A month ago, I put in a request to take a week off, Monday 11/9 through Friday 11/13, from work. My time was approved, no sweat. Last weekend, on Halloween no less, I received a jury summons. At first I thought it was cool, I don’t mind being a juror. Then I saw the summons date… Monday 11/9. Son of a… The first day of my vacation. I planned that time to work on writing, wrap things up and continue on with the last act of my third book. Now, I know, I could very well be dismissed the night before or I could get in there and only spend a few hours before being released. That would be fine. But, upon further thought, it was also be fine if I did get picked. So what, I’ll miss out on some time to write and sleep in. Being a juror is worth it. Who knows, I could very well be the only one to help keep a person’s life from being trifled upon or ruined by the state. Good!
I don’t claim to be a professor of libertarianism. If you want to read and hear from the scholars, seek out people like Murray N. Rothbard, Ludwig Von Mises, Lew Rockwell and Tom Woods. Even though I’ve only begun to grasp an understanding of libertarianism over the past five years or so, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been one my whole life. I’ve always followed the non aggression principle, always disliked government and it’s perpetual and constant use and threat of force to control my life and always believed any one of us should be free to do whatever we want, say whatever we want, ingest whatever we want and so on as long as no one is harmed or have their personal/property rights violated.
How does this tie into my thoughts on being a juror? Completely. Libertarianism is, at its core, a philosophy, a way of thinking and living. It’s theories and practices cover both economic and social issues. It holds that personal accountability, in each and every one of us as adults, is essential for freedom and prosperity in the free market and humanity as a whole. There are no entitlements and we, as masters of our own destinies, should never demand or perhaps even expect anyone’s help. The state is the opposite of this. The state flourishes as an outside entity that rules with the threat of violence often in spite of how accountable the individual may be. A man chooses to take in a drug the state deems illegal and he is punished even if, as is most often the case, no harm was done to anyone else and no property was damaged. A woman believes the fruits of her labors, often in the form of an income, is her’s in its entirety. Oh boy… does the state ever disagree! Money, which I often think of as simply a numeric representation of energy, is what the state loves and worships the most because it, equal to fear and ignorance, is what feeds its power. So, the woman doesn’t want the government to take / rob / steal her money, money which she invested her time and energy towards to earn it. The IRS, i.e. the government, uses its force to damage, inconvenience, ruin or destroy her life. This is essentially the definition of a serf. Look up how the income tax came to be. It should serve some enlightenment, I hope. So, my libertarian philosophy is that where there is no victim (a victim being defined as someone who was attacked and harmed either physically or through damage to his or her property) there is no crime.
Now imagine I do get summoned then put on a jury. Do you think I’d ever declare a drug user guilty? An income tax cheat? Most likely not. This is due to the fundamental essence of what a juror is: An officer of the court who serves as the most powerful and last line in the sand who determines not only the facts on whether or not the accused broke a law but also whether or not the law is even just or fair at all. Yes, jurors are supposed to take everything into account, state and federal laws be damned! No Victim, No Crime. I’ll stick with the non aggression principle where violence is justified in defense of one’s self and one’s property (home, land, family, children and so on). Dismissing laws the juror disagrees with and judging therein has been labeled Jury Nullification. Look it up for more information and examples. It gives we the people, those who serve as jurors, the true power in determining what is just and what is criminal.
There. Despite the potential mild inconvenience to my vacation, I look forward to serving as juror. I’ll more than likely get weeded out by the prosecutor during questioning. After all, why would any officer of the state want a libertarian in the jury on a trial they’re working on? Who knows, though. Perhaps I’ll get through. Perhaps the accused will be someone, one of us, our fellow citizens, worthy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, who’s being attacked by the state while causing no harm and simply being accountable to him or herself. Perhaps, given that situation, I’ll be able to play my part in helping someone keep from interference, tampering or utter destruction by the state.