Archive for the ‘Law’ Tag

I Make My Own Choices, Or Do I

Benjamin LibetOver 25 years ago neuroscientist Benjamin Libet said he had proved through a series of experiments that free will did not exist. He seemed to have discovered that the brain unconsciously decides for us which choice we make before we know ourselves. It would seem our brains were the masters of our consciousness.

Now, however, another group of scientists have questioned this conclusion as they have been unable to find any evidence of subconscious decision-making. We may be fully in control of our own decisions after all; free will exists.

The moral code by which society has developed relies on the assumption we are all responsible for our own actions, we all have free will. To suggest otherwise would give miscreants an excuse to blame their actions on a subconscious part over which their conscience self has no influence. This would pose an interesting defence in court if the lack of free will were to be proved conclusively.

Boiling Frogs and Lost Freedoms

In response to the Committee on Un-American activities, the actor Gregory Peck said:

‘There is more than one way to loose your liberty, it can be torn out of your hands by a tyrant, but it can also slip away day by day while your too busy to notice, or too confused, or too scared’.

As has been pointed out by many pundits, it’s happening here today. Slowly but surely we are seeing our civil rights eroded and many of our freedoms being turned into criminal acts. It started with Tony Blair and the introduction of the all encompassing laws aimed at fighting terrorism that also served to give the police powers more usually found in dictatorships and countries run by military juntas. Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties), called Tony Blair a champion frog boiler for the way he had slowly changed the law to restrict our freedoms without anyone jumping up and objecting.

At the 2005 Labour Party conference 82 year-old Walter Wolfgang was ejected from the hall after shouting “nonsense” at Foreign Secretary Jack Straw . He was later prevented from re-entering the conference by the police under the powers of the Terrorism Act. Many examples of the misuse of the act can be seen here ‘Innocence is no protection against the government’s laws’. Dame Stella Rimington, former head of MI5 recently accused the government of exploiting the fear of terrorism by bring in laws that restrict civil liberties.

On 28 Feb 2009 The Convention on Modern Liberty was held at various locations around the country. Unfortunately, the proceedings have received very little coverage in the media. Until something major grabs the public’s attention the frog boiling will continue and we will all find our freedoms curtailed to a degree that may even prevent us regaining what we have lost.