pursuing justice by experiencing its opposite
This blog is about the pursuit of truth and justice, and the development of technology to assist in the realization of these ideals. The existing systems to establish justice in society are of the utmost value and importance. Human societies have derived immense benefit from impartial and equitable systems of justice, and great harm can be wreaked by unfair and biased legal systems.
However distant at this point, the development of information currency is part of an effort to create systems for collective decision-making that will have the integrity and reliability necessary for judicial processes. This positive effort is inevitably a lengthy and uncertain process, but its enormous value makes it a worthy goal. Another means to improve the systems of justice in human society is to confront the present imperfections that exist. What basic concepts can be used to recognize imperfections in the justice system as it exists today?
A basic principle that must guide any standard of justice is equality of all individuals before the law. There is significant information indicating that the national security apparatus of the United States is systematically used to make powerful individuals effectively exempt from prohibitions on the transport and sale of certain chemicals, such as heroin and cocaine. The fact that powerful, highly placed, individuals are able to violate certain laws with impunity calls into question the validity of such laws, and promotes the progressive erosion of justice and respect for law throughout society. The enormous monopoly profits from illicit, large-scale, state-protected pharmaceutical commerce enable a self-perpetuating criminal enterprise to dominate the security apparatus of the state and thereby subjugate society as a whole, creating far-reaching negative effects that may not be obviously linked to legal prohibitions.
Additionally, the laws enacted by legislatures must also be recognized as potentially imperfect attempts by imperfect people to realize ideals of justice. Where political law attempts to overrule the realities of nature, and forbid the existence of nature's gifts, such law must be perceived as suspect at best. The cannabis plant is known, despite decades of official propaganda and deception, to be one of the most useful plants known to humanity.
I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. - Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Given my belief that cannabis prohibition is the least defensible and most unjust aspect of the prohibitionist regime existing throughout the world today, I decided in March 2006 to cultivate cannabis in full view of the world. From March 2006 to 6 June 2006, I grew 16 cannabis plants outside on my third-floor balcony in beautiful Irvine, California. Given my conviction that no permission should be necessary for anyone to grow cannabis in any quantity, I deliberately did not seek permission of any kind, and did not obtain a doctor's recommendation for the use of cannabis, which would have made my garden relatively acceptable under California state law.
Until the plants were torn out after a raid by pistol-wielding Irvine police officers, they had each grown to be several feet tall, and began to show the sexual differentiation characteristic of cannabis (a dioecious plant species). The plants were fragrant and beautiful, and for the months that I was able to cultivate them, I was greatly impressed by their rapid growth and responsiveness to environmental conditions.
At what exact point, then, should one resist? When one's belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When one crosses the threshold of one's home? An arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about any one of them individually - especially at a time when the thoughts of the person arrested are wrapped tightly about the big question: "What for?" - and yet all these incidental irrelevancies taken together implacably constitute the arrest. - The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
In the course of the arrest for violation of California Health and Safety Code 11358, I chose to not cooperate, given my objection to the injustice of prohibition. I was entirely limp and had to be carried to the police car, resulting in a charge of obstructing an officer in the course of his official duties.
Eventually, I decided to accept deferred adjudication of the charge of cultivating cannabis under California Penal Code 1000, resulting in 16 weeks of weekly meetings, which are currently underway. In addition, rather than continue to contest my rights under law to refuse to cooperate in the legal system, I decided to plead guilty to obstruction, resulting in a sentence of 26 8-hour days worth of labor, conducted at the beautiful Mason Regional Park in Irvine.