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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

How to restrain the heavy hand of the State. Conscience got tools. Defenses to noncompliance.

Behold the Heavy Hand of the State.
How shall it be restrained, so my conscience may wave unfettered as I want it?
How shall it be loosed, so there is room for many expressions of conscience also unfettered ?
Conscience: a wake-up for fairness and helping others. Not a ladder for self.


The heavy hand of the State can 1)  enact laws, 2)  implement, and  3) enforce.  It is best restrained in the enacting process itself:  see that the objective of the law is constitutional, that the means of implementing it are rationally related to the objective.  At the implementation phase, see that the force used against people disobeying the law and subject to it, is only minimally adequate to get the job done.  No more force than absolutely necessary, given the objective.  So the State can be restrained early on, and then when implemented to see that no more intrusion than absolutely necessary is applied to attain compliance, or get someone else to do the job. Where does that leave the dissenter? 

Two choices for the dissenter:  Bend, to the degree of allowing others the same choices that the dissenter has, or could have by exercise of it, or not to bend, with consequences but a personal conscience waving on.


Q, What brings up this old topic, the conflict of personal or group-fostered conscience, against civil secular-based law of government.  A. It never went away, and should not.
  • Current issues involve discrimination against persons seeking marriage where they are not part of the traditional marriage group in the culture. The Kentucky clerk, late-breaking view from UK.  
  • The law says they can marry.  
    • Some providers of services necessary administratively for a marriage, like issuing marriage licenses, and other supporters disagree with the law's objective on grounds of their own personal conscience and sincerely held religious belief that a) they and their view of their deity are the sole arbiters of morality, and b) they must be exempt from the law because they are acting under their Deity's direction, and so c) they may withhold even ministerial services that have the side effect of facilitating others in following the law the dissenters oppose. 
1.  Is the State on firm ground.  

Leave it to the dissenters' lawyers to argue that the law offering marriage to all persons who seek it and are of age and capacity to consent is irrational, particularly in a plural society where competing consciences -- if all are adamant -- will result in virtual or actual warfare activities.  Who's got guns.  Religious texts, and history, vary on the whens, whys, wherefores, of something all call marriage but define differently, see  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/here-is-all-you-need-to-prove-bigots-wrong-about-traditional-marriage_55e83d69e4b0c818f61ab9e6/

2.  Role of individual conscience in a multi-ethnic multi-religious society. 

Also leave it to their lawyers to argue that conscience in a plural society should provide an individual or group exemption against consequence for legal disobedience, where conscience tells someone to deprive others from enjoyment of what the depriver already enjoys, or could by simple choice.
  • Inquire into the effect of such exemption. 
  • Does it smacks of cultural or religious supremacism in seeking ways to control those who may compete with hierarchical interests taken for granted by the depriver.  
    • In gentler terms, the kind of certainty required for someone to think the deity (if) is directing one person or one group and none other, may need a second look. 
    •  Does certainty prevent further thinking or considering changes in information. Who benefits in status or finances from that. Follow the money, follow the control.
3.  When change happens. Some people by virtue of their own makeup can make room for others' rights and autonomy, can reconsider and can restructure thinking and culture.  Others have difficulty.
  • No pejoratives. Main point: People are not bigots for supporting their chosen tradition over any change, either way.  Their views may well result from the information that persuaded them at a vulnerable time, and once a position is taken, for some it is an unacceptable flip to dare to reconsider based on new information. That door closed upon the taking of the original position. 

Given a conscience disagreement with a law that is rational, minimal in impact on the autonomy of the person to give the service, what is a dissenter to do:  Law and individual conscience: the great ongoing Dr. Doolittle creation, the pushmi-pullyu.

4.  Defenses, responses. 

a.  Boycott something.

The boycott or threat of boycott is effective as against states.  See Indiana for consequences of its permission to discriminate against people for the religious reasons of the discriminator. See  http://www.dispatch.com/content/blogs/the-daily-briefing/2015/03/3-31-15-kasich-on-indiana.html,  (With effective state boycott looming, the governor no longer supports the earlier state position).
  • Boycott. The word with the male connotation is not such.  The word stems only from a pre-7th Century surname, achieving notoriety from 1880 or so, when one land-agent Captain Charles Boycott in Lough-Mask, County Mayo, Ireland, refused to lower rents for those souls who were low-caste tenant farmers.  The family name is English, and even the Japanese pirhouetted it into boycotto. Check its early roots at http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Boycott/.  Note a later cricketer named Boycott.  Venerable name. Find its evolution affirmed later at http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=boycott&allowed_in_frame=0/ 
  • Think Girlcott.  I now see that there is already a movement toward girlcott, with appropriate stances: See http://thegirlcott.com/  The meme is on the move.  At Thegirlcott, the emphasis is on safer products.
b.  Propaganda.  Persuasion techniques with agenda. Group damning, humiliation.  Not savory.  Personally I think that's cowardly. Address the issue, not cuss the target.
c.  Balance.  Live with a balance. I give this, you give that. Consider the merit of stability, peace for a time.  Press for time, place and manner adjustments so reasonable interests on both sides are reasonably protected, seek agreement, and enact a better law, one hopes.

d.  Patch or ignore. Pass the buck. Address nothing, wait to see who might just back down, leaving the issue for another day. Asking for a one-time exemption from a law's consequence just for this one person is such an approach. See Kentucky clerk lawyer.

e.  Accelerate.  Group civil disobedience (a usual route for conscience, or specific religious objection outside the military.  This is most effective in a group, and must be nonviolent, with the actors  accepting consequences (booking, even jail time until hearing, etc) but getting PR, position in the news, persuading legislators or gaining converts, perhaps.d
  • Or individual civil disobedience: a right of nonviolent protest against official action.  
  • This category would include someone with police on the street just suddenly sitting down, no weapon. Or an injured person unable to walk after a police stop and questioning, simply lapsing and slumping, so police have to force his body into the van. Are those not civil disobedience?  
    • Those people may end up dead, however, as the police may be unable to separate out a response to an event reduced to civil disobedience from the adrenaline of overpowering and punishing..
f.  Formal conscientious objection - customary conscience-route, religious objection, in the military. This requires a affirmative assertion.  See if it is accepted. Perhaps agree to alternate service, some proof of bona-fides as to conscience.  If enough follow suit, perhaps a law might change.  Do not hold breath.

g.  Disobedience and skip town. Just say no.  Legal consequences flow. See Kentucky clerk.

h.  Decline and hope the issue does not go public.  Results depend on the setting:

a. Client. If the seeker of service is a potential client in an individual private setting where close personal contact and disclosures and trust are involved, such as law and medicine and accounting, declining may be acceptable -- at least assist the person in finding service elsewhere.

b. Resident.  If the seeker of service is a resident a public service, the seeker just has to show he is a resident (or citizen, whatever).  The provider provides or finds other work for himself that does not require the service.  Is that so?  See d above.

c. Customer. If the seeker is a customer in a commercial transaction open to the public, similarly the seller provides or finds other work that does not require that service..
  • Proofs: difficult to prove motivation, but not impossible.

5.  Which defenses will all the lawyers choose. Stay tuned.
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* Poorly executed repair-work distorting a portrait of Christian August, 1673-172, First Bishop of Lubeck, at Sonderborg Castle, Denmark. A figure whose hand is bigger than his whole head. Also, is he smoking?