All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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By Zenon Panoussis
The NOTs follow in separate postings. My posting them demands an explanation.
In most western cultures, including the one I live in, legislation is seen as a codification of generally accepted moral values; not as the rectifier of the moral values themselves. Democracy, along with the main human rights, is accepted as one of the highest of these values and most other values are considered subordinate to it. Therefore, it follows logically, it is acceptable and even honourable to break secondary rules, if the aim is to preserve or restore primary ones. This idea is best illustrated by the fact that those who oppose foreign occupation or domestic repressive regimes are always criminals under the legislation that they revolt against, but are seldom seen as criminals in a moral or historical perspective.
I admit and honour the right to property, including the right to intellectual property. Therefore, in general, I would say that copyright laws reflect a moral value that is widespread, that I share, and the enforcement of which is in accordance with the principles of democracy.
The right to property includes also people's right to their money. Fraud and extortion are criminal offences because they violate that right.
The right of expression is another basic right that I believe in and that is generally accepted. The right of expression is not a democratic right, in the sense that it doesn't need democracy to exist. On the contrary, democracy needs the right of expression for its own existence. The right of expression is a right that is not given, but taken, by force if necessary, more or less as the right to life.
In the case of scientology ideas, there is no conflict between any of these rights. In a democratic society there is freedom of belief and of expession and there is protection of intellectual and material property. Thus, the CoS should be allowed to propagate its ideas and sell its books without interference, even if both the ideas and the books that spread them are utterly moronic.
There is though a conflict of rights in the case of scientology practices. In my opinion, the CoS violates the right to property by extracting money from people through deceit and the exercise of psychological coercion (among other questionable methods). It then abuses the right to intellectual property in order to stifle its opponents' right of expression, the exercise of which could provide some protection against that deceit and psychological coercion. Thus, the CoS abuses its right to intellectual property in order to be able to violate others' right to their material property. In short, the CoS uses such institutions of democracy as law and law enforcement bodies in order to undermine central values of democracy and democracy itself.
In these ways the CoS makes a perfect parallel of itself to fascist movements, and poses the same dilemma to democracy: meeting such threats with democratic methods is inefficient and meeting them with their own methods is in itself undermining and limiting democracy.
This sort of dilemma can only be solved by grading the values and defending the most precious ones at the cost of the less important ones. Personally I place the right to intellectual property below the rights to personal freedom and material property. If exercising the right of expression in a given situation can save the rights to personal freedom and material property at the cost of the right to intellectual property, then I think the choice is clear.
Through this reasoning I find myself morally entitled to break the law and violate whatever copyrights there may be by publishing the NOTs in the interests of democracy and of all presumptive CoS victims.
With regard to Verlon's posting and the subsequent cancelling of that posting, I find this moment very opportune for my posting. I don't think that a posting here or there will force the CoS to change its practices, but wide publicity on CoS and its methods in general will. I am doing my part in creating that publicity but, I regret to say, all my attempts until now to attract a lawsuit from the CoS have failed. Well, it's decision time now. If the CoS steps against me, some of the desired publicity will be created. If the CoS does not step against me, others will interpret the fact to the effect that the CoS is giving up its fight against the publication of its material, and will publish more of that material. Either way the good guys win.
Finally I have to state that I have done all the above reasoning under the presumption that the CoS might have a copyright to the NOTs, but that I regard such copyright only as a possibility; not as a fact.