Civil Liberties; Definitions

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Civil Liberties
      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?
Collected Philosophies


Civil Liberties

What are Civil Liberties?

[Yet to typeup; inc. mathematical-type holistic-structuring-explanation, and diagrams. First, introduction (Req's further research).]



Civil Liberties are cheap, Oppression is expensive.

Examples of our Liberties, Rights and Responsibilities

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 ........

Draft Structure

(Distilled from "The Human Condition" by Mark Jeffery.)

Groups that exist to fight for them

(These are listed in our Civil Liberties Search Directory.)

What is Power?

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.

Forms of Corruption and other forms of Abuse of Power

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 individual Officers.

What do we mean by "Corruption"?

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 biased.

What are the Effects of Corruption?

Illustrated Instances

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 suspect.

Analysis

Noting that wrongful arrests may be mistakes as well as deliberate, and that corruption takes many forms, this splits as:

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 sociological statisticians.

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 requests.

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 grand corruption.

The Courts

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 efficient justice.
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 crime.

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.

What would the signs be if Corruption was reduced to an acceptable level?

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.

Collected Philosophies

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, and Rawls.

Justice

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.

Impartiality

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.

Satyagraha

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.

Politics

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.

Critical Theory

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 eliminate it.

Foucault (1926AD-1984AD)

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."

Montesquieu (1689AD-1755AD)

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.

Machiavelli (1469AD-1527AD)

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 moral judgments.

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.

Oligarchy

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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