I saw a couple of heartening news items this past week that illustrate the same principle. First, a judge in Missoula County Montana complained that it would soon likely become almost impossible to enforce anti-marijuana laws because of the increasing difficulty of seating juries. In a recent drug case, so many potential jurors in the voir dire process declared their unwillingness to enforce the pot laws that the prosecution chose to work out a plea deal instead. The defendant’s attorney stated that public opinion “is not supportive of the state’s marijuana law and appeared to prevent any conviction from being obtained simply because an unbiased jury did not appear available under any circumstances …” The same thing happened in about sixty percent of alcohol cases under Prohibition.
Public agitation against a law may be very fruitful indeed — but not so much by creating pressure to change the law as by creating a climate of public opinion such that it becomes a dead letter.
The control of government institutions should be shifted away from centralized power structures to people with immediate understanding and interest. Greater choice in education and more student participation in directing the learning process should be created. It is also important to foster culture that values individual character over certified economic adequacy. Public employee unions, which are political organizations with members afraid to publicly speak out against official policy, ought to be remade into, or replaced with, workers’ organizations in which a spirit of mutual aid and solidarity prevails over the goal of securing political privilege. Instead of looking to the boss for protection from the market, workers should shape the market to value humanity over hierarchy.