Wednesday, September 5, 2012

unrecognised threats to our rights

One of the most dangerous threats to our freedoms comes from the proliferation of quasi-government authorities and tribunals. Many of these “tribunals” have truly terrifying powers. They are dangerous because the dangers they present are not widely recognised.  We take them for granted and often do not realise the extent of the powers these bodies wield.

We also do not realise that they represent an innovation - they have the powers that courts have but if you’re unlucky enough to come before them you swiftly discover that you have few if any of the protections that you enjoy in a court of law. More often than not you discover that you’re guilty until proven innocent.

They operate as judge, jury and executioner and most operate in a rather informal way compared to a court of law, even though they have sweeping legal powers. This informality means there is an absence of the protections that an accused person has in a regular court of law, such as the right to legal representation. The informality is also used as a way of disguising the iron fist in the velvet glove. By the time you discover the unpleasant truth it is most likely too late.

Regular law courts operate in a very formal way because this is the best possible guarantee of fair play, and the best way to guarantee the individual’s rights. Government, especially (but unfortunately not exclusively) those of a leftist persuasion dislike courts of law because they give the individual too many rights for the government’s liking.

If the government wants to strip its citizen of yet more time-honoured rights then tribunals are a very attractive option.

It’s just another example of creeping totalitarianism.