"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.… where the State places those who are not with her, but against her,– the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.… Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible." ~ Henry David Thoreau (1849)
Peter Ludlow recently wrote a NYT piece on civil disobedience in the digital age in which he touched on the cases of Aaron Swartz, Jeremy Hammond, Bradley/Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden. Agree with them or not, these individuals sacrificed their lives for what they deemed to be a greater common good.
However many supporters of these individuals seem to believe they deserve some sort of immunity from their crimes because they were either entrapped and/or exposing larger malfeasance by government and corporate institutions.
Should these whistle blowers be prosecuted to the full extent of the law? Should they be acquitted of their crimes because they help the greater good?
On Monday night I was blessed to be joined on my podcast by the lovely Plussone as we engaged in a stimulating discussion about "civil disobedience". We touched on Manning, Hammond and other cases where activists who have attempted to expose larger crimes than their own through non-violent illegal tactics.
We were also joined live on air by Technological Viking and Anticrisis73.
Catch the replay here or download mp3 of show directly here or subscribe to iTunes