Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Pro-Slavery Activist Gets Free Ride

The BBC's political bias is proverbial, but equally annoying is the ubiquitous cultural bias, the unthinking regurgitation of the attitudes and prejudices of north London as though they constituted the laws of physics. As far as this form of bias goes, there is no greater exemplar than Jeremy Vine's eponymous show on Radio Two. Five days a week, poor, dumb country bumpkins from small villages such as Leeds and Glasgow have the chance to learn from their betters how to make their hamlets every bit as civilised as Islington.

Take Friday for example: there was a debate on jury service. On one side there was a barrister who, staggeringly enough, thought that allowing him and his fellow cultural Marxoids the right to seize formerly free citizens and coerce them into to taking part in bizarre State worship ceremonials was just ducky. On the other side was…. Well, no one actually. Then again, to judge by Jeremy Vine's opening comments, there was nothing worth discussing after all. Apparently, jury service is 'our most important civic duty'. Also, forced labour in the service of the State is a 'vital role'.

Given that opening, you may wonder what they managed to talk about for nearly a hour. Indeed, even Auntie appears to recognised the essential difficulty in holding a debate where all the main points are ruled off limits. While occasional comments from actual, real citizens were allowed into the bubble, the main momentum to the piece was provided by - I kid thee not - an actress reading out what opponents of forced labour might say. Needless to say, a convention of scarecrows features less straw men, but that wasn't the worst part of it. Nope - what really grated was that each straw man was introduced by means of the actress saying 'Why do I have to do jury service [when I might get abducted by killer dwarfs or some such nonsense] ? in such a whiny, teenage brat kind of voice as to suggest that those of us opposed to slavery were only against it because we think that forced adoration of the State is, y'know, kind of a drag, and like we were hoping to go and get our nails done, and it's soooooo boring, dude…… That there is a moral case against the right of the State to seize individuals and force them to take part in ceremonial worship of its own power is apparently inconceivable at the Beeb.

The Beeb might not have allowed dissenting voices, but at least Jegsy was prepared to go for the throat with questions such as 'do you think it is a good system or is it a little cumbersome' ? Can you imagine a Conservative getting that kind of question ? Scratch that - can you imagine an adult getting that question ? Nevertheless, under the pressure of no opposition at all, our barrister friend still managed to collapse into a heap of absurdities.

We were told that the jury system was the 'last protection against an authoritarian state'. Really ? Does Cromwell know that ? To say nothing of Ghandi and George Washington.

Also, forced labour is justifiable because it's important to have a complete 'cross-section of society'. As it happens, in 1987 Lady T won by a landslide. What proportion of judges voted for her ? The legal establishment ain't saying. Apparently, the need for a complete cross-section justifies slavery, but there's no need to go as far as hiring anybody to the right of Tony Blair.

But surely some people just aren't suited for the job ? Ah yes, but a 'jury is often greater than the sum of its parts'. But if that's true of a group of twelve, how much more so for a group of forty million, so how come the legal profession isn't clamouring for more democratic oversight ? How about confirmation hearings for High Court judges, mandatory sentences and the like ? Hey - it would mark a great improvement if these people could just stop with their whining every time the press exposes their latest insane decision. Apparently, random people seized off the street is a fine way to staff a jury, but laws passed by the democratically elected tribunes of the people are mere suggestions. There is no greater proof of the ineffectual nature of the jury system than that this bunch of elitist snobs support it.

The essential snobbery of these people was shown by the truly Antoinettesque approach of said barrister to the question of people who simply can't take time off to take part in their little pantomimes. A dental technician phoned in, he was part of a two man practice that would be unable to operate while he was being forced to attend these stupid ceremonies. Of course, he and his partner would not earn any money during this time - that's bad. Equally, the public would be deprived of the services of a vitally needed dentist - or to put it another way, people in pain were being refused treatment merely to satisfy the megalomania and arrogance of our legal system. Ratboy's answer to that was to claim the victim could apply to defer his service so he could do jury service instead of taking a holiday - the sort of suggestion which when uttered by a CEO to an employee usually results in one of ratboy's colleagues ramming in a £10 million lawsuit. Another listener pointed out that her husband had been forced into bankruptcy by being enslaved by the State. The barrister in question responded that this was 'a tough one' - you are invited to consider the media reaction if a Conservative MP had come out with something so blindingly insensitive.

As ever, the S-Switch was in full operation - the deliberate confusion of the State with society, such that anything which the State needs - or claims to - is by definition good for society at large. History suggests the opposite is more likely to be true. Then again, what can be said about people who can state without any apparent shame that jury service is the 'most important civic duty'. For these people, the Battle of Britain was kind of important, but only in the sense that it offered opportunities for suing on behalf of Luftwaffe pilots shot down without due process.

Then again, let's take these fiends at their word. They claim forced labour is the price of a free society - much as chain smoking is the price of health. Let's go the whole way and adopt the Starship Troopers model: two years military service as the price of citizenship. After all that pious rambling about 'our (ie other peoples) duty to society', doubtless the lawyers will be first into the recruiting office, no ? Or at least, given that lawyers find nothing strange even in members of our volunteer military suddenly claiming to be pacifists when the shooting starts, allow those of us who think the courts need reforming with a flame-thrower to register for our own form of conscientious objector status.

The reason why these people feel the need to babble on about 'service' - even while bending over backwards to shaft those who really do serve - is to distract from the threadbare nature of the arguments for jury service. Hypocritical moralising drivel aside, there are really only two excuses for it. One is the belief that a representative sample of slaves will serve better than a group made up of volunteers. Or to put it another way, the State believes that no one, on an island of sixty million, with an IQ above fifty, would ever want to support our court system - which clearly means that there's a problem with everyone else in the country. Funnily enough, there is an organisation that is staffed entirely by volunteers, and socialists do indeed claim that it's full of the dregs of society, so that's what we're risking: a court system that only works as well as the British Army. Quelle horror!

The other argument is even stranger. The idea is that the jury acts as a brake on bad laws. Jurors supposedly refuse to convict and the law is subsequently overturned. The obvious flaw in this cunning plan is that juries can just as easily strengthen bad laws by convicting as vice versa (see Martin, Anthony for further details). Leaving aside that, isn't there something fundamentally bizarre about all this ? Some of the most elitist trash in the country go all misty-eyed at the thought of Joe Public striking down laws ? No, the whole thing is profoundly undemocratic. The best defence against bad law is an alert and active legislature - the very thing the legal establishment fears most. Bad laws should be ruthlessly enforced - let the error of those laws be seen clearly and unequivocally.

Still, the idea of jurors ignoring the law of the land does hint at one of the real reasons why lawyers really support the jury system, it's the random element. Try this little thought experiment: the Truthomatic 2010 system is invented, providing 100% accurate judgements - in this scenario, what role is there for lawyers ? Nada - the whole point of hiring a lawyer is to tilt the system your way. As long as the jury stem exists, they'll be hope for even the most blatant of felons (and fear for the most honest of citizens).

The other reason though is even more sinister. Quite simply, the coercion of individual citizens into performing roles in legal ceremonies is a blatant exercise in judicial supremacism. The seizure of innocent citizens to serve at the behest of the judiciary is an exercise in ramming home the point as to who really runs Britain. Judges will whine about terrorists being held in Gitmo while waxing lyrical of their own ability to seize citizens for their own needs, with no appeal, accountability or anything else these people claim to find so vital when dealing with paedophiles.

To return to an earlier point, what of the Army ? One of the arguments for a volunteer army is that it acts as a brake on the excesses of foreign policy. A ready supply of slave soldiers would make it all too easy for government to ignore the consequences of fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way or for the wrong reasons (e.g. Viet Nam). The analogy is obvious. Is it any surprise that the arm of government that jealously protects it's ability to abduct members of the public is also the one that is the most corrupt, the most worthless and the most conspicuously contemptible of the self-same public ?

At best, the jury system is an inadequate and untrustworthy safeguard against the excesses of government. More commonly, the jurors simply act to conceal just how little input the public has into the judicial system. The Hell with it all. There's plenty wrong with the judicial system (in much the same way that the Sun is somewhat hot), but the first step to fixing it is easy enough. Let's not pretend that the jury system is anything other than a farce. Let these scum know they can - for now - seize citizens, but the citizens themselves at least have no illusions about what's happening. We should be prepared to say it out loud: if you're an ordinary, decent member of the public, then the courts are the enemy.

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