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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912

Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.49 no.1 Pretoria  2009

 

Vryheid van spraak en die "etiese aktiwiteit van denke"

 

Freedom of speech and the "ethical activity of thinking"

 

 

Karin van Marle

Departement Regsgeskiedenis, Regsvergelyking en Regsfilosofie, Universiteit van Pretoria, Pretoria. Karin.VanMarle@up.ac.za

 

 


OPSOMMING

In hierdie artikel argumenteer die skrywer in navolging van Hannah Arendt dat denke sentraal moet wees in besinning oor vryheid van spraak. Denke is vir Arendt onlosmaaklik gekoppel aan 'n aktiewe politieke sfeer en demokratiese politiek. Die afwesigheid van denke daarteenoor staan sentraal tot totalitarisme. Die skrywer fokus op die beperktheid van liberale regsbenaderings om bevredigend vryheid van spraak te hanteer.
Eerstens word die bemoeienis van die reg met billikheid, legitimiteit, funksionalisme en ekonomiese wins in plaas van met etiese denke en geregtigheid uitgewys. Daarna word Wesley Newcombe Hohfeld se argument oor die onbepaalbaarheid van regte soos uiteengesit deur Joseph Singer bespreek. Derdens word Jacques Derrida se dekonstruktiewe siening van geregtigheid as aporia voorgehou. Laastens pas die skrywer Derrida se siening van outo-immuniteit/selfvernietiging toe op die reg en spesifiek vryheid van spraak.
Die skrywer voer aan dat denke - en nie resepmatige toepassing van geykte reels, dogma of jargon nie - bepalend moet wees in regulering van vryheid van spraak. Sy sluit af met verwysing na Jaco Barnard se toepassing van Arendt se aandrang op die verband tussen denke en demokratiese politiek op die aanvaarding van wetgewing oor eendersgeslagtelike huwelike in Suid-Afrika, wat oortuigend aantoon hoe gedagtelose optrede totalitêre politiek toelaat.

Trefwoorde: Hannah Arendt, banaliteit van boosheid ('banality of evil'), Jaco Barnard, demokratiese politiek, denke, Jacques Derrida, eendersgeslagtelike huwelike, geregtigheid, Wesley Newcombe Hohfeldt, Njabulo Ndebele, onbepaalbaarheid van regte, outo-immuniteit, Joseph Singer, totalitarisme


ABSTRACT

In this article, following the work of Hannah Arendt, the author argues that thought should be placed at the centre of the reflection on freedom of speech. For Arendt thinking is a necessary condition for the existence of an active political sphere and democratic politics. The absence of thought on the other hand is central to totalitarianism. Arendt, reflecting on the trial of Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichman, noted how the absence of any activity of thinking and the rigid following of rules and cliches resulted in evil - what she calls the banality of evil.
The author focuses on the limits of liberal legal approaches to respond adequately to the issue of freedom of expression, mainly because of the absence of thought and the preference for predictable applications of rules and interpretations of rights in these approaches. Firstly, the author exposes the law's preoccupation with fairness, legitimacy, functionalism and economic benefit to the detriment of ethical thought and justice. Thereafter, the author recalls the argument by Wesley Newcombe Hohfeld related to the indeterminacy of rights, as discussed by Joseph Singer. Hohfeld made a radical intervention in traditional liberal legal assumptions by formulating the category of no-right, thereby exposing the situations in which an individual, although she suffered damage, will have no recourse in law. In the context of freedom of speech the category of no-right and the reality of damage without recourse in law can play out in many ways - someone could suffer damage because of speech without recourse to law or someone's right to speech could be infringed without recourse to law. Thirdly, Jacgues Derrida's deconstructive notion of justice as aporia is discussed to link up with the urgency of thought and judgement in the face of instrumental rule-following. Finally the author considers the application of Derrida's notion of auto-immunity/ self-destruction to the law and particularly to the right to freedom of expression. If the legal right to freedom of speech has the tendency to self destruct each attempt to protect one kind of speech would always already also have destructed and prevented that same speech.
The author argues that thought should guide the allowance and limitation of freedom of speech and not a predictable application of rules, dogma and jargon. She concludes with reference to an application of Arendt's insistence on the link between the activity of thinking and democratic politics within the context of the politics that surrounded the proposed legislation on same sex marriages, citing in this regard Jaco Barnard's recent work, which persuasively shows how thoughtless behaviour allowed moments of a totalitarian politics.

Key words: Hannah Arendt, auto-immunity, banality of evil, Jaco Barnard, democratic politics, Jacques Derrida, Wesley Newcombe Hohfeldt, indeterminacy of rights, justice, Njabulo Ndebele, Joseph Singer, same-sex marriage, thought, totalitarianism


 

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BIBLIOGRAFIE

Arendt, H. 1958. The human condition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.         [ Links ]

Arendt, H. 1963. Eichman in Jerusalem. A report on the banality of evil. New York: Penguin Books.         [ Links ]

Arendt, H. 1966. The origins of totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.         [ Links ]

Arendt, H. 1971. The life of the mind. San Diego: Harcourt Inc        [ Links ]

Barnard-Naude, J. 2007. Totalitarianism, (same-sex) marriage and democratic politics in post-apartheid South Africa. South African Journal in Human Rights 22(3): 500-525.         [ Links ]

Berkowitz, R. 2005. The gift of science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Cornell, D. 1992. The philosophy of the limit. New York: Routledge.         [ Links ]

Derrida, J. 1990. Force of law: The mystical foundations of authority. Cardozo Law Review 11: 919-1045.         [ Links ]

Derrida, J. 1997. The politics of friendship. London: Verso.         [ Links ]

Derrida, J. 2005. Rogues. Two essays on reason. Stanford: Stanford University Press.         [ Links ]

Ndebele, N. 2003. The cry of Winnie Mandela. Claremont: David Philip.         [ Links ]

Ndebele, N. 2007. Fine lines from the box. Further thoughts about our country. Roggebaai: Umuzi.         [ Links ]

Nelson, D. 2006. The virtue of heartlessness: Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt and the anesthetics of empathy. American Literary History 18(1): 86-101.         [ Links ]

Singer, J. 1982. The legal rights debate in analytical jurisprudence from Bentham to Hohfeld. Wisconsin Law Review 1-65.         [ Links ]

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Van Marle, K. 1999. Towards an ethical interpretation of equality. Unpublished LLD thesis, Unisa.         [ Links ]

Van Marle, K. 2008. In Hunter (ed) Rethinking equality projects in law: Feminist perspectives. London: Hart.         [ Links ]

Waldron, J. 2007. What would Hannah say. The New York Review of Books, 54(4): 10-12.         [ Links ]

 

 

Karin van Marle is 'n professor in die Departement Regsgeskiedenis, Regsvergelyking en Regsfilosofie, Fakulteit Regte, Universiteit van Pretoria waar sy klasgee in Regsfilosofie en verbandhoudende vakke op voorgraadse en nagraadse vlak. Sy is die sameroeper van 'n LLM program in Reg en Politieke Geregtigheid. Met die skryf van hierdie artikel was sy 'n navor-singsgenoot aan die Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). Haar navorsing fokus op kritiese teorie, feministiese teorie en die ontwikkeling van 'n post-apartheid jurisprudensie. Jongste publikasies sluit in 'n geredigeerde volume, Sex, gender, becoming. Post-apartheid reflections (2005), twee geredigeerde volumes saam met Wessel le Roux as mede-redakteur: Law, memory and the legacy of apartheid: Ten years after AZAPO v President of South Africa (2007) en Post-apartheid fragments. Law, politics & critique (2007) en 'n artikel 'The spectacle of post-apartheid constitutionalism' in die Griffiths Law Review (2007).

Karin van Marle is a professor in the Department of Legal History, Comparative Law and Legal Philosophy, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria where she teaches Jurisprudence and related subjects on graduate and post-graduate level. She is the convener of a LLM programme in Law and Political Justice. At the time of writing this article she was a research fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). Her research is focused on critical theory, feminist theory and the development of a post-apartheid jurisprudence. Latest publications include an edited volume, Sex, gender, becoming. Post-apartheid reflections (2005), two co-edited volumes with Wessel le Roux, namely Law, memory and the legacy of apartheid: Ten years after AZAPO v President of South Africa (2007) and Post-apartheid fragments. Law, politics & critique (2007) and an article, "The spectacle of post-apartheid constitutionalism" in the Griffiths Law Review (2007).

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