Where will we get if we all insist on our rights?

Challenges to the idea that panocracy can work
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John Talbut
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:07 pm
Location: Alvechurch, UK

Where will we get if we all insist on our rights?

Post by John Talbut »

"I have the right to handle any situation in the way that I choose".

In a way this is just a statement of fact, if I make my own choices there is nothing anyone can do to stop me. They can, of course, make their choices about how to respond to what I do and what they do then presents me with new situations. So if others decide that something I choose to do is against the law then they can choose to apply a range of legal processes to me.

However, it is all about choice - we do not have to obey the law, we choose whether to or not. If, say, I choose to steal something from a shop and the shopkeeper catches me they have a range of choices including ignoring me, reprimanding me, calling the police or suing me. If they call them, the police can choose to arrest me, charge me, caution me and so on. Nothing is automatic in human behaviour, we do not cause people to behave in particular ways.

An aspect of Non Violent Direct Action is that people make a conscious choice to do something that may be illegal. Many people find that their experience of doing so is very empowering - they learn that they are free to make such choices.

Of course I can choose to kill someone and I know that. The upshot of this is that I am a pacifist. This is wu wei (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei). The converse is that many people who do kill others know that it is "wrong", but that is someone else's stricture and not a position that they have come to themselves.

Another aspect of this is responsibility, just as I can choose what to do I am also responsible for what I do. No-one makes me do anything and I am not responsible for what other people do. The two go together, if I recognise my right to choose I also accept responsibility for those choices, and that affects the choices I make.

In a panocratic society it is the exercise of choice that means that government has to be by consent, otherwise laws will simply be ignored. On the other hand this is not a recipe for chaos since most people are unlikely to see chaos as useful most of the time. So by the same token as people may decide not to do things that they see as being unreasonable they will also accede to things that they disagree with as long as they feel that the decisions were made reasonably.

An important learning about this came for me from years of teaching assertiveness. What I discovered was that the more people genuinely put themselves first the more loving and co-operative became their relationships with others. Obvious when I think about it, I need good relationships with others. They are improved when I know that what I do with others I am doing for me and not messing things up by thinking I am doing things for others or worse that they are responsible for what I am doing.

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