Is it time we started to question what we believe what justice is and how it should be administered? Is it time we began the process of removing the influence of the parliaments from the systems of justice? Is it time we began to consider what it is we are aiming to achieve through our judicial system?
We are all taught, or more simply, we are all lead to believe that in Australia we have a separation of powers, that no single arm of government holds all the power. That perhaps is a lie, or at the very least a half-truth, a means by which the general public is kept at ease by the powers that be.
The truth is, a government can do in many instances whatever it wants, as long as it has the needed majorities to pass legislation and a team of well-read lawyers who can craft that legislation so that it does not significantly offend the vagaries of constitutional restraint. You can be jailed for refusing to answer questions, you can be jailed for giving dishonest answers, you can even be jailed for telling people you were required to give answers to certain governmental bodies. We now have laws which reverse the centuries old and accepted norm that it is the state that has to prove its case, not the accused having to prove other-wise, this extends from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in various areas of law, perhaps none so prominent than in law dealing with organised crime.
You can be subject to covert searches of your residence, place of work and generally anywhere you’re likely to be or anywhere any likely associate of yours is likely to be. Imagine that, the police may enter your home whilst neither you nor your legal representative is there to over-see the search, with little to no protection from police officers with nefarious intent.
Certainly, we must have a strong and robust means by which to seek out those who do society harm and ensure that they are suitably punished, but, at what point does enforcing the law become oppressive and authoritarian? At what point do we declare the pursuit of justice persecutory by means and effect?
If we work on the principle that in order to make an omelette some eggs need to be broken that may be acceptable, but what if we’re trying to protect the eggs? Or even the omelette?
If we accept that we are for all intents and purposes sovereign citizens that have rights to assert that sovereignty then why are people so willing to accept the powers that be eroding that sovereignty one law at a time? At what point to we point to the failures of our founding constitutional document to limit the powers of government and demand that it be changed to best reflect the afore-mentioned sovereignty of the citizen? If we continuously allow the government of the day to alter the norms of justice in order in pursuit of their agenda of the day then we can only hold ourselves to blame when the government of the day takes that one step too far. And when that happens, as it will, there will be little the once sovereign citizen can do to as the legal engine any government needs to stop the citizen seeking recourse has already been set into motion. This leaves the citizen one singular recourse, the one act that no-one dares speak of and won’t be mentioned here.
At that point who is just in their actions? Is it those who are enforcing the law and the status quo that we have consented to or those who resist the injustice of that status quo? This is why critiquing justice itself becomes necessary, and why ensuring that we do not lose sight of what is just in order to provide ourselves with the illusion of safety is even more important.
Which brings me to this, at what point do we limit justice and the pursuit there-of? At what point do we say the ends justify the means? Can we be sure that we haven’t unevenly weighted the scales of justice, so that what we may believe to be just is merely an ideological perversion masquerading as justice?
Have we become fearful of moral righteousness to such a degree that we lack both the intellectual capacity and the courage to make justice an absolute? Have we as sovereign citizens capitulated to the state and the ideologies of the powers that be without a fight? Have we come to accept the foolish notion that the powers that be may know more than the citizen and have some right to impose their ideas of moral right without requiring our consent? Is that just, and do we the collective citizen care?
Death, the forfeiture of blood is the ultimate act of just punishment, yet we shy from its mere mention, why? We have even come to shy away from imprisonment, so much so we have passed laws dictating to judges that they must refrain from resorting to that form of punishment. How can that be just? Does that not alter the scales of justice? Is that not the an erosion of the separation of powers, a sign of the growing power of one singular arm of government, something we’ve all been conditioned to fear and resist? Have we failed in our understanding of history, the lessons regarding the growing powers of states over their citizens? Have we forgotten justice in order to pursue illusionary, contradictory and often ideologically driven rights demanded by the self-declared arbiters of social ethic?
How can a society declare that it is mature enough to decide which of its children should live and which should die on one hand, yet claim on the other that it has no right to decide which of its criminal class live, and which die? Such a shallow understanding of justice and right has polluted our ethic as a society, how else can we allow those who abuse our children roam free yet imprison those who have the audacity to question that logic? Justice is no absolute, such absolutes exist in logic, and the application of justice, if something is wrong for one, it then becomes wrong for all. Yet as a collective group of citizens we champion those with whom we agree even when they do wrong and chastise those with whom we disagree even when they’re right. This tribalism has come to cloud what we believe to be just and right because those things aren’t as important as winning, and when justice is left to the side that is winning, how can the interests of justice be served?
If we allow the elected to dictate to the learned what justice is and how it should be applied, if we allow the centralisation of arbitrary authority to rest with the state, if we trade our rights for security with the state, if we allow the bargaining of liberties for votes, it is not only justice that becomes lost, so does democracy and we will find ourselves in the hands of tyrants by our own choosing.