crime and justice |
Dé Céadaoin Lúnasa 15, 2012 16:03 by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye View
Ongoing, challenging and confrontational development of justice faces many obstacles. The development of Law faces few. Who are the beneficiaries of decisions made by our leaders?
Justice and the see-saw principle.
Scales of justice are rarely in balance. A balanced legal system is one bereft of opinion. It could therefore be possible to tilt the balance with mere comment. The scales of justice swing constantly. The law is reactionary in character. The making of laws is reactionary. Take for instance the recent proposed building regulations in reaction to the Priory Hall fiasco. Laws quickly proposed and in anger are highly reactionary and ill conceived. Adopting these regulations would tilt the balance such that the see-saw rests to one extreme. Requiring professionals to take full responsibility for all aspects of the construction of buildings is unworkable. This places an unjust and extreme reliance and burden on professional individuals who cannot control all aspects of construction. Building regulation amendments have been proposed in response to failures in the enforcement of previous legislation without regard to the fact that the regulations have since changed. Any absence of control and enforcement does not make the legislation inadequate. Introducing new legislation without regard to control will have no impact. The point of this is that reactionary introduction of legislation often results in imbalanced and at times unjust laws.
Effecting new laws is vital in a changing world. The introduction of new driving laws while the roads remain bereft of adequate control will of itself have little impact on road safety. The reduction in road fatalities cited as a great improvement in road safety is laudable. Who is responsible? Average annual mileage travelled has reduced significantly due to the economy crash, this is in part responsible. Introducing a penalty points system is in part responsible. Is the example given by the standards practiced by Garda drivers responsible? The reality is that there are many factors responsible and the introduction alone of new laws may have little impact without control. Introducing more stringent learner controls has and will over time contribute to safety. Introducing laws without control places the onus on citizens to apply the law while perhaps being in part aware of the absence of controls. Is this conducive to better and safer practice?
Reactionary revolution describes how the law works, but has no bearing on justice. In order for justice to prevail, we need progressive consideration and balance. Progressive acceptance as distinct from reactionary rejection may be more than prudent. Why do so many of us believe that in order to progress we should be reactionary revolutionaries? In history there are those romantic figures who through seeing extreme injustice sought the route of extreme reactionary revolution. To progress is to adopt that which is good and remove only that which is damaging, simple progression. Our world is more suitable to progress than it is revolution, due to the information superhighway that is the internet, the media, and the freedom to speak.
“All human societies go through fads in which they temporarily either adopt practices of little use or else abandon practices of considerable use”. Jared Diamond.
Ireland has a history of considering rejection arising out of the oppressive contribution of British occupation. This past oppressive control has given us so much good and the rejection of all without regard to that good has resulted in great pain and suffering for many citizens. Compare simply the abuse of children in Ireland to that in Britain over the same period. There had been established a system for protecting children by the British that continued to be developed and improved long after that in Ireland had been abandoned in favour of the storage and slavery techniques used through religious institutes in Ireland. We are only now really considering a plausible child protection act. The reason for this heavy imbalance is due to an authority that has resisted compromise and failed to listen to any opposing view. Within all opposing philosophies there are aspects that will be acceptable. The see-saw weighted in one particular extreme may also serve the vested interest of the powerful, thereby ensuring laws that support only those vested interests. The early removal from our constitution of the power of the people has vested this power in those leaders we empower. While this appears democratic, there is evidence that those we empower are unable to reverse bad laws or bad decisions made. Is there any justice in the power being vested in minority? Vested interest maintains an imbalance and only with revolution is extreme imbalance redressed. The difficulty with this is wholesale rejection rather than selective acceptance. The result is an imbalance often to the other and opposite extreme. Another difficulty with this see-saw action is that it is often very slow. The reactionary revolution is often the result of years or generations of imbalance such that the memory of the prior imbalance is lost. The prior imbalance or similar can therefore return. Justice needs balance, justice needs history and as proponents of justice we need to remember and listen.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”. John F. Kennedy.
Through listening and adopting from the past that which is good will we improve and progress. With violent or rejection as a base for revolution there will only be a change of guard.
“Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind the slime of a new bureaucracy”. Franz Kafka.