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16/06/2021

PUBLIC SERVICE: "There is no moral obligation to obey the law, simply because it is the law"

«Sometimes the most spirited thing you can do with despotic laws like this is to ignore them. I think that if government persists long enough with locking people down, depending on the severity of the lockdown, civil disobedience is likely to be the result. It will be discrete civil disobedience int the classic English way. I don’t think that we are likely to go onto the streets waving banners. I think we will just calmly decide that we are not going to pay any attention to this. There are some things you have to pay attention to: you can’t go to a shop if it’s closed. On the other hand, you can invite friends round for a drink, whatever Mr. Hancock says. People are doing that so some extent already.  […] 

I feel sad that we have the kind of laws which public-spirited may need to break and I think that is unfortunate. But I have always taken a line on this. Which is probably different from that of most of my former colleagues [at the Supreme Court]. I do not believe that there is a moral obligation to obey the law. There is clearly a legal obligation that is tautologous. An I also think that you cannot complain if you break the law and are punished. But is there a moral obligation to do so as well? In my view there is no moral obligation to obey the law, simply because it is the law. You have to have a high degree of respect. Both for the object that the law is trying to achieve and for the way that I’s being achieved. And also I think for how the law has been made. Some laws invite breach. I think this is one of them. [… ] No, you wouldn’t see me doing that [leading a resistance movement] because I just don’t believe int that kind of political manifestation. What you will see people spontaneously doing is simply quietly ignoring the law. And I think that is in a sense how if one is going to have people ignoring the law, it should happen. I don’t think a great public issue should be made of it. I think that it should simply be understood that nobody respects the law enough to want to comply with it and that is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that the law is changed. [ ... ]

I will conclude that some of the fears that I have always had about the way that mass democracy works have proved to true in concrete detail, and sooner than I have expected. I will have learnt the enormous power of governments to influence opinion by promoting fear in a technical area, which many people could understand by in practice don't. And those are dismaying lesson I would want to learn from them about how we repair thing in the future. And my first proposal is that governments should not treat information as a tool for manipulating public behaviour. They should be calmer than the majority of their citizen, they should be completely objective. My second lesson would be that government dealing with scientific issues should not allow themselves to be influenced by a single caucus of scientists. They should always test what they are being told in a way that, for instance, judges test expert opinion by producing a counter expert, and working out which set of views stacks up best, those would be the two most specific lessons that I would derive from the particular way in chich thing have gone during the epidemic.»

Lord Sumption, Juiz jubilado do Supremo Tribunal britânico entrevistado pela revista digital UnHerd

1 comentário:

Anónimo disse...

No Reino Unido desde há séculos que há o respeito pelo povo. Começa na Magna Carta.

William Pitt (o Velho). Primeiro-ministro britânico, em 1763: The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake, the wind may blow through it, the storm may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter! All his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!

Abraço