Civil Liberties; Definitions
What are Civil Liberties?
Examples of our Liberties,
Rights and Responsibilities
The other side of the coin:
What is Power?
Forms of Corruption and other forms of
Abuse of Power
What do we mean by "Corruption"?
What are the Effects of Corruption?
What would the signs be if
Corruption was reduced to an acceptable level?
[Yet to typeup; inc. mathematical-type holistic-structuring-explanation,
and diagrams. First, introduction (Req's further research).]
Civil Liberties are cheap, Oppression is expensive.
Freedom of Movement.
Freedom of Speech.
At liberty to contact consenting friends of our and their choice.
At liberty to ........
The Rights to ........, and the Responsibility to ........
- Protection of the individual
- Legal representation
- Welfare benefit
- Participation of the individual within society
- The Vote
- Stand for Public Office
- Freedom of Speech
- Contribute taxes
- Act within the law
(Distilled from "The Human Condition" by Mark
(These are listed in our Civil Liberties Search
Power is the freedom to decide our own actions, or those of other people.
Power may be freely given to other people, by democracy or trickery.
Trickery includes blackmail and psychological means. Blackmail is usually
used by dictatorships. Ie, "do as we say or we'll kill you", but it
is always ultimately the individual's choice.
Corrupt practice splits in to Grand Corruption, where the government itself
is on the make/take, and so-called Petty Corruption, where it's only minor
officials and public-sector bodies.
Corruption is possible in the private sector too, of course, but since
virtually no appeals for judgement or law-making are handled in the private
sector, this is not a serious problem. It get's annoying when the people who
sort out disputes become corrupt, such as the police, Courts, or Ombudsmen.
Fortunately, Courts and Ombudsmen are relatively free of corruption in this
country (UK). It is the police that this Campaign concentrates on, and their
corruption takes two forms, that carried out by individual Officers,
"Bent Coppers", and that carried out in an organised manner.
What the proportions of these are is hard to tell, but I hope it's mainly
Power may be abused in many ways, some definitions of only make sense in
particular cultures. The most common way is in the self-interest of
particular officials, as opposed to the public interest of the wider
community. This makes sense in most systems of government, except regimes
where oppression is used as a social tool, most popularly Iraq, though that
[country] information is from an American report and is almost certainly
Chuck owns a shop, which has a window. Bob passes by, and Dent is nowhere
near any of them.
Assuming it is legal for Chuck to break his own window, and Bob's
motivation is he runs a glazing company and business is bad:
If Bob throws a brick through Chuck's window, and the police arrest Bob,
then that's as it should be, and if Bob protests corruption that is an abuse
of the appeal system.
If the police arrest Dent, who is not a suspect, and put out a Press
Release that they're arresting more criminals then that's just plain lazy.
If they arrest nobody, that is typical.
If the police throw a brick through Chuck's window, and arrest:
either Bob or Dent and Chuck says he saw Bob or Dent throw the brick,
it's a conspiracy.
If the police throw the brick and arrest Chuck, it's a protection racket.
If the police say Bob has thrown a brick when nobody has, and arrest him,
then it's malicious prosecution.
When the police throw Bob through Chuck's window, hit him with a brick,
then arrest him (for breaking the window), it's police brutality.
Bob, Chuck, and Dent are not available for examination, partly because
they're fictional entities, partly because they're all verbs.
The situation is complicated in real life, where there will be multiple
“Bobs” and “Dents”, and hence one than one possible
Noting that wrongful arrests may be mistakes as well as deliberate, and
that corruption takes many forms, this splits as:
- Not technically corrupt, but may be a mistake:
- Typical (process ends)
- Laziness (possibly corrupt)
- Corruption, usually of individual Officers:
- Malicious Prosecution (mucking around)
- police Brutality
- Corruption, generally of organised groups of Officers:
- Protection Racket
The above behaviours are listed from most common to least.
Corruption (and conspiracy) are generally limited to small groups of
individuals, and separate organisations rarely conspire; they're simply not
that efficient, whatever the motivation.
Conspiracy for the common good, by the majority, is society in general,
and is not real conspiracy, except for paranoid psychopaths and
Where corruption occurs it is difficult to determine whether this is
engineered by individual or small groups of Officers, due to the way the
police work, in that an individual Officer can misuse the organisational
machinery to destroy evidence, make arrests, etc, masquerading as genuine
Rarely in this country (the UK), but more routinely in third world
dictatorships and warzones, deliberately unjust behaviour may be sanctioned
from on high, ie the national government, usually for political reasons
(which can mean anything handy). This is a separate problem, and is called
For separate reasons, the Courts may or may not, correctly or incorrectly,
find the accused (in this case, the arrested,) guilty or innocent. (Other
judgements are regarded here as equivalent to innocence.)
If someone is guilty and the Court find's him so, that's
If they are innocent and vindicated that is also justice.
If someone is innocent and they are found guilty, that is a Miscarriage of
Justice, and is usually the result of error, but could be some form of
corruption amongst individuals (petty corruption), or (rarely) for political
reasons, which is called grand corruption.
If a person is guilty and they are found innocent, that's very lucky for
them, unlucky for any victims, and probably by the same inefficiency that
produces Miscarriages of Justice.
Though this is technically a Miscarriage of Justice also, since only any
possible victims complain about it, it usually escapes definition.
Relationship between the Courts and the police
The police often complain that they find it demoralizing when they
pick up the same bastards time and time again, only for the Courts to
set them free.
The Courts point out this is because they are innocent, and complain
the police seem to have given up trying to properly detect and investigate
In my humble opinion, the police don't seem to be able to detect
their bums in the dark with both hands and a torch, of late.
Corruption in public office is a criminal offence, whichever way you slice
it, so cutting corruption would cut crime. Bad behaviour like this ends
trust, confidence, and attitudes to the police &c, so confidence and
faith in the police would rise.
Some collected notions from a philosophical dictionary I have
been processing for another project:
Social Contract Theory
Belief that political structures and the legitimacy of the state derive from
an (explicit or implicit) agreement by individual human beings to surrender
(some or all of) their private rights in order to secure the protection and
stability of an effective social organization or government. Distinct
versions of social contract theory were proposed by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau,
Equitable distribution of goods and evils, including reward and punishment.
After surveying alternative notions of the virtue of justice, Plato defined
it as the harmonious function of diverse elements of society or of the
distinct souls within an individual person. Most social philosophers of the
Western tradition, however, have followed Aristotle's conceptions of
retributive and distributive justice. Contemporary discussions often focus on
Rawls's notion of "justice as fairness."
According to Plato, justice in this sense is best exemplified by harmonious
relations in the ideal state.
The absence of any bias toward or away from a particular person or opinion.
Enlightenment philosophers often upheld the use of human reason as an
impartial tool, but postmodern thinkers raise significant doubts about the
possibility and value of such objectivity. Although moral impartiality has
traditionally been regarded as a virtue, in strict practice it would require
callous disregard for every special relationship with another person. In
public life, however, impartiality is a crucial component of justice.
Sanskrit term (literally, truth-force) used by Gandhi for the practice of
non-violence in the face of political oppression.
Rights & Responsibilities
Justified expectations about the benefits other people or society ought to
provide. We are entitled to our Rights in the sense that others have a
Responsibility to respect them. At an individual level, my Responsibility to
act toward you in a certain way entails your corresponding Right to my
performance of that action.
What pertains to the life of the city or state. Hence,
study of citizenship or the art of governance generally. Political
philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke,
Rousseau, Mill, Marx, and MacKinnon examine the origins, forms, and limits of
political power as exercised in practical life.
The theoretical approach of the Frankfurt School of social philosophers.
Relying on the work of Hegel and Marx, they tried to exhibit dialectically
the contradictions imposed upon modern human beings by varieties of social
organization that abuse formal rationality in order to deny power to classes
of citizens. Rejecting the detached insularity of traditional efforts at
objectivity, critical theorists of any sort generally hope that their
explanation of the causes of oppression will result in practical efforts to
French philosopher. Foucault used historical investigations as a method of
exposing how the structure of contemporary thought is shaped by conventional
social institutions and practices, including especially the forceful
marginalization of deviant behaviour by discursive rationality.
He notes the use of social power to circumscribe and control subjective human
experience. Genuine freedom, Foucault maintained, can be achieved only
through detachment from what is expected of us as "normal."
French political philosopher who significantly influenced the founders of
America, ie their constitution. Montesquieu considered the fundamental
principles of government, emphasizing respect for individual liberty and
(extrapolating from a suggestion of Locke) urging a sharp separation of
executive, legislative, and judicial powers.
Italian politician and philosopher who offered practical suggestions for the
successful use of power for the achievement of desirable political stability
by the arbitrary ruler of any principality, without concern for abstract
Habermas, Jürgen (1929AD-)
German philosopher. Habermas engages in critical study of the historical
origins of human knowledge in many disciplines. He examines the social
conditions under which the uninhibited dialogue of an "ethics of
discourse" is possible in the public literary sphere, serving the basic
human needs to gain control over the natural world, to explore the character
of interpersonal relationships, and to escape the domination of social
power-structures. Habermas again emphasized the implications of social
context for the development of epistemology.
Martin Luther King (1929AD-1968AD)
King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, organizing and
leading significant social protests against racial discrimination in the
American South until his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. He defends the
use of Gandhi's method of non-violent protest as a powerful means of
achieving social cooperation, and the "I Have a Dream" speech
(1963AD) expressed a lofty vision of interracial unity.
Literally, rule by the few. Both Plato and Aristotle assumed that the small
group most likely to gain control over the governance of a city-state would
be those with great wealth.
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