Sunday, 31 July 2016

The changing legal order

Hello there! I’ll be talking today continuing the broad theme of what I have said in the earlier post. Today I tell you why it is expensive to be poor.

Well, it should not come as a surprise that inequality in the world is increasing and that the top 75 people in the world own more than the next 3.6 billion people[1]. In today’s world order, most of the things are determined by economic forces including lawmaking, social status and unsurprisingly, financial benefits. Today’s hero is not the one with intellectual prowess but the one with economic prowess.

It is a sad state of affairs unfortunately, that money commands obedience from the public. It inevitably follows that political power flows from economic power. Laws are lobbied for by the wealthy to be in their favour, they can afford to spend to save, they can afford to jump the queue, they can afford to buy the system.

This world is very cruel to the poor, and it does not reward sacrifice, or talent, or even love. The world rewards those who kneel down obediently before the economically and politically powerful – those who surrender their lives to the almighty all-powerful neo-gods of the present who can control your lives in more ways than you can imagine. To be told what to feel, what to think, what to wear, what to do in private, what to speak by these all-powerful is now a reality. The legal system now has more control over its subjects than it has ever did in history. Even more than the great rulers and autocratic monarchs in their time. Kindly allow me two minutes of your time to present to you a classic paragraph from Sir Edward Coke:

[…] a man’s house is his castle. […] The poorest man may, in his cottage, bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake, the wind may blow through it, the storm may enter, the rain may enter; but the king of England cannot enter! All his force dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.”

When it comes to today, at most this can be called legal romanticism. This presents an ideal which today’s generation has never witnessed. The transition of society from being ‘human’ to being ‘mechanical’ is inevitable where only a small group of the population seeks to control the lives and destiny of others. Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ might soon be a reality.

To ask again who is to be blamed for this? One need not look at anyone else to seek the root cause of the problems. It is you who has caused this impending doom that has befallen humanity. Systems of government fall and rise but human mentality stay the same. For those who say war or a bloodshed revolution is the solution, I pity them. War and bloodshed has never brought any good to humanity for people die – the good die and the bad die. Bad deeds eventually go away like the good deeds. The circle of good and bad continues.

Am I suggesting humanity will self-destruct? With a war, maybe. But with what continues, society will drastically change towards the picture that Huxley had painted for us long ago. A great visionary indeed! He could imagine today when Sir Edward Coke could say such great things of the erstwhile legal order. I would end with a beautiful quote from Charles Evans Hughes:

“No greater mistake can be made than to think that our institutions are fixed or may not be changed for the worse. […] Increasing prosperity tends to breed indifference and to corrupt moral soundness. Glaring inequalities in condition create discontent and strain the democratic relation. The vicious are the willing, and the ignorant are unconscious instruments of political artifice. Selfishness and demagoguery take advantage of liberty. The selfish hand constantly seeks to control government, and every increase of governmental power, even to meet just needs, furnishes opportunity for abuse and stimulates the effort to bend it to improper uses [...] The peril of this Nation is not in any foreign foe! We, the people, are its power, its peril, and its hope!”





[1] Treanor, J. (2015). Half of world's wealth now in hands of 1% of population – report. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/13/half-world-wealth-in-hands-population-inequality-report [Accessed 31 Jul. 2016].

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