I hear the claim made routinely on talk radio and podcasts that we have two systems of justice in America: One for the ordinary citizen, and one for connected and powerful politicians (or their wealthy friends who give them donations).
All you have to do is look at how well Hillary Clinton has fared – under a Trump presidency, no less – and you’ll have much of the evidence you need.
But there’s a deeper issue. And that issue is the decline of reason.
“Reason” is not just some abstract concept for those studying philosophy. It matters in everyday life. And it matters profoundly to our system of justice.
Think of how you judge a person in your daily life. And no matter what you claim, you are judging people – even if only subconsciously, and through your emotions.
Judging a person rationally means collecting all the evidence you have; considering other possible explanations for the person’s behavior; and carefully, calmly and with detachment drawing a conclusion. You probably do this before having work done on your house, your car or your body. It’s called objectivity.
That’s what reason is: thought based on all the known, relevant facts, via logic.
Reason is not infallible, but the unspoken premise behind reason is that there is a true and right answer, and the only way to get there is through the use of your mind – or the reasoning minds of others, when experts are needed.
Reason is just as important in a justice system. Justice is where reason ought to dominate and shine. The appeal of courtroom dramas over the years? They give us a chance to see reason at work, the kind of reasoning we need to apply in our everyday lives to flourish, cope and survive.
Clearly, something has gone wrong when people are convicted, either in the court of public opinion or in a courtroom, based on biases, favors, half-truths, non-truths and prejudices rather than exclusively (or even mostly) on the basis of reason, facts, logic and evidence.
It’s important to remember that reason involves the use of all relevant facts. You don’t get to use only SOME facts and then apply just those facts logically, and then call yourself reasonable. It’s patently unreasonable, and dishonest, to knowingly and deliberately leave out facts which could lead you to a different conclusion.
Chances are that in any court today involving a non-high profile case, reason is applied more or less routinely to cases involving making assessments and judgments about people’s actions. Yet in D.C. and the federal government that’s rarely the case any longer. And in the media … well, just forget it!
Which leads us to the second reason there are two approaches to justice in our society, one for the privileged and one for the rest of us. The reason is that these members of the moral and political swamp are our masters. Put bluntly, they are our pimps and we are their bitches. Why? We need them to get for us what isn’t ours, which takes them outside the boundaries of justice. And then we wonder why they act unjustly.
We have made them our masters, because we want the government to do all kinds of things the government should not be doing. This includes, but is not limited to, things like paying for education (K-12 and soon college); virtually all of health care (Medicare, Medicaid and now Obamacare); mortgage loans and subsidies; bailouts as entitlements whenever anything at all goes wrong; free hurricane and flood insurance; crop subsidies; free public broadcasting and radio; free abortions; on and on and on.
In short: wealth redistribution. The vast majority of what government now does is redistribute from one group to another. It’s a morally slimy business, and it requires a double standard system of justice to keep it going.
When you give people power over half or more of a gigantic nation’s economy – especially in the most crucially important areas of education and health care – then you’re asking for trouble. You’re setting up a situation whereby injustice, not reason, now reigns. Why is anyone still shocked or surprised? Our founders knew this would happen in 1776, if we departed from limited government. There’s no excuse for not grasping it today.
Until or unless we take unearned power and privilege from politicians who act on behalf of some of us unjustly and unfairly, we can forget about seeing one rational, objective system of justice.
What we need, first and foremost, is a rebirth of reason in our government. Without that, it won’t be possible to drain the swamp in any meaningful sense of the term.
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