Posted: April 28th, 2008 by Militant Libertarian
by Daniel Newby
The Helmsman Society (http://www.helmsmansociety.com/Issues/2008/flds042508.htm)
Cause for Celebration?
According to many public figures, Americans have reason to celebrate. On April 18, 2008, Texas judge, Barbara Walther, single-handedly decreed that 416 children of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) community would forcibly remain in state custody. This followed the recent, high profile raid of an FLDS religious center, involving numerous gun-toting, black-garbed government agents.
For an education into the prevalent mindset, pay attention to the debate surrounding this story. You will encounter those who believe that the FLDS community is a Mormon-ish, polygamist sect of freaks and weirdoes who must have been sexually abusing young girls. You will hear applause for the actions of the government. And you will read the opinion, perhaps in a roundabout way, that these parents had it coming for choosing to live in that kind of an environment.
One Court Dictator Equals Justice
As you observe, note how many people pause to wonder why a single judge holds so much power over the lives of these people. Is anyone aware that, in nearly every state, accused parents of child abuse or neglect are never permitted a trial by jury? Do debaters even know what a jury trial is, or why it might be useful?
Sadly, many people, particularly those addicted to the world of “reality-television,” think it’s entertaining to watch a single, all-powerful, cranky judge lord over the miserable characters in his/her courtroom. For instance, the other day a co-worker of mine wondered aloud why we have nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices? In all seriousness, he declared that one person would be so much more efficient.
He is not alone in his ignorance. Most would be hard-pressed to define “due process,” let alone explain how a jury trial of one’s peers might be superior to a kangaroo court.
Not surprisingly, our judicial system reflects our collective views. In America today, a released violent felon can receive a new trial by a jury of his peers for stealing a television set. But innocent parents can have their children forever removed from them by the dictatorial decree of one person.
The FLDS community in Texas learned this the hard way, as the future of each family member lay in the hands of judge Barbara Walther. No defense, plea for sympathy, or mediator could compete with her absolute authority.
We have lethargically abandoned our own Declaration of Independence, which outlined the reasons why the American colonies were justified in breaking away from England. In it, we accused King George III of “…depriving us in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury.”
Our forefathers literally went to war against the courts of injustice established by a noxious king. Yet we have willingly established courts that might have given King George pause.
Note: For more information on the importance of empowered juries, see “Issue in Focus: Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?” by Accountability Utah.
While we progress technologically, our understanding of due process has de-evolved to the Dark Ages. Even the English Magna Carta, enacted in 1215, was a step above the nonsense we inanely applaud:
“…No freeman shall be taken or disseised of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; and we will not pass sentence upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers; or by the laws of the land.”
Source: “Issue in Focus: Why Are Jury Trials Crucial to Your Freedom?” by Accountability Utah.
In contrast, due process has come to mean whatever procedures the government thinks you deserve. The quicker and harsher, the better.
The Government Knows Best
To comprehend how we came to this sorry condition, we must first realize that this mass ignorance of due process is symptomatic of an underlying disease: Too many people blindly worship the government, and those who proclaim themselves our “authorities.” Whereas government was once viewed as an agreement between sovereign individuals, it has now metamorphosed into a living, breathing, holy entity that takes precedence over justice and over human beings.
This idolatry has rendered the masses too giddy and foolish to think critically. Were they conscious, they might ask a few questions, including:
*Did government agents have the right, or the necessary evidence, to invade the FLDS facility in the manner that they did?
*Were they just to forcibly remove and displace all these people?
*Who will hold these government agents accountable if they used excessive force?
Such details hardly concern most citizens, because they adore their overlords, and trust them to be fair and just — despite the ample evidence that power corrupts.
And what else can we expect from the millions of people currently receiving government handouts, the millions more who have surrendered the education of their children to government schools, or the vast majority who support this enormous welfare state? From cradle to grave, they mindlessly suckle at the teat of dependency; waiting with baited breath for others to tell them what they can think, read, and say, and for the very bread on their tables.
If You’re Different, You Deserve Whatever We Do to You
Groveling has become part of our genetic and social make-up, which we mask under the pretense of “politeness” and “civility” — sophisticated terms for neutered cowardice. There is nothing polite or civil about the amount of force this government frequently employs against individuals. These indiscretions are easily overlooked. But heaven help those who resist or protest too loudly!
We narrowly look down our noses at anyone and anything that counters our dependent village mentality. If it attempts to be independent, it must be squashed. And if we can get someone in a black uniform to do the dirty work, so much the better.
Fairness, justice, and due process have become fussy, archaic, and inefficient. We are now blissfully content to judge human beings by whether they are sufficiently sexy in front of cameras, how fully they conform to our norms, and if they can make us feel cozy in our comfort zones. What a tragic end to a justice system that once revolved around the idea that people must be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty (again through substantive, meaningful due process)!
It is easy to grant due process and humane treatment to people we like. The real test of a civil society, however, is to grant due process to people we don’t like — the unpopular people who promise little or nothing in return.
Conclusion: Time to Put Justice First
Perhaps some, or all, adults in this FLDS community were sexually abusing young children and should lose their parental rights. We’ll never know much for certain, however, because too many of us are content to deny justice to both the accused and the alleged victims.
As a result of our treatment of the FLDS people, none of us is free. We can have no confidence that this government or society will render justice to us in our own time of need. At the mere whim of some career bureaucrat, our loved ones and liberties can likewise be violently torn from us. We can have no realistic expectation that we will be treated justly, fairly, or objectively, or that we will receive anything but callous contempt from a complicit media and general public.
Without such basic assurances of receiving justice, we are no better off than our forefathers were under the British Crown. We have merely traded one tyrant in England for many tyrants who masquerade as our neighbors.
Fortunately, we owe neither a king, nor a mob, our obedience and allegiance. For our rights do not emanate from individuals, groups, statutes, or parchments. They are entwined with the Universe itself and stand fixed and immutable; requiring no one’s approval or permission to exist, or to be exercised.
It is time to appreciate these gifts. We can express our appreciation by reserving our loyalty for the unyielding principles of justice and accountability, by demanding justice for those around us, and by working — openly and privately — against those who are unjust.
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
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