Treason, and traitor are words I’ve seen bandied about a lot of late, especially with regards to anyone in the UK who remains in favour of the EU (about half of us, if not more). Treason is an interesting concept that could use a more careful look.
Historically, treason is a feudal concept. Treason is the betrayal of your monarch, and by extension, your country. It comes from rebelling against the monarchy, and it is easily used to get rid of people the monarch doesn’t like. Anne Boleyn was executed for treasonous adultery, for example. As it’s a punishment primarily affecting power hungry nobles, and thus also potentially benefiting other power hungry nobles, it’s not been greatly challenged in history. And of course challenging the notion of treason would bring you dangerously close to being treasonous.
Rather revealingly, there’s also a thing called ‘petty treason’. This is the crime of…
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