Is America heading for Judge Dredd Justice?

Here are some thoughts on why the average American ought have more than a mere passing acquaintance with the law.  Our apparent collective ignorance is proving disastrous.

Judge Joe Dredd is a comic character whose strip in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD is the magazine's longest running (having been featured there since its second issue in 1977). Dredd is a law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. Dredd and his fellow Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence and even execute criminals on the spot.

"It showed how if we don't curb the way we run our judicial system, the police may end up running our lives."

-- Sylvester Stallone, star of "Judge Dredd" (1995 release)

"Thus it happens in matters of state; for knowing afar off (which it is only given a prudent man to do) the evils that are brewing, they are easily cured. But when, for want of such knowledge, they are allowed to grow so that everyone can recognize them, there is no longer any remedy to be found."

-- Niccolo Machiavelli

"They are free, where their magistrates are confined within certain bounds set them by the people. . . . And they are slaves, where the magistrates choose their own rules, and follow their lust and humours . . . those nations only who bridle their governors do not wear chains."

-- Trenchard and Gordon, Cato's Letters, pp. 256-57.

"It is left... to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any bias whatever in any cause, to take on themselves to judge the law as well as the fact. They never exercise this power but when they suspect partiality in the judges; and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty."

-- Thomas Jefferson to Abbe Arnoux, 1789. ME 7:423, Papers 15:283


"Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of."

-- James Madison, Federalist No. 46

"Every friend of freedom. . .must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence."

-- Milton Friedman, "An Open Letter to Bill Bennett" (Bush I appointed Drug Czar), Wall Street Journal,09/07/89


"With the War on Drugs, however, the wisdom of the Founders has been cast aside. In their shortsighted zeal to create a 'Drug-Free America' by 1995, our political leaders--state and federal, elected and appointed--have acted as though the end justifies the means, repudiating our heritage of limited government and individual freedoms while endowing the bureaucratic state with unprecedented powers."

-- Steven Wisotsky, "Society Of Suspects: The War on Drugs and Civil Liberties", Cato Policy Analysis No. 180, 10/02/92

"Plato tells us in the Republic that democracies will always succumb to tyranny. The Framers of our Constitution certainly troubled themselves to prevent that from happening here, but the anti-Federalist who wrote under the name Brutus did not believe they had gone far enough - especially when it came to the Supreme Court. Though Alexander Hamilton described the Court as the "least dangerous branch," Brutus thought that the Court would eventually expand its own power and, in the process, enable the national government to expand its power at the expense of the states.

"That Brutus was something of a prophet is beyond question. . ."
-- Robert Lowry Clinton, "Judicial Supremacy and the Constitution", National Review, 05/03/10

Not all that much seems to havechanged over the millennia, has it?  It's no wonder, since"Jury Nullification", originally an English common law barrier to tyranny and its enforcement, has been suppressed in the U.S. -- essentially prohibited.  Obama isnot the only nor even the primary problem America faces.  Far from it.  He's merely a product of the "system," a symptom, if you will.  Even if we replace the entire Congress in November, the system, along with its well paid bureaucrats, judges and assorted law enforcement officers, will still be around.  And, essentially, nothing will have changed.

Herewith is the shape of things present and to come. . . 
Here are some thoughts on why the average American ought have more than a mere passing acquaintance with the law.  Our apparent collective ignorance is proving disastrous.

Judge Joe Dredd is a comic character whose strip in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD is the magazine's longest running (having been featured there since its second issue in 1977). Dredd is a law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. Dredd and his fellow Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence and even execute criminals on the spot.

"It showed how if we don't curb the way we run our judicial system, the police may end up running our lives."

-- Sylvester Stallone, star of "Judge Dredd" (1995 release)

"Thus it happens in matters of state; for knowing afar off (which it is only given a prudent man to do) the evils that are brewing, they are easily cured. But when, for want of such knowledge, they are allowed to grow so that everyone can recognize them, there is no longer any remedy to be found."

-- Niccolo Machiavelli

"They are free, where their magistrates are confined within certain bounds set them by the people. . . . And they are slaves, where the magistrates choose their own rules, and follow their lust and humours . . . those nations only who bridle their governors do not wear chains."

-- Trenchard and Gordon, Cato's Letters, pp. 256-57.

"It is left... to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any bias whatever in any cause, to take on themselves to judge the law as well as the fact. They never exercise this power but when they suspect partiality in the judges; and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty."

-- Thomas Jefferson to Abbe Arnoux, 1789. ME 7:423, Papers 15:283


"Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of."

-- James Madison, Federalist No. 46

"Every friend of freedom. . .must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence."

-- Milton Friedman, "An Open Letter to Bill Bennett" (Bush I appointed Drug Czar), Wall Street Journal,09/07/89


"With the War on Drugs, however, the wisdom of the Founders has been cast aside. In their shortsighted zeal to create a 'Drug-Free America' by 1995, our political leaders--state and federal, elected and appointed--have acted as though the end justifies the means, repudiating our heritage of limited government and individual freedoms while endowing the bureaucratic state with unprecedented powers."

-- Steven Wisotsky, "Society Of Suspects: The War on Drugs and Civil Liberties", Cato Policy Analysis No. 180, 10/02/92

"Plato tells us in the Republic that democracies will always succumb to tyranny. The Framers of our Constitution certainly troubled themselves to prevent that from happening here, but the anti-Federalist who wrote under the name Brutus did not believe they had gone far enough - especially when it came to the Supreme Court. Though Alexander Hamilton described the Court as the "least dangerous branch," Brutus thought that the Court would eventually expand its own power and, in the process, enable the national government to expand its power at the expense of the states.

"That Brutus was something of a prophet is beyond question. . ."
-- Robert Lowry Clinton, "Judicial Supremacy and the Constitution", National Review, 05/03/10

Not all that much seems to havechanged over the millennia, has it?  It's no wonder, since"Jury Nullification", originally an English common law barrier to tyranny and its enforcement, has been suppressed in the U.S. -- essentially prohibited.  Obama isnot the only nor even the primary problem America faces.  Far from it.  He's merely a product of the "system," a symptom, if you will.  Even if we replace the entire Congress in November, the system, along with its well paid bureaucrats, judges and assorted law enforcement officers, will still be around.  And, essentially, nothing will have changed.

Herewith is the shape of things present and to come. . . 

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