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Time for a preemptive strike?
Posted by Tony on 2nd October 2010 at 23:33:18
During the winter I've had a number of occasions to use an office in the city for which getting off the train at Flagstaff made sense. My initial choice of route from there to the office was straight down William Street through the heart of Melbourne's legal precinct. My immediate gut reaction to seeing legal people parading their sense of supremacy right next to the poverty stricken victims and perps whose misfortunes the legals feed off saw me quickly adjust that route to nearby cafe-choked lanes where the suits looked more pathetic than offensive.

Before getting deeper into my rant, I must reiterate that we are living the most comfortable/indulgent lives that the world has ever allowed and while it is trivially easy to argue that the only way from here is down, I'm the last person to give up on the idea that we should be satisfied enough to stop looking for significant improvement. My only qualification paraphrases H L Mencken and admits that the many opportunities for improvement are increasingly entangled in complex webs of interdependence and hence are not amenable to simple solutions.

In the half century since Eisenhower's prescient warning about the rise of the Military Industrial Complex, many comparable Industrial Complexes have entrenched themselves in the fabric of our ever more borderless dominant culture. While all of them demand the vigilance of an informed citizenry, I'm increasingly of the opinion that the Legal Industrial Complex is the one with by far the greatest need to be brought to heel and the one with the correspondingly most potent ways of avoiding scrutiny and penalising dissent.

This is not the place for the full analysis of the problem, so I should only highlight a few of the most objectionable consequences of creating a society in which legal practitioners twist the political process so as to ensure their own enrichment:

  • way too many of our most talented 18 year olds are sucked into its indoctrination program in unapologetic pursuit of financial reward;
  • it has ensnared the Entertainment Industrial Complex into allowing a dominant role for drama which is so often little more than blatant promotion of the Legal worldview;
  • unquestioning submission to the Rule of Law has taken on a sacred quality and become a pillar of resurgent authoritarianism; and
  • the retribution it can wield unchecked is the guise of Contempt of Court makes religions' censures for blasphemy and sacrilege pale in comparison and ensures silence where there should be passionate debate.
My best guess as to how we might start to tackle the monster is to promote notions of Law as Last Resort and Law as Servant not Master, that latter being a notion that could be generalised to most of the naturally empire-building Industrial Complexes. We particularly need to try to break down the co-promotion of Law and Fear, most importantly the Fear of others doing (enjoying) with honest intention and no harm anything we can't imagine wanting to do ourselves. I am hopeful that we will be able to find a sweet spot far out in the directions of Freedom of Association, Transparency, Civil Discourse and Honesty in Labeling where enough will start to see more Law and more Authority for the dangers that they truly are.
Next Newer Thread
Time for a preemptive strike? - Tony 23:33:18 02-Oct-10
Overgrowth complexes - Tony 17:32:19 21-Jan-12
Re: Time for a preemptive strike? - GingerYeo 01:40:25 06-Nov-10
Re: Time for a preemptive strike? - GingerYeo 02:04:55 06-Nov-10
Time warp - Tony 06:26:00 06-Nov-10
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