'Cheap talk' pooling equilibriums represent coordination games of a certain type. However, they are vulnerable to busybodies who arbitrage on discoordination games. In other words, a norm which may be perfectly harmless within a homogenous population, and thus is self-reinforcing, is turned into a nuisance by being applied in an absurd or transgressive context. This can yield a rent for a 'moral entrepreneur' with an 'interessement' mechanism which is mischievous because it is based on an incompossible Structural Causal Model.
What happens if the assumption is made that Rights exist independent of the incentive compatibility of the corresponding Remedy? Let us see-
Gwilym David Blunt, a lecturer in some Soft Subject for the soft in the head, writes in Aeon-
Resistance is a human right. This is why the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that people will be ‘compelled to have recourse, in the last resort, to rebellion’ if human rights are not respected, and why the defence of human rights framed in many United Nations resolutions supports resistance against colonialism and apartheid.Did the UN provide any remedy to Human Rights violations? Not in general, no. The thing had no teeth.
What about the impact of this declaration on domestic law in those countries where the law was not a joke?
Though provisions of an international treaty supercede State Law, the California Supreme Court in Fujii decided they were not self-executing. In other words, either a country moved, 'organically', towards a fairer system or it did not. The UN Declaration was merely hot air.
In Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights, unlike the UN Declaration, created rights which could be relied on in a court of law. However, its Article 14- covering non-discrimination- was a Cinderella provision and had no meaning in itself.
Did the UN declaration have any importance at all? I think it did have some utility. The fact is, in International Relations, a successful Rebellion can create a de facto Regime which it is may be useful to recognise on its own terms as a de jure sovereign State. But, if a Rebellion has no chance of success- indeed, if it is not a Rebellion at all but simply a stupid nuisance- then reliance on the UN Declaration is foolish and mischievous.
After a brief period- the 20 years following the collapse of the Soviet Union- when public intellectuals spoke glowingly of 'a rules based International Order', it must be admitted that currently the thing is utterly useless. Tibetans or Uighurs gain nothing from it whatsoever. Proclaiming a Right without providing a reliable Remedy is cheap talk of a worthless type.
It could not be otherwise. If your rights are violated, you must have a recourse.A recourse is not a recourse if it is entirely ineffective. I have a right to life. Unfortunately, it becomes increasingly ineffective as I age. It is not the case that some recourse exists such that I can avoid death indefinitely. Thus my 'right to life' is meaningless. No doubt, it may feature in the judgment of a court. But that judgment may be equally effective or ineffective if it made no mention of this soi disant right and stated its ratio using some other terminology.
Normally this would be found in the law and the courts but, when faced with severe and intransigent injustice, resistance is that recourse.Nonsense! Resistance may lead to an abrupt termination of even such parlous amenities as were previously available. It is sheer magical thinking to hold otherwise.
But when others are resisting, and we are sympathetic to their aims, what should we do?What we are doing is not resisting. We may say 'I should be resisting but am not' but this statement is about as meaningful as 'I should be Beyonce but am not.'
The answer is surprising.Meaningless statements may be surprising. Why? Because there is little point making the conform to rationality or communicative sense.
From autumn 2018 for about a year, the group known as Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a number of disruptive protests in the United Kingdom, on London’s bridges and across several city centres, bringing road traffic to a standstill.What was the outcome of this 'Resistance'? The Tories, under BoJo- whom the UK's Chief Scientist said had presided over 'devastating' cuts in the fight against climate change while Foreign Secretary- won a stunning victory. The public turned against XR and the thing collapsed as its members faced mass arrest and legal problems of an expensive kind for which they had been inadequately prepared.
The protestors were drawing attention to the need for immediate action on the climate emergency.That may have been their intention. But what they actually did was draw attention to their own stupidity and selfishness. The Green Vote is not electorally important- at least in first past the post polities. The lone Green MP in Westminster has no impact whatsoever. This is a far cry from what activists had hoped for- Greens holding the balance of power in a coalition with Corbynista Social Justice Warriors and SNP mavericks. What has happened instead is the collapse of the 'Red Wall' and the Toryization of the Working Class which now sees the Greens as part of what Piketty calls 'the Brahman Left'- i.e. that portion of the educated middle class which is intent on destroying the material standard of living of workers for some hysterical virtue signalling purpose.
From their perspective, these were acts of resistance, drawing attention to injustice and inaction.From everybody else's perspective they were a public nuisance.
What should someone who is sympathetic to this cause and to their action do?Tell them to stop being so fucking stupid. But, in that case, those lunatics might start baying for your blood. So the safer course is to keep mum.
If possible, nothing. But there are different ways of doing nothing. It matters that you do nothing in the right way and for the right reasons.Just as it matters that you piss in the punch bowl in the right way and for the right reasons- not simply coz you're drunk and think the thing will be frightfully funny.
Let me explain.Only if the rights' holders apply in proper legal form for remedies involving identifiable obligations' holders under a specific vinculum juris. I may say 'I have a Right to Food' and steal your sandwich and eat it. But you are not the obligation holder for this Right of mine. In order to assert it, I may need to bring a case against the Public Food Distribution System or the Department of Social Security of some such statutory entity. However, under exigent circumstances, that entity may have a sovereign immunity defence against providing the remedy.
Rights imply duties.
If you have a right to something, other people owe you certain duties.Nonsense! Some specific obligation holder may owe you a duty under a given vinculum juris. But that obligation holder may owe a superior duty to deny you that right. This is a matter for lawyers and judges.
There are at least three negative duties that are generated by the right of resistance: non-interference, non-obstruction and non-collaboration.Rubbish! There is no such viculum juris binding 'other people' as opposed to some specific statutory authority or other public body.
The simplest of these is the duty of non-interference. If a person has the right to do something, there is a fundamental duty not to prevent them from doing that thing.There may be a more fundamental duty, or a superior right, to prevent them doing that thing. Thus if I try to grab your sandwich while claiming that this represents 'Resistance', you have a superior right to use reasonable force to defend yourself and your property. This is a matter for the police and the courts.
So, if a person is enacting their right to resistance, then bystanders have an obligation to forbear and not to interfere.That may be the view taken by a Court. But, equally, it may not. In practice, 'bystanders' may have a right- which they may consider a duty- to kick the fucker's head in. Consider a paedophile enacting his resistance to oppressive laws. re. raping kiddies, outside a primary school. It is likely that the fellow's brains will form an artistic smear upon the sidewalk after Mums have done with him.
This seems obvious, but there was a rather shocking instance during the London XR protests where this duty was not respected.Shocking? Most people thought it was entirely salutary. The police did say they might investigate those members of the public who beat the shit out of the two protestors- one of whom was a 'Buddhist teacher'- but nothing came of it. Juries won't convict commuters who have a go at nutters who are trying to make their journey even more hellish than it already is. Why did those nutters not target the limousines or helicopters of the rich? Why fuck with working people using public transport?
In October 2019, protestors stopped London trains from working by climbing on top of carriages. At Canning Town in east London, one protestor was dragged off the roof of a carriage and set upon by commuters. This is a violation of the duty of non-interference.But it is an affirmation of a superior right, a higher moral duty, of an eusoical type. Public nuisances must be curbed, no matter how thickly 'Buddhist teachers' and the like may coat themselves in a marinade of virtue signalling histrionics.
It might be that people were angered by having their day disrupted, but this doesn’t excuse their behaviour.It both explains and excuses it. It is noteworthy that a wholly illegal assault upon the protestors did not give rise to a prosecution despite their being a plethora of video evidence. By contrast, the actions of the protestors were judged to be criminal by a Court.
It might be irritating but we have an obligation to do nothing.Sez who? Not the Courts. We are welcome to heckle protestors and use reasonable force to prevent them violating our rights. Indeed, we may have a duty of a superior sort to so humiliate and demoralize the perpetrators of public nuisances that thy stop being such stupid tossers.
Yet simply not interfering with individuals is not sufficient. Resistance to injustice is often organised. In addition to the obligation not to interfere with individuals, there must also be a duty of non-obstruction to organisations.This is simply untrue. Nazis 'resisting' the presence of immigrants in a neighborhood can and should be opposed and obstructed by organizations of various types.
This is often overlooked, but there are numerous ways in which people can unintentionally obstruct organised resistance. In 1849, Henry ‘Box’ Brown escaped slavery by mailing himself in a box from Virginia to Pennsylvania. It became a sensation in the media, a fact lamented by the abolitionist Frederick Douglass because it effectively closed this path out of slavery: if journalists had been more circumspect, then more people might have escaped slavery by post.This was silly. The fact is Prigg v Pennsylvania (1842) had prised open a door which the Fugitive Slaves Act of 1850 slammed shut. The 'Box' Brown escape and its attendant publicity had little real impact. It took a Civil War and three quarters of a million dead to put an end to the South's peculiar Institution. 'Resistance', by contrast, had little effect.
In the age of Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok, it is easy to inadvertently obstruct organisations fighting injustice.Only if they are crap. It is difficult to obstruct the FBI fighting injustice because they are a professional organization and may send you to jail if you obstruct them.
Posting a video or picture on social media could lead to a protestor being identified by the police or to escape routes being closed.The sentencing of that protester may, on the other hand, help the cause by creating a martyr.
We should avoid getting in the way of what those who are performing acts of resistance try to do.No. We should get a life which involves having some morally better purpose than 'performing acts of resistance'. One example is, not protesting, but putting an end to a glaring injustice. Another is saving lives as a Doctor or producing food and other essentials of life as a worker. Being a fucking drama queen virtue signalling support for the Environment, or the Palestinians or whatever is more likely to be a counter-productive nuisance than anything to be valued.
Living up to the duty of non-obstruction requires us to be more conscientious about the ways in which we communicate.Whereas writing shite like this requires no conscientiousness whatsoever.
The final negative duty is that of non-collaboration with agencies that are suppressing resistance. If we shouldn’t inadvertently obstruct resistance, it follows that we shouldn’t actively help to suppress it. Agencies that are engaged in suppressing resistance often depend upon third-party assistance. As the academic Juan Espíndola found in his research on the German Democratic Republic of 1949-90, the wide network of ‘unofficial coworkers’ who informed on dissidents and provided logistical support to the Stasi were referred to as the state’s ‘respiratory organs’. Without collaboration, unjust regimes suffocate.Not if they are sufficiently unjust. Shooting the families of non-collaborators may cause demographic replacement such that only collaborators survive.
By contrast just regimes are more, not less, vulnerable to non-cooperation and lack of public collaboration.
We might think that we aren’t pressured to collaborate like this today, but one might look at Apple’s decision in 2019 to remove an app that sought to inform prodemocracy protestors in Hong Kong where the police were concentrating and using tear gas.Coz China is a tiny little country which only keeps going thanks to the kindness of Apple. Anyway, poorer people can't afford Apple. They use Android.
It is possible that, as resistance to climate change grows, ‘liberal democratic’ states might employ similar pressures. The rule is simple: don’t snitch.A rule only the Mafia insists on. As resistance to the working class have a decent material standard of living increases, the resistors will have their fucking heads kicked in. Courts may try to sentence the aggressors but juries will acquit them. Politicians will get the message and laws too will change. The nuisance will be eliminated. Some lecturers may get the sack. What is certain is that kids will stop signing up for their worthless courses.
So we have at least these three obligations not to do things.No. So far we have a stupid cretin telling idiotic lies.
Is there anything else we have a duty not to do? One option would be to follow the example of the philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who in 1846 stopped paying his taxes in response to the US government’s unprovoked war with Mexico and continued support for slavery. Thoreau refused to support a state so immersed in injustice. Ought we do the same in relation to the climate emergency? At this stage, I would say no. Democratic states still provide sufficient protection of human rights to warrant some continued support, though this could erode as the climate emergency escalates.So this cretin thinks he is Thoreau- who wrote well but had zero influence. In any case, unlike the US, the country in which he lives has PAYE Income tax. In other words, the option to cheat on one's taxes and seek to withhold them for a conscientious reason is not available to most working people.
The sad truth is that stupid, only marginally productive, people like the author or his readers don't count for much.
This lends a ludicrous sort of pathos to his conclusion.
It’s not just what you do that matters, but what you don’t do, too.He knows that the 'you' he is addressing will neither read, nor remember if they do read, his worthless shite. So he warms himself with the reflection that what his 'you' doesn't do, too, is all about his own private drama of moral grandiosity.
Incidentally, Aeon is obstructing my resistance to their imbecility by deleting my comment.
I wonder which 'community guideline' it violated? Take a gander and form your own opinion-
'Sometimes the most powerful act of resistance is to do nothing'
Speaking generally, the 'most powerful act' is the one where most power (i.e. the most energy is transferred or converted per unit of time) is expended. No doubt, there was an active French Resistance. But it involved little power compared to Operation Overlord.
As a child, being weak and powerless, I was fascinated by the notion that Japanese 'jiu jitsu' or Gandhian 'Ahimsa' could invest me with the skill to use the much greater power of the adults against themselves. I may mention that my spirited resistance to paideia was wholly successful. Sadly, I have since discovered that I have a very low I.Q and thus needn't have bothered trying to resist edumification. India has now come to the conclusion that this was and is also the story of Gandhian Resistance in all its manifold forms. Stupidity is not Resistance. It may assert that it is strategic but Good Soldier Shweick could only resist the relatively enlightened Hapsburg yoke. He was powerless against Hitler or Stalin. Gandhian Stupidity- he and Rajaji (to whom he was, and I now am, related by marriage) said Hindus had a duty to fight for a restored Caliphate- was hugely counterproductive. Muslims came to fear and distrust Hindus because not a single one of them had actually fought for the Caliphate under Gandhi's aegis. By contrast, the older Hindu revolutionaries- like Amba Prasad Sufi- had actually died in the Pan-Islamic, anti-Imperialist cause, not because they were stupid but because they were intelligent enough to see that all Colonized people had a common interest in combatting European Imperialism regardless of Religious differences or nuanced points of Moral Psilosophy. I may mention that it was Brigadier Dyer who won the Seistan Campaign- in which Amba Prasad was killed- and it was he who was 'the Butcher of Amritsar'- which caused Gandhi to immediately call off his Civil Disobedience campaign- and, one month later, it was he who defeated the Afghan invasion and caused the restive frontier tribes to loot their co-religionist 'Jihadis' rather than seek to harass the 'infidel' Army Dyer commanded. Like most Hindus, I grew up hating Reginald Dyer and loving Mahatma Gandhi. I still love Gandhi- he was very lovable- but, now I find myself looking at source material in Persian and so forth, I have to admit that Dyer deserved the rewards and acclamation he received. He had helped save Iraq and Iran and Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan from the sort of anarchy which we- unlike our parent's generation- have a proper inkling off. But this also means Gandhi was correct to delay India's independence by two decades. He knew better than anyone that his 'weapon' of non-violence was effective only against its wielder. Thus, again and again, he limited the amount of mischief 'Resistance' could do and, though personally brave, showed the yellow streak in the most histrionic manner. It takes a lot of moral courage to admit that Gandhi, though stupid and ignorant- like the rest of us- had enough genuine love in his heart to prevent Hindu India from taking the path of the Gadarene Swine and rushing off the cliff-edge of Benthamite Rationality. I think what made Gandhi different from us was that he got into a habitus of loving others entirely on his own terms. The thing just happened. He wasn't imitating anyone or following a set or rules. Suddenly, he is the head of a crackpot commune for no other reason than that he was loving and loveable- and as financially well cushioned as E.F Benson's Lucia. In Game theory there is a concept called 'the price of anarchy'. It is out of date. 'Selfishness' merely means 'Stupidity' once things like 'Muth Rationality', 'Hannan Consistency' etc. are taken on board. Gandhianism was stupid- yes. But it was a cathartic type of Theater which benefitted horribly racist, misogynistic and just plain hypocritical High Caste Hindus engaged in morally despicable, but very profitable, professions. It has retained its utility in India because it diverts worthwhile types of protest or 'Resistance' into worthless avenues so poverty may burgeon and smart people have an incentive to emigrate. This is a good outcome because, as an Indian-all-too-Indian myself, I have to admit that poor and stupid Indians are nice. The smart sort are only bearable if they are making fools of themselves trying to sound Oxbridge or Ivy League or whatever. Gwilym- what a beautiful name!- points to the UN Declaration of something or the other and it is good to know that there are beautiful Snowflakes and fragrant Sweet Williams who believe Rights can exist without incentive compatible Remedies under a Vinculum Juris- or bond of Law. I think he makes a mistake to mention the slave who escaped in a Box. The fact is the Supreme Court had opened a door in 1842 which was slammed shut by the Fugitive Slaves Act of 1850. Resistance didn't matter much. It took the killing of 750,000 men- the revised death toll of the Civil War- to end Slavery. It was also a mistake to mention Extinction Rebellion- which pissed off us proles who are dependent on Public transport. We rebelled against what Piketty calls the 'Brahman Left' and voted Tory. By contrast, the Yellow Vests successfully 'Resisted' Macron's virtue signalling re. Climate Change. As a black man who was subjected to extreme racial abuse by my parents- 'get a proper job you fat b***k b******d' being a mantra much on the lips of Mum & Dad- I don't want to admit that I side with Racists who want to restrict immigration as well as chuck out people of my color who wish to wage war against Her Majesty the Queen, Gor Bless 'Er. But, the sad truth is that the only Indian MP in Westminster back in 1905 voted for the first Racist Restricton on Immigration into this country. There's a pattern here, is what I'm saying. Economic considerations make for strange bedfellows. Morality turns out to be idiographic not nomothetic for the same reason Game theory failed to give the Moral Sciences an Evolutionary foundation- viz Regret minimization requires competing 'Tiebout Models'.