Law, Order, Equality, Justice, and Change
Recently one of my young nephews asked a question (to no one in particular) on a social network: can’t we have one law for everyone?
As a very common citizen he was angry about people getting away with a crime and others less privileged getting long imprisonment for a similar crime; he was frustrated at his helplessness, that he had no power to influence law makers, and governments into a more peaceful society, a just society.
I was struck by his angst. And it got me asking long-forgotten questions and revisiting conclusions I had drawn many years ago, conclusions such as: there can never be justice in a governed society- at least not what the masses have been conditioned and deliberately misled to understand from the term justice.
For a society to function, it is important that its members maintain the integrity and spirit of the law; in theory, there is a need for all at large to adhere to the principles for law for law to deliver justice; however, the purpose of law is to subjugate and control subjects for the motive of the Powers at seat: and therefore law was never meant to nor can it deliver justice. Law as a concept is meant to discriminate and therefore there is only a question of the degree of discrimination which is determined not by action, deeds, or truth but by one’s proximity and access to the power centres and the ability to wield that influence on the legal system and its constituents. All constituents and stakeholders of the society are party to the power play – including constitutions, religions, companies, governments, media, judiciary and of course citizens are all interested parties in maintaining the system because they gain from it. Any change in status quo has grave impact on the degree of absolute power enjoyed by those in power and therefore any case whose outcome is likely to shift that balance even marginally is unlikely to eventually see the light of what common people romantically refer to as justice.
In base terms, justice cannot be defined in any absolute or practical terms that can be administered consistently because in any society of more than two individuals, the factor of discrimination is a given influencer.
For instance, do I think it is justice that I can write this on a device of some sort, while others are doing hard manual labour at this very moment just to earn a meal? That that’s all they ever done, or will do?
What I have learned is that society is based on inequality and in this day of arm-chair activism, I have often wondered about people who evangelise equality or a just society or the need of equality. The question that comes to my mind is: Do they not understand the nature of the human beast? Or are they saying that they themselves are truly better than the rest of humanity, that they would give up their daily bread, every day, for others? Their own daily bread, their own opportunities, their own freedom … for others?
Yes, there have been instances in history of extra-ordinary men and women who sacrificed themselves for the good of others. Deliberately. People who chose to walk among the common people, suffering their sufferings, living their lives, and from that karma-bhoomi (literally, the land of work or your destined sphere of work which eventually defines you), they rose to show others the way to a better life.
And such personalities I admire for they were better than I ever will be. And that’s what I look for as a writer (to write about) – people who are walking the path, doing something to change themselves and therefore inspiring a broader change – not just signing petitions or raising slogans or exhorting others to action.
Change happens when someone gets up and decides to change themselves, because if you change yourself, then that’s a tangible example to follow and such an example is not only hard to ignore but is a compelling power for it dispels hope and instils confidence.
In fact, I would go so far to say that unless I change myself, I cannot change anything or anyone else. And if I can’t change myself, I can’t hope for justice or rant about the lack of it, because I have done nothing to bring about justice.
And so I follow the law of the lands, for I do not have the courage to rise above the discriminatory nature of it, hoping that my willing subservience will afford me the security of not being discriminated against; and thus: I am an interested party in maintaining the status quo.
We all are.