Subject: Re: Thought crimes (rights vs. power - uncharacteristically short)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 22:05:58 +0900

I'd like to clarify why I natter on about "rights" vs. "power".

"Power," such as that acquired through "bovinity" of one's opponents,
can be effectively countered through "technical means."  (Eventually;
the means may not have been developed yet.)  For example, the bovinity
of teachers who would not handcopy journal articles on to mimeograph
masters has been overcome by the invention of the photocopier.

"Rights," on the other hand, cannot be so countered, because they have
the full force of the state behind them (in principle).

It seems to me that this is a crucial distinction, especially since
rights tend to be rather more persistant in law.  When the environment
changes, legislatures and courts tend to be more willing to grant a
remedy to someone when their "rights" become vulnerable, than when the
balance of "power" turns against them.


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