Friday, December 02, 2005

Seditious Philosophy

I read with some interest the sadly short piece of philosophy by Charles Richardson. In his defense, there is no other way to approach the problem in this format, but perhaps some short discussion would be useful. Firstly, the contradiction is that peace is a virtue, while violence is a vice -- hence "vicious". It would seem then that the support for violent ends must always be a vice. What, then, is sedition other than a vicious act? The way to resolve the dilemma is in terms how how all violence is justified -- in terms of the greater good. While violent ends are clearly wrong, violent means have been pursued throughout history to ends of ambiguous virtue. The existing sedition legislation is little more than a support structure for the existing power heirarchies of our society. It is phrased not in terms of violent ends, but in self-serving terms which make the institution itself the ultimate moral goal. The phrase which I think is most problematic is now quoted: "[it is a crime] to excite disaffection against the Government or Constitution of the Commonwealth or against either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth;".

The key works, I think, are being co-opted into wider arguments surrounding the incumbent government. I think it is reasonable to legislate against violent attacks on government and constitutional democracy as such, and few people would disagree. The ambiguity over the term "disaffection" suggests that the laws may be enforceable against peaceful protest, and perhaps be used for party political goals, which calls for careful attention. Wider readings of the proposed legislation are not so ambiguous, however.

Nonetheless, it seems at least possible to have phrased the anti-sedition laws solely in terms of protection from violence. The question is why this has not been done.



Blogger LionCastle said...

What about Optus? (test)

12/04/2005 12:54:00 PM  

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