"Everything I/we did was according to the law" is now a nauseatingly repetitive mantra. Individuals, companies and governments worldwide, challenged with their destructive behavior and corruption scandals that impact the lives of many, casually hold up this statement like an impenetrable magic shield. They don't say "everything I/we did was kind, just, or in the best interests of all".
The cold technical response "Everything I/we did was according to the law" reflects the extent to which our so called justice system has lost its moral compass. The law has become a game of engaging the most brilliant legal minds to outwit each other for the benefit of a few at any expense of people, animals and the planet.
Of course, those closest to the realms of law and lawmaking have also found ways to ensure that their professions are among the most lucrative. They have managed to maneuver the legal profession into a situation that people are increasingly dependent on lawyers in almost every aspect of life. If our legal system is endorsing the exploitation of people, animals and the planet, then the legal system as it stands can no longer be considered a legitimate structure that exists to serve society as a whole.
Justice has been reduced to technical debate over the legality or illegality of a person's behavior according to dubious laws rather than according to the consequences of a citizen’s behavior for her/himself, the planet and all its inhabitants. Legislating according to a majority vote rather than according to the intrinsic value of a law for the planet and all its inhabitants is an abuse of the mandate of a public institution funded by taxpayer money. We have witnessed a range of atrocities that majority votes can legally endorse. Humanity does not have a very successful record regarding the "majority knowing best". The painful paradox is that the injustices of the legal system have the law with all its accumulated might and madness on their side. This means that challenging injustice is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous for the regular citizen.
The sophisticated methods of corporate hijacking of the legal system are painfully evident. Lobbyists, bribery, favor swapping, legal jargon, very fine and laborsome print, exorbitant prices, burdened citizens and clogged court rooms are only the most obvious of the ways that manipulation rather than justice is driving the laws shaping our societies and our planet.
It seems blatantly obvious that the purpose of any "just" and wise legal system is to:
Protect basic physical, emotional and mental safety of all humans and all sentient beings as well as the integrity and vitality of the planet.
Support human behavior that enhances human and environmental integrity, health and vitality and protect against behavior that depletes it. It seems equally obvious that with the way our laws are currently created and enforced, the exact opposite is happening
Individuals and groups from all over the world are risking their lives to tackle the often grotesque injustices of the justice system. While there are achievements in specific areas, the range of injustices to attend to, on a minute to minute basis, is growing exponentially. If we do not address the roots of the problem and reinvent the justice system it is unlikely anything will change.
It is clear that change will not occur through a symbiotic relationship between the political and justice systems that are invested in the power they have and that are controlled by influential corporate clans. While there are lawyers and politicians with integrity in the middle of the fray, they too have little power in the face of the monster of the unjust legal system that we have co-created. The only way that the abuse of law will change is if citizens across the world join together to articulate a viable new justice and legal system and use the power of social media to lead its implementation on a global scale. In a fundamentally interconnected world, local laws cannot adequately address the global consequences of governments invested in abusing citizens, animals, or natural resources that impact the planet as a whole.
The first step is to re-define the purpose of the legal system in a more overtly inclusive manner than it is currently conceived. Until now the purpose of the legal system has been framed almost exclusively in terms of human rights. Of course in many countries some humans are considered to be more eligible for rights than others. In many countries women still do not even have the right to vote. This inequity of the legal system is a symptom of a much deeper limitation of a framework which not only privileges certain humans over other humans but privileges humans over all other forms of life. The consequences of this human centered notion of privilege, whether in relation to other humans or other species in the name of justice, has become increasingly visible and intolerable.
The legal system is unwilling and unable to monitor its own morality and legacy, and it is becoming increasingly perverse and inaccessible to the regular person. The law does not need to be so sophisticated that it becomes obscure and inaccessible to the lay person unless the intentions are to hide and manipulate rather than serve.
The only way out is for people across the world to get together to articulate and organize around a new concept of law and legitimacy that puts the planet and all its inhabitants first.
What if people across the world get together to draft a new legal system? What if lawyers for a healthy justice system used their familiarity with the law to challenge the injustices of the legal system from within? What if a self-organizing social network got together with organizations like AVAAZ to articulate and vote on a new system of justice and law according to these simple principles?
Abolish laws that deplete or threaten human, animal and planetary vitality.
Create laws that protect and cultivate human, animal and planetary vitality.
Ensure all laws are defined in ways that embody kindness and the honoring of all of creation.
These three basic principles are a compass for articulating the foundations of a justice/legal system that puts the planet and all its inhabitants first. Just for starters, such a justice/legal system would immediately call for:
The Abolition of laws that:
enable the abuse, plundering and killing of animals
enable the abuse, plundering and killing of the planet
enable the abuse, plundering and killing of people
are defined by the privileged for the benefit of the privileged
limit freedom of individuals to realize their innate life enhancing potential
are couched in complex legal language, avoid transparency, mislead or enable manipulation for the benefit of some
oppress activists working for justice and a healthy planet that are not using violent means.
limit access to learning
oppress anyone on the basis of age, gender, faith, race, sexuality, belief or nationality
abuse power at the expense of humans, animals or the rest of the natural world
allow governments, science or industry to endanger the intricate balance of our shared eco-system including space and the solar system.
facilitate dishonesty and manipulation in ideological or commercial engagement
The Creation of Laws that:
protect humans, animals and the planet from abuse and exploitation
insist on honesty, transparency and good faith/intention in all commercial, educational, legal and political transactions
support the investment in enterprises that put the planet and all its inhabitants first and the disinvestment from enterprises that threaten the planet and its inhabitants.
redefine legitimate ownership of money and land, and organize to redistribute land and wealth according to its most accurate usage for the planet and all its inhabitants.
are accessible and understandable to the lay citizen who does not have a sophisticated legal background.
enable global citizens to engage in and influence issues from human and animal rights to the use of planetary resources that affect the planet as a whole.
insist on the integration of heart wisdom, kindness and individual and collective health and vitality into a legal decision making processes
It is tragic that citizens must now fight our own legal system to protect the very rights that it has come to ensure. The power of the legal system with all its money and might is virtually impossible to confront from within the same paradigm. Tackling the system from within would only embroil people in endless bureaucratic procedures while the planet continues to die. But if we as global citizens organize to address the roots of the corruption of law which lie in dishonesty, greed, abusive power and limited understandings of the parameters of global health and vitality we are likely to find a creative way forward together.