? Generally it must be the
conscious decision by those in power to act in a way which
will weaken the integrity of the nation. To give up
sovereignty is by definition to weaken the integrity of a
nation.

Proportionality of violence

Violence should be minimised for moral reasons, but
selective violence is also arguably the most effective.
Elites do not care about violence perpetrated on the masses
unless the violence threatens to provoke public unrest
which the elite is not confident of controlling. What they
really care about is violence directed at the elite. A
good example of this mentality concerns the IRA and
successive British governments in the years 1969-1984.

The IRA practice of public bombing continued for 15 years
after 1969 without gaining anything from British
governments of any political colour. The IRA then
attempted to kill Margaret Thatcher and members of her
cabinet in the Brighton bombing of 1984 during the Tory
Party conference. Within 18 months the Anglo-Irish
Agreement, which granted a foreign power legal rights in
Northern Ireland, had been developed and signed by Margaret
Thatcher and the Irish Prime Minister.

The restriction of violence to those in the elite has
another great advantage, the mass of the population will
not feel threatened. This means that they are less likely
to become viscerally antagonistic to the perpetrator of the
violence. Moreover, if the ends of the perpetrator of
violence are reasonable, then the mass of the population will
probably support them tacitly or at least not violently
oppose them.

Hence for both moral and practical reasons violence should
always be kept to a minimum and directed at the elite,
especially those who wield political power.

A lesson from the past

In the twelfth century there was developed the doctrine of
rightful tyranicide. It has lessons for us. The first and
probably the most famous of its proponents was John of
Salisbury ("He who usurps the sword is worthy to die by the
sword.") John's world is seemingly far removed from ours
in custom as well as years, yet it has striking political
similarities with our own, for the power of European rulers
was very far from absolute. Mediaeval monarchs were
commonly confronted with parliaments resisting taxation,
fractious towns and ambitious nobles. In many ways the
late Middle Ages was more democratic, in the sense of power
being shared, than any subsequent time before the nineteenth
century. The consequence of this was a need to define the
relationship between ruler and ruled in a way which had not
been done since the ancient world struggled with the problem.

For John the distinction was between power legitimately and
illegitimately exercised. In his work Policraticus he puts it
thus:

"Between a tyrant and a prince there is this single
or chief difference, that the latter obeys the law
and rules the people by its dictates, accounting
himself as but their servant. It is by virtue of
the law that he makes good his claim to the
foremost and chief place in the management of the
affairs of the commonwealth." *

In our world, formal kingship with political power is a
rarity, yet we have what are, practically, elected
monarchs in our presidents and prime ministers and an
abundant and never ending supply of unelected tyrants. Even
in the best of the "liberal democracies" power is remote
from the masses. The question which John of Salisbury
addressed in the thirteenth century is an eternal question,
the central problem of politics in fact, namely how shall
those who wield power be prevented from abusing the mass of
those they govern? The only rational answer when formal
democratic methods fail is political disobedience.

*Policraticus Bk. IV. ch. i; Dickinson's trans. p. 3.

The article above written by Robert Henderson and published in Right Now! magazine March/April 2003

13 December 2008 at 21:46  
Blogger sunnyjim said...

When each and every race, colour and creed are given equality of status, then only chaos can ensue.

It is totally necessary, without prevarication, for any nation that allows people from all over the world, to ensure that it is the religion, laws, traditions and culture of the host nation to remain pre-eminent. Otherwise, the very fabric of that nation, in our case, built up over many hundreds of years, will become unbound.

In such an event, it is not difficult to foresee outright warfare taking place in our towns and cities as one culture fights to dominate the others, particularly that of the host nation.

On a slightly different topic, but somewhat parallel, I suggest the following articly by Robert Henderson (published in Right Now! magazine) will find much sympathy with the natives of this country.

Blind obedience to the law is the dictator's friend



The government of 18th century England has been described
as "aristocracy tempered by rioting." There is something
of that in any society no matter what its politics, for
all who exercise power become corrupted to a lesser or
greater degree by the identification of their interest with
the common good. Even in a place as politically placid as
modern Britain rioting has played its part in fundamental
change, the last time being in 1990 when the Thatcher
Government was finally frightened into dropping a flagship
tax - the Community Charge, popularly known as the Poll Tax
- by a serious riot in Trafalgar Square in central London.

That is the reality of politics. The theory, as ever, is at
odds with what actually happens and that which is reasonable
and practical. "The law must be obeyed" and "Violence is
always wrong" are two of the most chanted modern political
mantras, at least in the West. Not bad chants as
political dicta go, for the law is the skeleton on which
society rests and violence can all too easily become
an endemic social disease. Yet the logic of an
absolute bar on disobeying the law or engaging in
violence for political ends is that an elite may behave
as badly as they want without fear of punishment.

Suppose the House of Commons passed a law which extended
the life of a Parliament to 50 years - this the Commons could
do quite legitimately, because there is no constitutional
restraint on Parliament. Would we simply accept such
a gross political abuse because it had been achieved
legally, that it was done within the form of democratic
procedure? The sane answer has to be no. But if we do not
accept it, how do we act against those who abuse power
without provoking something approaching anarchy or replacing
one abuse of power with another?

The general answer to this can be found by answering another
question, namely what is political disobedience (in which I
include everything from passive resistance to full blooded
civil war) a substitute for? It replaces the normal
democratic political process. It becomes legitimate where
a society is so ordered that participation in the
political process is either denied overtly or
covertly or when the behaviour of the ruling elite
constitutes treason. Political disobedience is the
civil or internecine version of Clauswitz's "war being the
continuation of politics by other means."

That is all very well, but how in practice do we determine
both when political disobedience is legitimate and the extent
to which it is legitimate in any particular situation?

If political disobedience is not to be merely a means to
gain advantage by an individual or group, it must be
exercised within a moral context. It is to be a means to
an end, not an end in itself. That end must have a clear
and limited moral purpose if lawbreaking or violence is to
have any foreseeable limit. The end must be to create or
restore those structures which are necessary to a free and
democratic society.

Proportionality

Political disobedience should be proportionate to the
political circumstances and the ill to be cured and as
moderate as is compatible with effect. Faced with an
unambiguous, brutal and efficient dictator, the masses are
left with little alternative but extreme violence such as
assassination, because other and lesser forms of protest are
effectively denied.

That is not the case in societies which have at least the
form of representative democracies. In such societies other
forms of political disobedience, including non-violent
methods, can be effective and violence is inappropriate as
anything but a final resort, when all else has failed and the
damage being done by those in power is considerable.

In practice, governments in states which have both the form
of representative democracies and some of the content are
peculiarly vulnerable to even non-violent resistance provided
it is truly widespread or arises from a strike in a vital
industry. Such governments are bound by the pretence at least
that they are not dictatorships. Thus strong-arm measures
which are the common currency of the dictator cannot be used
with impunity because they are publicly observed and sooner
or later elections must be held.

Generally, the more broadly power is spread in a political
system, the wider the range of extra-political
action.

When is it reasonable to disobey the law

When the law is made by made without democratic authority,
when the law is not equally applied, when the law takes
away a man's living, when the law disadvantages one man but
not another, when the law amounts to treason. When, in
short, the law is incompatible with a free, self-governing
society.

What are the requirements for such a society? Above all
there must be free expression, for a free society must be
democratic and a democratic society cannot outlaw any aspect
of life from debate and be called either free or democratic.
The mass media must be both free of government control and
open to all. All adults must have the vote and meaningful
opportunity to engage in mainstream political activity. The
state must not use force against its people which is
disproportionate nor have a monopoly of force.

When is violence justified?

This is the most difficult of questions. In an outright
dictatorship the answer is morally unambiguous; it is simply
justified. But there are, of course, many steps between
elected representative government and outright tyranny.
Ultimately the judgement has to be personal, but made within
criteria which impose clear ends and restraints such as those
discussed above.

There is one instance where violence is unequivocally
justified in a formal democracy, namely where the political
elite as a class engages in behaviour which is objectively
treasonable. It is justified because such a matter becomes a
question of self-defence.

Treason is a slippery word, yet it clearly has an
objective meaning. In a dynastic context it is betrayal of
the sovereign. In a democratic context it is the betrayal of
the population to an external power for the general
population has become the sovereign.

Of what does treason consist? Generally it must be the
conscious decision by those in power to act in a way which
will weaken the integrity of the nation. To give up
sovereignty is by definition to weaken the integrity of a
nation.

Proportionality of violence

Violence should be minimised for moral reasons, but
selective violence is also arguably the most effective.
Elites do not care about violence perpetrated on the masses
unless the violence threatens to provoke public unrest
which the elite is not confident of controlling. What they
really care about is violence directed at the elite. A
good example of this mentality concerns the IRA and
successive British governments in the years 1969-1984.

The IRA practice of public bombing continued for 15 years
after 1969 without gaining anything from British
governments of any political colour. The IRA then
attempted to kill Margaret Thatcher and members of her
cabinet in the Brighton bombing of 1984 during the Tory
Party conference. Within 18 months the Anglo-Irish
Agreement, which granted a foreign power legal rights in
Northern Ireland, had been developed and signed by Margaret
Thatcher and the Irish Prime Minister.

The restriction of violence to those in the elite has
another great advantage, the mass of the population will
not feel threatened. This means that they are less likely
to become viscerally antagonistic to the perpetrator of the
violence. Moreover, if the ends of the perpetrator of
violence are reasonable, then the mass of the population will
probably support them tacitly or at least not violently
oppose them.

Hence for both moral and practical reasons violence should
always be kept to a minimum and directed at the elite,
especially those who wield political power.

A lesson from the past

In the twelfth century there was developed the doctrine of
rightful tyranicide. It has lessons for us. The first and
probably the most famous of its proponents was John of
Salisbury ("He who usurps the sword is worthy to die by the
sword.") John's world is seemingly far removed from ours
in custom as well as years, yet it has striking political
similarities with our own, for the power of European rulers
was very far from absolute. Mediaeval monarchs were
commonly confronted with parliaments resisting taxation,
fractious towns and ambitious nobles. In many ways the
late Middle Ages was more democratic, in the sense of power
being shared, than any subsequent time before the nineteenth
century. The consequence of this was a need to define the
relationship between ruler and ruled in a way which had not
been done since the ancient world struggled with the problem.

For John the distinction was between power legitimately and
illegitimately exercised. In his work Policraticus he puts it
thus:

"Between a tyrant and a prince there is this single
or chief difference, that the latter obeys the law
and rules the people by its dictates, accounting
himself as but their servant. It is by virtue of
the law that he makes good his claim to the
foremost and chief place in the management of the
affairs of the commonwealth." *

In our world, formal kingship with political power is a
rarity, yet we have what are, practically, elected
monarchs in our presidents and prime ministers and an
abundant and never ending supply of unelected tyrants. Even
in the best of the "liberal democracies" power is remote
from the masses. The question which John of Salisbury
addressed in the thirteenth century is an eternal question,
the central problem of politics in fact, namely how shall
those who wield power be prevented from abusing the mass of
those they govern? The only rational answer when formal
democratic methods fail is political disobedience.

*Policraticus Bk. IV. ch. i; Dickinson's trans. p. 3.

The article above written by Robert Henderson and published in Right Now! magazine March/April 2003

13 December 2008 at 21:48  

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