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Civil Disobedience And Other Essays

Against Raz, one could argue, as David Lefkowitz does, that when aperson appeals to political participation rights to defend herdisobedience she does not necessarily criticise the law for outlawingher action. Lefkowitz maintains that members of minorities canappreciate that democratic discussions often must be cut short so thatdecisions may be taken. As such, persons who engage in politicaldisobedience may view current policy as the best compromise betweenthe need to act and the need to accommodate continueddebate. Nonetheless, they also can observe that, with greaterresources or further time for debate, their view might have heldsway. Given this possibility, the right to political participationmust include a right to continue to contest the result after the votesare counted or the decisions taken. And this right should includesuitably constrained civil disobedience because the best conception ofpolitical participation rights is one that reduces as much as possiblethe impact that luck has on the popularity of a view (Lefkowitz2007; see also Ceva 2015).

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Civil Disobedience and Other Essays by Henry David …

Although civil disobedience often overlaps broadly with other typesof dissent, nevertheless some rough distinctions may be drawn betweenthe key features of civil disobedience and the key features of theseother practices.

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays : Henry David …

Ronald Dworkin rests the right to civil disobedience not just on aperson's right to political participation, but on all of therights that she has against her government. People may be supposed tohave a fundamental right against the government, such as freedom ofexpression, when that right is important to their dignity, to theirstanding as persons equally entitled to concern and respect, or to someother personal value of consequence. A person has a right to disobey alaw, says Dworkin, whenever that law wrongly invades her rights againstthe government (Dworkin 1977, 192). Thus, the moral right to breachthe law is not a separate right, like a right of conscience, additionalto other rights against the government. It is that part ofpeople's rights against the government which the government failsto honour.

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays: Henry David …


Civil Disobedience, and Other Essays Summary

A further challenge to Raz might be that real societies do not alignwith this dichotomy between liberal and illiberal regimes; rather theyfall along a spectrum of liberality and illiberality, being both moreor less liberal relative to each other and being more or less liberalin some domains than in others. Given the stringency of Raz'snotion of a liberal regime, it is unlikely that any society could bewholly liberal. So, although Raz may have grounds to hold that in thetruly liberal society a right to civil disobedience would not exist andthat, to the extent that our society approximates such a regime, thecase for such a right diminishes, nevertheless in the majority of realsocieties, if not all real societies, a right to civil disobediencedoes exist. Note that to make legally protected participation fullyadequate, the liberal society would have to address Russell'scharge that controllers of the media give defenders of unpopular viewsfew opportunities to make their case unless they resort to sensationalmethods such as disobedience.

Civil disobedience, and other essays

An alternative response to Raz questions whether the right to civildisobedience must be derived from rights to politicalparticipation. Briefly, the right to civil disobedience could begrounded on something other than participation rights such as aright to object on the basis of conscience. Whether such a right toconscience would fall under participation rights depends on theexpansiveness of the latter rights. When the right to participate isunderstood to accommodate only legal protest, then the rightconscientiously to object, which commonsensically includes civildisobedience, must be viewed as distinct from political participationrights.

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays - Dover Publications

The various constraints and requirements discussed above do notamount to a complete defence for civil disobedience. A fuller defencewould appeal to the social value of civil disobedience. Justified civildisobedience, says Rawls, can serve to inhibit departures from justiceand to correct departures when they occur; thus it can act as astabilising force in society (Rawls 1971, 383). Justice aside, civildisobedience and dissent more generally contribute to the democraticexchange of ideas by forcing the champions of dominant opinion todefend their views. Mill maintains in On Liberty that if thereare any persons who contest a received opinion, we should thank themfor it, open our minds to listen to them, and rejoice that there issomeone to do for us what we otherwise ought to do ourselves (Mill1999, 90). In fact, one could argue that those who breach the law injustified civil disobedience demonstrate responsible citizenship orcivic virtue. Richard Dagger argues that