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That's why the issue is contentious. Was the government of South Africa justified in taking special deterrence measures to deter Nelson Mandela from pursuing his anti-democratic efforts to unlawfully oppose the government? This is absolutely crazy talk. The fetishization of democracy cannot be allowed to undermine principled opposition to bugs found in its operation. I agree with Kerr that civil disobedience merits punishment -- that's kind of the point. But he's completely wrong about prosecutorial discretion. It's completely correct that the prosecutorial indiscretion of treating civil disobedience as if it were traitorous to democracy is a political act, and should be answered by political means.

An "Al Capone" approach would be more like some of the actions of Anonymous -- performing security penetrations to collect, say, secret government or corporate data and then publishing it. Accessing publicly-funded research or public-domain documents and making them available is much more Rosa Parks.




Since at the time the majority of people in South Africa were not allowed to vote, you could hardly call it a democracy.

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The majority of people in ancient Greece couldn't vote either but they definitely had a democracy.

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True, but you cannot use Nelson Mandela as an example of someone protesting from within a democracy. (Equally, you could not use a Greek slave either).

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