Separation of Gun and GavelSubmitted by Ed Ucation on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 17:37
We are all familiar with the concept of “separation of church and state,” which attempts to secure religious liberty by separating organized religion from the state. I would like to propose that, in order to secure justice and liberty, what we really need is the separation of gun and gavel. The gun is a universal symbol of force and is often used to represent the law enforcement power of the state. The gavel, in turn, is often used as a symbol of the judiciary, especially in the United States.
Wait a second, you may say, don’t we already have separation of the executive and judicial branches in our form of government? Isn’t this the very essence of our system of checks and balances? That’s what they taught us in school. The Supreme Court often reigns in the Congress, for example, by declaring a law unconstitutional.
Not so fast. For starters, the Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court are all part of the same organization, the United States federal government. And, to sit on the Supreme Court, you have to be nominated by the President and confirmed by Congress. Thus, the President and the Congress are the gatekeepers, and you don’t get through the door without their approval. If someone is opposed to the war on drugs, for example, what do you think the chances are of that person being nominated? Absolutely zero. You won’t even make it as a local judge. Read the story of Marc. J Victor for an example.
Furthermore, where does a judge get his or her paycheck? Judges are not self-financed through court fees. They are employees of the State. Do you think they will take a stand against their employer? They are part of the State and naturally identify themselves as part of the State. To take a stand against the State would be, for them, to take a stand against themselves.
With that in mind, how can there be any true justice if the accused is also the judge? Imagine a conflict with a friend. Let’s say you want to know who the better cook is and agree to a cooking contest. Well, how would you feel if your friend asserts that he should be the judge of the cooking contest? Yet this is exactly the case when someone has a grievance with the government. In cases in which the government is the accused, the government gets to be the judge. How do you think that will go? I don’t know that anyone has ever attempted to compute the fraction of cases in which the government has ruled against itself, but I would bet that it’s a negligible amount.
If you have the power to field force, if you have the power of the gun, you will be tempted to use it. That is your function, after all. All entities want to express their function. Thus, there must be a check on this power, lest it run over everything. There must be interpretations on the proper use of this power. Yet these checks, these interpretations on the use of the gun, cannot come from the gun. The gun always thinks it’s time to shoot.
Thus, he who enforces the law cannot also be the one that interprets the law.
He who enforces the law also cannot be the one that selects who will interpret the law.
The gavel must be separate from the gun.
In a free society, I imagine that a protection agency would be separate from a judicial agency. The judicial agency, being financially independent of the protection agency, and having judges that were not selected by the protection agency, would be able to act in an impartial manner in suits brought against the protection agency. I imagine that a watchdog agency may arise to certify such independence. I imagine multiple judicial agencies that would keep checks on each other. After all, if a suit were brought against judicial agency A, judicial agency B would need to sit in judgment, since judicial agency A could not sit in judgment of itself. Judges would be subject to ratings and customer satisfaction. Independent rating agencies may arise to rate judges.
I imagine that over time a strong ethic would arise to favor the separation of gun and gavel. Hopefully, with such a strong ethic in place, if a gun started acting as its own gavel, alarm bells would go of at the beginning stages. The gun would start losing customers, and thus income, and competing protecting agencies, holding to the ethic, would keep it in check and protect the citizenry from its abuses. So once we got there, I imagine we would be in a self-regulating stable situation. However, how to get there is a different story.