|Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 99):
Your contention appears to be that our consciences should somehow limit our dissent because dissent is bad for the State entity, and that we, as good and ethical establishment units, should recoil from doing harm to the State entity, since it exists only for our good. I
Close, but not quite. In fact, dissent can be good for the state entity, but it can also be quite bad. And, the importance of it is in the consideration of when dissent is truly justified on the firmest of philosphical underpinnings.
I'm saying, on this score, that if national unity is imperiled, and if in particular, the lives of other Americans are imperiled, then there are two important things, among others, that one should consider:
a. Whether one's aims are worth the risk to national unity and therefore the harm to the mechanism through which liberty (ordered freedom) is protected; and,
b. Whether putting lives at risk is, in the extrapolitical, pre-establishmentarian sense (i.e., in the state of existence prior to the establishment of government), something that one can justify.
Further, dissenters should not pretend that their aims cannot sometimes, in fact, put others' welfare and lives at greater risk. They should understand and freely admit that, if a cause of sufficient merit meets their personal approval, they will stand for putting Americans' lives and safety at greater risk, for what they perceive as the greater good that they espouse. (In this they may be right to so espouse, or they may be wrong, but at any rate, the honest admission would be there.)
This is something of the obverse, though not precisely so, of the decisions that policy-makers make, which often place American lives at risk.
Quite often, the justification, which I venture can be illusory in some cases, is made by peace activists that their position is by its nature better because it's less prone to result in harm. In my originating article, my hypothetical deprived dissenters of that justification to the extent that any scientific poll could do so, and asked the reader to consider how it might affect the underpinnings of dissent. The aim was to cut away all the frills that dissenters put on their ideologies, all of which pay lip service to safety, nonviolence, and so forth, but some -- not all, but some -- of which they may actually hold regardless of whether, to their knowledge, they will accept the probability of greater harm to Americans because, in their view, it's still a better alternative than the policy they protest.
[Edited 2006-10-18 23:41:24]