The term “Taking the law into your own hands” is at the core of all law. But this phrase has been given an extremely dangerous spin.
It suggests that the Law (or those presuming some unique relationship to it) can do unlawful things, can justify acts of vengeance and that some are above the law and other not.
It also seeks to cast a dark shadow upon the law itself, as if it were a deific tyranny of sorts only to be wielded by some few privileged as a weapon to whip the supposed under classes into place.
All such concepts are erroneous and in a Democracy, cannot stand.
Let’s take a look at it.
In a Democracy it is the mission and duty of each and every citizen to indeed and in fact TAKE THE LAW INTO THEIR OWN HANDS and uphold it.
In order to “TAKE THE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS” you first need to KNOW THE LAW.
How many do?
Jurisprudence is an essential social navigation tool if not THE RUDDER itself.
Yet most people, whilst having some measure of commonsense, have little, if any understanding of common law; even though the two are very closely related!
The uninformed however, usually lack CONTEXT because they tend to react emotively instead of responding by being fully informed.
Fully contextual, evidence based information PROPERLY ARTICULATED AND DEMONSTRATED is the primary weapon or tool of law when it comes to testing ANY situation at ANY and ALL levels of society, social responsibility and governance.
You cannot assess anything unless all the information on the subject is on that hypothetical table. At least all the available facts.
A criminal action, a murder, any act of revenge, in fact and by definition IS NOT THE RESULT OF ANYONE HAVING TAKEN ANY LAW INTO THEIR OWN HANDS, but in fact having acted AGAINST that very law.
Before you can enact law you need to know what law is. It is everybody’s mission and duty to not only live by the law, but to facilitate its purposes, the greater good for which the law exists to uphold.
The law being self-upholding when used correctly, legally and in conformity with morality, justice and core value ethics cannot be broken, only upheld and enhanced. Unjust laws cannot last and cannot stand because, being perversions of law and acting against the purpose of law, they self corrode.
There is something sinister about this much-misused phrase, which wrongfully tries to suggest that some imagine themselves to be above the law because they have jostled themselves to be in a position of enforcing the law and that this gives them alone dispensation to break the law in the name of the law. And would then suggest that any other lawbreakers have somehow used the law to break the law in a way such as that the wrongfully privileged imagine they alone can or have title to do. Such constitutes a legal oxymoron.
For it is a primary legal statute (in civilized places); and correctly so, that: “You cannot use the law and it’s due processes to bring about a breach in the law, or in any way pervert its meaning, its intent or its purpose.”
The purpose of law being the greater good, inclusive to all.
This does not stop some from trying, however. They are criminals despite the cleanly pressed white shirt, suit and tie.
In the past, the processes of law were in fact misused by the quasi-educated but immoral, to exploit the less educated. There is nothing legal about using the processes of law to bring about criminal outcomes.
On this basis, each and every person should admonish the newer generations to get educated and this inclusive of studying the law, its meaning and purposes so that such travesties as existed in the past cannot be repeated.
In a democracy the “political leaders” are not the public servants that, we the people assign to do our bidding, but the people themselves. But this carries a caveat and a proviso. An uninformed ignoramus cannot contribute much because such are not equipped to do so and therefore exclude themselves in part from the process, not from justice itself, but the finer details and implementation, lacking credible context as mentioned before.
Best governance being a process of communication and not tyranny, it works best when the communication is traveling both ways, from the ground up and also the top down.
If only by failing to articulate their concerns some place themselves in a position of risk.
This, however is not, nor should it be construed as a license to tyrannize and oppress the ignorant and uneducated. Rather the opposite.
A fully informed and duly educated individual with a contextually correct natural justice based argument, however may lend weight to a meaningful process with power and leverage to bring about results that will augment not only the immediate case at hand, but also the ultimate common good.
This is the domain of every person.
Particularly in a democracy, participation in the due process of law is not the sole and exclusive privilege of some classes, because in a democracy no manufactured, artificial classes can exist, individuals classifying themselves by their own efforts and motivation to become educated as is and should always be freely available.
The days of tyranny, if we so choose can be gone. But we have to choose collectively as well as individually and enact this to come about, using due process by TAKING THE LAW INTO OUR HANDS BY KNOWING IT, BY UNDERSTANDING IT AND BY USING IT CORRECTLY.
An unpopulated world would neither need nor require any laws. Law implies participants who are participating and who seek to interact with reasonableness and harmony.
Such as voting, for example. Or preparing well articulated, fully detailed briefs backed up by evidence, in matters of contention.
Those who presume that by dint of position, accident of birth, money, some kind of inherited privilege or any other misconstruction of natural justice, to have in some way placed them above the law, are in error.
Further, if such imagine that being caretakers of the law, allows or in any way permits or encourages them to break the law, they are in error.
In a justly motivated society, no one, without exception, is or ever can be either above or below the law, all individuals, without exception, being equal before the law.
And that, is indeed, by the very allowance that the law itself provides, to be cared for and in YOUR HANDS!
Use it well and good outcomes will ensue.
The question of “taking the law into your own hands” cannot arise.
For that is where THE LAW belongs and already lives, dwells and has its being: In the heads, hearts and hands of each and every thinking, caring and participating citizen.
Where does Budo fit here?
Where there is law, matters can usually be resolved without war. Courts and other places of law are intellectual dojos where, where with authentic intent, balances of power can be resolved with greater compassion and no bloodshed, albeit with the severity due in the maintenance of harmony.
Who provides that authentic intent?
Don’t look around you. The providing of authentic intent is up to each and every one of us.
10th November 2008