Why are they Protesting? I ask. Surely they will all catch Covid, I say. They are not Socially Distancing, I say.
That is All True, says the Owner, but that does not make it Wrong. It is Right to Protest when what has happened is beyond Terrible, says the Owner.
Surely they should stay Home and Protest on Zoom, I say. They could also have Cocktails, I say.
The Point about Protest is to Disrupt, to Draw Attention, to Demand, and to Declare, says the Owner. Protest is a sign of Passion and a Cry for Change, says the Owner. There are times when Zoom is Not Enough. Even with Cocktails.
But it is against the Law, I say. How can you be in favour of those who do not Socially Distance? I say. You are a Doctor, I say.
The Moral Dog is right to question such an approach, says the Owner. One has to think hard about the Balance in Such a Situation. We must Socially Distance for the Sake of Humanity. But sometimes we must also Protest for the Sake of Humanity. Does the Moral Dog not think that Civil Disobedience may sometimes be morally justified even if it risks the well-being of others?
What is the difference between Civil Disobedience and Breaking the Law? I ask. I am wondering if we can use the Owner’s answer to rescue Houdini the next time they catch him with the Hoop and take him to the Pound.
Thoreau coined the term Civil Disobedience to describe his refusal to pay a tax implemented by the government to fund a war and to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law, says the Owner. He observed that patriots and reformers may serve society by resisting and even disrupting it. They may therefore break the Law because their Moral Consciences demand this of them, despite the Risks it may entail. They may therefore protest against the State because the State itself is Unjust.
And this may even Outweigh the risks of Covid? I ask.
If the Injustice is Great Enough, says the Owner, then one of the further Harms of Covid could otherwise be that it Prevents Protest. The Right to make Moral Judgements is not Lost with Covid. The Balance is for us Each to Decide. With our Consciences. With our Hearts.
So you are suggesting, I say, that in the fact of Institutionalised Oppression One is justified in taking Action in Breach of the Law on the basis of Conscience ? I am remembering the Absolute Denial of Cheese to the Moral Dog for a period of Three Whole Months on the Vague and Unjust Hypothesis of Food Intolerance, I add for Clarity. I seem to recall that the Moral Dog’s Cheese Liberation Actions were not Regarded Kindly, I say. The words Bad and Dog were used with almost Casual Abandon, I say.
One Cannot Justify breaking Laws or Rules for One’s own personal gain at the Expense of Others, says the Owner. The Moral Dog’s attempt to break into the Ocado van would be One Such Example. The enjoyable Durham-based Excursions of Dominic Cummings would be Another. The Interests promoted must be those of the community, typically the broad principles on which we All Agree such as Freedoms, Rights, Equality and Justice.
So, I say, a further attempt to Liberate the Cheese might not be Morally Justified but rescuing Houdini from State Oppression because he was striking a Blow for Equality and Freedom would not result in Cheese Withdrawal were the Owner, as a consequence, to have to retrieve the Moral Dog from the Pound as well?
It would depend whether Houdini’s excursion related to his role as the Hero of Highgate or to his reputation as the Casanova of Camden, says the Owner. But you are Right. Freedom and Equality are sometimes worth fighting for, even if that means Defying the State. Martin Luther King said ‘Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.’
Wow, I say. Can I borrow your pen? I say.
What are you doing now? Asks the Owner.
I am writing that down, I say. We may Need to Use it Later.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.