Crony capitalism and courthouse corruption – the egg and the chicken?

You can ask which came first, but the position being advanced here is that crony capitalism and courthouse corruption are each the sine qua non of the other – that without which the other could exist – and the real root cause of both may be nothing more than that basic human instinct to survive.  We all seem ready to accept and embrace the existence of “crony capitalism” as a root cause of current economic and political evil, but the suggestion that it spills over into our courts, and causes “impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle”, what Webster’s labels “corruption”, continues to be met with trepidation and resistance, and for good reason.

The theme of the “Bailey lynching” (defensibly hyperbolic) post is that we are dealing with austere and esoteric subject matter that we want to accept as having fundamental integrity, and that the sense of justice is a deeply personal thing, and, for Americans, is rooted in notions related to our courts – justice is blind, balanced scales, juries of our peers, etc, etc.. The point of our Lynching post bears repeating:

To understand the position that is being taken by Bailey one need only appreciate the true power of the judicial pen, and the instinctual credence we give to all things judicially-authored.  Like religion and our political and social beliefs, our beliefs about our judicial system are ingrained at very early ages, and become a subconscious part of who we are, but unlike religion, politics, or social values, and the effect that geopolitical factors have on our affiliations and beliefs, our learning and understanding of the courts is very common – they are generally revered as bastions of fairness and justice where disputes are resolved under the guidance of judges of wisdom and discretion.  The greater majority of Americans never has any, or very little, experience with the courts, and never has any reason to learn anything other than what they intuitively know.  This puts anyone who suggests further that the courts are not fair, and that judges are not wise and just, and are capable of carrying out political agendas, in the great minority from the start.  That is the essential nature of the power of the judicial pen – it is an institution and tradition of core common cultural beliefs that is not popularly assailed and criticized.

In a November 25, 2011 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Arthur Brooks of the Enterprise Institute seemed to put his finger on defining the common, but difficult to define, discomfort of the “occupy” movement.  To define the movement – the 99% – as “socialist wealth redistributors”, or however it goes, is intellectually dishonest demagoguery, most usually engaged in by those in political power, as the yearnings behind the movement seem to have a more common denominator, that being fairness.  Brooks argues that “crony capitalism” has caused the malfunction in the system, be it trickle-down economics, wealth redistribution, or whatever buzzwords you wish to attach to the theory or the problem, that has caused the discomfort that has inspired the movement.  Brooks suggests that the reason the system is failing is that instead of allowing the capitalist system to work as intended, crony capitalism, i.e., those with money and access protecting those with money and access, causes “the wealth” and the power to simply be passed around at the top.  Sure there are those who break through these glass ceilings, and opportunity would appear to exist for all, but somehow or other a massive and growing number of people still seem to believe that the haves keep on having and the have-nots keep on having naught.  Brooks’ article follows:

Arthur Brooks Fairness in the Occupy Movement WSJ

The occupy numbers may have fallen off recently, being deliberately put down in many cases, but there has been nothing that has changed that has quieted what stirred those massive numbers to come out, and those courageous numbers who remain, that might not be tapped if given the proper focus, whatever that may be – banking reform, political reform, social reform, or wherever the interests of each individual lie.  We note that the local occupy movements in Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster, have taken an active interest in the Satori Farm matter, and that situation clearly presents these themes across several dynamics.  The point, however, is that if you can accept Arthur Brooks’ assessment that the issue is one fundamentally of fairness, and to accept that our politicians are capable of robbing our futures, it should be quite natural to discuss these same dysfunctions in our courts, as the bastions of the innate sense of “fairness” built into the Constitution and our constitutions.  Judges, after all, whether elected or appointed, are products of the political process.

Regardless of the style of communication being adopted at this point on this site, there is an abundant record of testimony, court filings, affidavits, etc, that, if honestly assessed, would at least cause one to accept the proposition that there may be some “impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle” in our courts.  48 of the 50 people who have voted (one vote per person) at least support the PCRLN, where these things are being said.

The essence of crony capitalism is unfairness and the essence of the role of our courts is to provide fairness.  If unfairness has become such an uncontrolled and uncontrollable problem that it is causing people to leave the comforts of their homes and their families, and take to the streets literally, then there must be serious breakdowns in our “fairness administration process”, and there are, and we submit that no discrete aspect of the larger problems – money, banking, welfare reform, etc – can effectively be addressed until the system for administration of fairness, i.e., the courts, is reformed and discipline.  They are not currently disciplining themselves.

In winding down his successful swing through Iowa, Penn State’s most famous alumnus, Rick Santorum, urged voters to vote to create a cultural climate where faith, values, and virtue could flourish.  There may not be a voting American alive that would not support some aspect of those ideals, but those ideals are nothing where there is no fairness and no access.  If those who have protested and spoken out have said to themselves or others at some point that “it’s not fair”, then the “it” would seem to be everything.  Our “it” is the courts.  Whatever your “it” is, it will need to ultimately depend on fair courts – not because every issue is going to wind up in a court, but because a society with a fair and reliable system of justice disciplines itself.

The age-old debate over which came first in this case is largely academic, and should be had at some point, but right now things are not fair, and, for our purposes, crony capitalism and courthouse corruption are two sides of the same coin – the Bailey “shit storm” post post shows how they work together to affect the makeup of the fairness administration system, and the numbers of additional examples brought to you throughout these pages show that system in action.  As we pointed out, the real root cause of these issues may be human instinct, each reasonably trying to improve the condition of his or her survival, and this is really where the basic ethics of a society come into play, and why tested wisdom, intellectual independence, and discretion are the primary attributes of judging to temper the natural competition that exists between our basic instincts.  This is the administration of fairness.  We call it the system of justice.  There is no place for cronyism in it.  If this is not your “it” it will continue to be ours, because it is in need of reform.  “It” is a matter of “fairness” itself.

Thank you.

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