Rising for the Judge, Bowing to the State
by Manuel Lora
by Manuel Lora
When one walks into a business, most often you are greeted. As part of treating customers as their very livelihood, companies usually enact policies that make it a requirement for employees to acknowledge the arrival of a client or customer.
Imagine, however, if instead of getting a "hello" or "good morning," the manager of the store asks you to greet him. Further, imagine if the manager holds you at gunpoint and threatens you with imprisonment. Assuming you could escape, chances are that you'd never go back to that store. Yet this is what happens in the courts.
Virtually everyone in the courtroom has to rise when the judge enters. Failure to do so might result in contempt of court — you can get a fine or be sentenced to jail time for your audacity. This is, of course, absurd. First of all, government courts are financed through taxation. People who do not use the system at all, for example, still have to pay. This is a form of redistribution, also known as socialism. Aside from the fact that the resources to run the system are extracted aggressively, often the accused are victims rather than victimizers.
Laws and ordinances regulating peaceful drug or firearm possession or usage, municipal codes regulating assembly, zoning, prostitution and gambling, for example, violate no rights and therefore have no victims. Thus, when an innocent person is brought (violently or through the threat thereof) to one of those government courts, the last thing one expects is to be further humiliated by having to stand for the judge. If anything, the judge should be kissing the defendant's feet and begging for forgiveness.
We should not be surprised that the state does whatever possible to assert its aggressive political power in every instance; the courtroom is not an exception. Perhaps in the old days it was customary to rise for the judge. So what? Today, however, I see this not as a gesture of respect but as a demand for obedience. The judge, a state bureaucrat, has no authority over anyone. Prove that the judge and the court deserve any respect. After all, they were the ones (along with the legislative and executive branches) to kidnap people from their homes, families and places of employment, only to be dragged to face "justice." Show that, especially in the case of victimless crimes, the defendant should stand for the judge. The concept of contempt of court, so long as the state holds a monopoly over this institution, is a farce. I believe it is the court, along with all the thugs it employs, who is in contempt.
Anyone willing to show the violence of the court by refusing to obey is a hero. Rising for the judge is bowing to the state.
November 18, 2008
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