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How Juries Function as a Scapegoat Mechanism

My recent essay‘s size constraints didn’t permit me to elaborate on this but I do have a nuanced view of the jury system theory. I see it as a Christian revelation-influenced move away from private vendetta parties and mob violence. I recognize the English law system’s principles of habeas corpus, presumption of innocence, etc as Christian revelation-influenced protections of the individual person against the collective that are very good.

However, in practice, the jury system still functions within a kind of already, not yet space. Already leavened by Christian personhood-affirming structures of law but not yet completely shed of its sacrificial origins in archaic religion. Nonviolent persons I define as people charged with crimes without victims, meaning when the police wrote the report they put the “People of the State of ___” because there really is no injured party to redress grievances. I argue that for a community to send deadly agents to enforce a victimless crime law, no matter what it is, is an act of scapegoating. I believe the scapegoat mechanism is continued in the act of putting said person in a cage with actual violent persons in which assault is commonplace and escape is impossible. The scapegoat mechanism begins with the performative lie of the collective’s agents being sent with the option of deadly force to confront something that no sane person would have moral right to use deadly force as an individual: broken tail lights, late child support payments, drug possession, consensual adult prostitution, unlicensed hair salon, etc, etc. The lie is performed by the community by their treatment of the person as if they are violent when in fact they are not. The idea of placing someone in a cage is a performative lie (embodied communication and false witness through collective action). The person is cast outside the camp, other-ized, counted among the violent and dangerous, and dehumanized. – David Gornoski

The Importance of Consistent Nonviolence in Society

Once you allow the collective to use violence against a single nonviolent act like opium use, you open the moral authority for them to use violence to punish other nonviolent acts…like speech they deem hateful, wages they deem too low, milk that is not pasteurized, lack of health insurance, etc. The moral principle of Jesus-imitating nonviolence must be consistently applied lest we enter the chaos of democracies that scapegoat misfits and dissenters based on the latest whims of the crowd.

A Neighbor’s Choice Ep. 4: What is Violence?

What is violence? In a world where speech purity codes increasingly obscure and obfuscate violence, David Gornoski defines violence and how a society should prevent it through law. This lays the groundwork for the A Neighbor’s Choice theme of “no violence against nonviolent persons.”

Hosted by writer and speaker David Gornoski, A Neighbor’s Choice is a media platform and weekly show that examines the role of violence and religion in public life.

Subscribe for fresh new content and visit http://www.aneighborschoice.com for essays, teaching tools, and how you can be a part of A Neighbor’s Choice. Support A Neighbor’s Choice radio show and media platform here: http://aneighborschoice.com/contribute/

David Gornoski’s essays are featured at publications such as The American Conservative, FEE.org, Lewrockwell.com, WND.com, and AffluentInvestor.com.

A Neighbor’s Choice Ep. 2: Daryl Davis’s Accidental Courtesy

In A Neighbor’s Choice radio episode 2, David Gornoski speaks with Daryl Davis, star of the fascinating documentary Accidental Courtesy. A vaunted African American blues musician who has played with some of the all-time greats, Daryl Davis uses his love of music and Americana to reach out to leaders of the KKK. “How can you hate me if you don’t even know me?” he asks them.

Accidental Courtesy airs on PBS Feb. 13 at 10pm ET. It is also available in select theaters and will debut on ITunes on Feb. 21. Watch the trailer here.