Community Law

Ten Principles

For readers reviewing this text as an extract, the big 'G' Government refers to the top-down establishment, MSN to "Managing the Spiritual Neighborhood."

If we are to lift government out of the void into which it has lapsed, a number of principles must be restored. Wise administration depends on cosmic support, which comes from global enlightenment—putting society back on the spiritual path—but there are, in addition, action steps that go hand-in-hand with spiritual growth. You might term them principles of law, but I see them as principles of life. I suggest these notions are so fundamental they require no logical justification. Indeed, to argue logically would be to disregard their intuitive basis. These principles are not manufactured by lawyers; rather, they are cognized by people with a higher sense of humanity. Such a sense is partly innate and partly developed. We come into the world with a certain measure of fairness and compassion, but it requires growth to make it blossom. There do exist people who exhibit this sort of spiritual development, but their voices have been drowned by the clamor of those in the punitive camp.

I. Spirituality

The first and most important principle: Law and justice must be administered by spiritually evolved people. By this we mean to include four aspects of spiritual growth (see MSN, section 4.5): (1) adopting a preventive mind-set, (2) refined awareness, (3) distinguishing the inner realm and (4) growth of character. It's clear that modern administration falls short in this regard. One need only observe the extent of big G's enforcement apparatus—the proliferation of weapons, the global reach of its destructive arsenal, the prison system, the surveillance network. It all reflects a policy steeped in fear and obsessed with force. Government today is, if anything, anti-spiritual. In every office, in every capacity we have the wrong kind of people leading us.

It's not possible to identify spiritually developed leaders through an electoral process. Nor can we turn to existing authorities for help. An ignorant man cannot be expected to nominate an evolved one—not reliably anyway. We do acknowledge, however, that there exist a few potentially enlightenable individuals working in government. The challenge lies in getting them to recognize alternatives to the reactive mode of administration. How that can happen is not fully clear. Finding authentically spiritual administrators might be the biggest obstacle to implementing community law. See the discussion in principle VI, Character, where the position of Community Conscience Advocate is introduced.

II. Intimacy

The second community law principle requires that interaction between jurists and the public must take place in an intimate setting. Respect and dignity will be maintained, but formalities will be abandoned in favor of familial communication. No longer will the fate of a community member be decided by people who do not know him or her personally and well. Judges, juries, prosecutors, attorneys, lawmakers ... they must all be as brothers and sisters with each other and with the people they judge and represent. If there's no community history between them and the concerned party, they shouldn't be involved in decisions regarding that party. If they haven't taken an interest in a man's life before, they have no business doing so in a chamber of law.

Principle II will contradict rules that call for parties who have a "prejudicial" outlook to be barred from participating. The current law reflects flawed thinking among modern administrators. Indeed, it reflects flaws in the structure of society. The idea, it seems, is to be aloof and objective when passing judgment. Everything about court proceedings reflects this—from the way judges distance themselves, to the strict rituals in taking testimony, to the presence of bailiffs, to the practice of not even allowing jurors to speak. It all reflects an unnatural stance, fully impersonal and purely judgmental. In contrast, we would like to take the judgmentalism out of judgment. We want the jurists to be prejudiced; that is, to be biased toward forgiveness. A responsible elder always wants to see a wayward child return to the fold.

This principle will likely negate most court-specific rules of order. In Iowa's Judicial District 8, for example, it will do away with such bizarre requirements as no hand-shaking and no expressions of gratitude. In contrast, the new paradigm will encourage not only hand-shaking, but pressing cheeks, kissing hands, warm hugs, nodding, bowing, smiling, blessing and every other expression of cordiality customary in a close-knit society. If you are by nature a warm, friendly individual, jurists should prefer that you be your natural self.[1] In this fashion we will eliminate the need for "contempt of court" citations. Contemptuous people will act contemptuously, and the court and everyone else will fully understand and accept this. Not that it's going to help the person in any way, but we're certainly not going to lock him or her up because of it.

As a corollary to the intimacy principle, the government should not maintain records with personal information, such as date-of-birth, residential history, criminal convictions, biometric data and so on. Nor should communities issue the sort of identifying documents that authorities now require—driver's license, green card, passport, etc. (See the "ID Free Zone" proposal in the MSN action plan.) When people live in a familial environment, the essence of their social persona is established through personal interaction, rather than electronic record keeping. No one needs to ask you for an ID because they already know who you are. They won't need to run your name through a computer any more than a mother needs to run her child's name through a computer. Your personal history will be commingled with the history of the community.

III. Uniqueness

The application of law must consider the particular circumstances of the individual to whom it is applied. We'll call this the "in the moment" principle. All laws, common, codified and constitutional, and everything attendant—procedures, penalties, guidelines—will be flexibly administered, with adjustments occurring on an ad hoc basis. Every person, every situation, every location and circumstance are unique and will be treated differently from every other event, past or present. This is a critical shift in thinking. No more will there be black-and-white decisions based strictly on the dictates of the code. Humans beings are not robots; applying the law to human concerns cannot be like swapping out a part on a machine.

Again we find that key elements in the law—the notion of legal "precedent," the idea that the rules be applied equally to everyone, requirements for mandatory sentencing—will be abandoned. Rather than searching the records to see what some other court decided in some other case, we will always look afresh at what is happening in front of us right now. Rather than treating everyone as identical under the law and the law itself as inviolable, we will give utmost respect to a person's individuality, to view him not merely as a man or woman subject to the code but as a fellow community member whose history, standing and character are distinct from the history, standing and character of every other person on earth. A compassionate jurist would always consider an individual's financial condition in determining, for example, how big a fine to impose, or indeed, if a fine should be imposed at all. He would always look at the person's responsibilities before he thought about consigning him to jail. A wise jurist will examine a man's circumstances prior to any factual evidence in a case. In other words, you look at the person before you look at the law. The code is not forgotten; rather, it's relegated to a secondary position. Flexibility and forgiveness are what drive our decisions.

It will take special people to administer the law in this fashion, administrators who don't have to keep pulling out law books for guidance but are skilled at discovering what's in their own hearts. Such people do exist. They are a bit scarce and might be engaged in other activities, but we need to track them down and offer them positions that do justice to their abilities.

IV. Community

Principle four allows that the needs of the community in which a person resides, including his or her family, friends, co-workers, employers and so forth, be taken into consideration in the administration of law and the determination of justice. The focus on individuals will give way to a vision where people are not seen as discrete entities, but as an integral part of a social network. And not just any social network, but, in accordance with principle II, the network which includes those who are passing judgment. Thus, when an individual must be punished, it becomes a punishment for everyone in the community. This further implies that any fines, service or jail time can, and logically should, be served by the convicted man's fellow citizens. Here we have another fundamental change in legal thought: the notion that it's acceptable for one person to take another's punishment. The stand-in could be a relative, a neighbor, teacher, business associate, etc. Going a step further, we see that the party or parties who deliver the judgment should also be ready to accept the penalty. Rather than condemning a man to prison, judges and prosecutors should offer up their own freedom in the interest of community harmony. The universal thinking among judicial administrators is that we must make an example of the offender. In the new paradigm, jurists will use themselves as the example.

A court will be extremely cautious about incarcerating someone knowing the community might need the defendant to be free more than they need the judge or the prosecutor. Any fines and penalties will be seriously moderated knowing that the court officers can better afford to pay than the person they convict. As a minimum, prosecutors who get it wrong, who penalize someone later found to be innocent, should be required to make amends by accepting the same penalty. Their integrity should be such that they volunteer for this atonement. This is the high bar we want to set for judicial service. Moreover, if the prosecutors do put someone away, they must assume that man's or woman's responsibilities, including the care of his dependants. If you send a kid's mother to jail, that kid is yours until his mom gets out. If you send a company's employee to jail, you had better be ready to do that employee's job.

As an extension of the community principle, a buddy system should be instituted whereby every individual brought within the sphere of justice is allowed—indeed, encouraged—to have his or her buddy with him during every step of the process. Thus, if a cop wants to arrest a man, he must first summon the man's buddy. No buddy, no arrest. If an investigator wants to question someone, the person's buddy must be present during the interrogation. If a summons is issued, it must also be issued to the buddy. If we do decide to lock someone up, the buddy must be allowed to accompany the person to jail, to come and go as he pleases, communicate as often as he needs to and stay as long as he wants. If the buddy volunteers to serve his friend's time, their roles will be reversed, and the person sentenced will come and go as he pleases.

If a buddy isn't available, we should supply one. One possibility is to establish a group of volunteer buddies and keep them on stand-by for this purpose.

V. Money

Principle five requires that judicial priorities regarding money be downgraded. The amount of money in dispute will be subordinate to the health, comfort and occupational necessities of the disputants. Courts will address matters of money only when hardship—physical, not mental—has been suffered. Note, this might include hardship for the community as a whole. If both parties are wealthy and neither has been rendered poor by the other's action, nor has the community been hurt, they must settle their own differences. This does not mean stealing, cheating, fraud, etc. is condoned; rather, matters of this sort will be examined only if the community needs to better understand the character of the accused.

A person who deprives another of his property is expected to replace that property. The less well-off his victim, the quicker he should be about restitution. If you steal a poor man's bicycle, you're in deeper trouble than if you steal a wealthy man's Cadillac. On the other hand, if one billionaire swindles another, rendering him a mere multi-millionaire, no judicial action will be taken on behalf of the injured party. Instead, we will note the actions of the swindler—assuming we can determine which it is—and quietly inform others of his misdeeds. Depriving a community of its common property requires a similar remedy—a restoration of what was lost. If, for example, you pollute the community's water supply, it's not enough to pay a fine; rather, you must restore the supply to its original state.

A corollary to this principle is that a wealthy litigant cannot use his wealth to strengthen his position. More precisely, he can use that wealth—for example, to hire expensive counsel—but such action will be counted against him. Furthermore, lawyers who get rich practicing the law will incur community displeasure. Jurists should be strongly biased in this regard. They should look more favorably on the clients of lawyers with moderate fees. What "moderate" means depends on the community, but generally speaking, legal fees should be orders of magnitude lower. A lawyer should not get paid more than, say, a farm worker.

Bail procedures will be abandoned. A community member will always be trusted to appear; personal recognizance will always be granted. A person who can't be so trusted doesn't belong in the community in the first place.

Disputes regarding intellectual property should be given lower priority. From a community standpoint, we'd like to move away from the model of trademarks, patents, copyrights and proprietary design, and in the direction of open source, fair use, creative commons and public domain access. Again, the guiding principle should not be the amount of money or earnings potential in dispute, but the health, comfort and security of the parties involved. Integrity does matter, and people who plagiarize, counterfeit or claim as their own the ideas of another will certainly be marked as cheaters and risk being ostracized. On the other hand, practices like the trademarking of common words and expressions must be curtailed.

Courts for their part will charge nothing for their services apart from the salary employees normally draw. No more will litigants be forced to pay court costs, regardless of the length or outcome of a case. Punitive monetary damages will no longer be awarded, nor will jurists tolerate exaggerated claims of monetary injury. If it's possible for a guilty party to return what he or she has taken or otherwise make his victim whole, he can do so. If he does, it will repair his injured standing in the community; if not, the damage to his reputation will suffice as punishment. Good community standing outweighs other considerations.

Money laundering—that is, concealing income from administrators—will no longer be seen as a crime. The principle is that community leaders should not be tracking every nickle a person handles. Money oriented administration must be supplanted by a society where conscience, trust and goodwill are the measure of social standing. In this regard, our system of accounting must be overhauled and simplified. Rather than worrying about the size of a person's bank account, we will instead consider the contribution he makes to community maintenance—how generous, or gluttonous as it were, he or she is—and take steps to deal with those who fall deliberately short in their obligations. How a person makes his money does matter—one would not condone extortion, fraud, predatory enterprises and so on—but that's a separate issue.

VI. Character

The sixth principle introduces character assessment into community justice and creates the position of Community Conscience Advocate (CCA), a person skilled in determining character. As with the requirement that jurists be spiritually evolved, this principle assigns weight to a personal quality, or rather, an integrated set of qualities. Character, like spirituality, morality and responsibility, is difficult to define or even recognize. Assessments are all over the map depending on who is making them. Carriage, speech, civility, as well as an individual's reputation all contribute. Especially important is attention to the needs of family, friends and community.

It's not possible to determine character objectively, from a distance. You can't, for example, deduce a person's character from testimony given by others. Nor will an interview, or even several interviews suffice. For the assessment to be valid, there must be extended interaction, intimate and personal. This implies that you are, in fact, affecting the person's character even as you assess it. Over time the contact between you determines to some extent the sort of character a person develops. Furthermore, there is the subjective angle, where one is biased toward seeing positive attributes simply because we prefer that outcome.

The character principle will come into play when legal action is considered against an individual, but before any concrete steps are taken. A CCA would be so familiar with the character of the person that based on his assessment alone, judicial authorities could decide no prosecution is called for. The CCA's testimony is respected because he or she has over time become closely acquainted with the party in question. There will be enough CCAs distributed throughout the community that every household will be familiar with the one serving their neighborhood, and the CCA, for his part, will make it his business to be intimate with all of them. Not that he's going to force himself on anyone, but he will endeavor to be engaging in a neighborly way.

The CCA will become the focal point for applying back pressure on big G. He will understand the character of not only the people under his charge, but also the attorneys and court officers of his region. There will normally be several CCAs in a given jurisdiction, and they will confer periodically about how jurists are behaving. If there is a prosecutor who is vindictive, an enforcement agent who is cruel, a functionary who is petty or a judge who shows no leniency, the CCAs will be aware of it and will incorporate that knowledge into their advice about whether a case should go forward. It's possible a wrongdoer could be let off because the jurists who would have handled the case have shown they are bad actors. Needless to say, public servants who persist in ignorant behavior will not keep their jobs very long. Not that the CCA can fire anyone, but he will be the conduit for expressing community displeasure.

The advice of a CCA does not carry the legal force of a written statute. Nor should it. The idea is to de-formalize the judicial process. Jurists can choose to ignore the CCA's counsel, but those who do could damage their own reputation as a CCA's integrity, spiritual evolution and community standing will be so impeccable that rarely would anyone contradict his recommendation. His particular specialty will be character assessment. Every so often one encounters a person with the ability to know a man's heart. You might see it as the power to read minds, but, again, assessing character is not an exclusively objective exercise. The individual who performs this role lives close enough to the people he assesses, physically and spiritually, that his mere proximity affects how character evolves.

Such intimacy distinguishes our incorporation of character into the judicial process from the way it appears now. In a purely objective setting, the hands-off attitude of the person making the assessment creates hostility; his or her aloof posture is counterproductive. In our new model, there is an underlying assumption that we are all family, and judgments are made with a forgiving heart. Thus we eliminate defamation claims. In the new order, defamation lawsuits against CCAs will not be allowed.

Our aim is to elevate character to its rightful position in matters of law and justice, and to recognize those among us who can discuss character without becoming blatantly judgmental. We speak of reading minds, but it's not all that mysterious. Just opening up with a person, even with a casual chat, can reveal profound depths of personality. There's an ocean of intelligence within each individual. When one cosmic being connects with another, a synergy emerges; knowledge flows freely between the speakers. Big G enforcers, in contrast, work from the opposite extreme. Rather than pursuing openness, they skulk in dark corners—spying, eavesdropping and recording data for use against you. Rather than looking to influence your character through personal attention, they want to destroy your character with prosecution-minded snooping. Big G employs a vast intelligence network to collect data that reveal nothing about the inner self, when they could simply talk to a guy and discern his innermost feelings in a natural way.

Assessing Character: The Manhattan Project Scientists

To illustrate the extremes to which the assessment of character can diverge, consider the team that worked on the Manhattan project, individuals ostensibly among the most evolved in the world—certainly the most intellectual. Robert Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe, Richard Feynman, Enrico Fermi ... brilliant researchers who uncovered some of the deepest principles of modern science. In his biography of Richard Feynman, Lawrence Krauss relates how impressed Feynman was with "Oppie", the project leader, how he was "touched by Oppenheimer's concern and consideration," how Oppenheimer showed "uncommon concern about the well-being of each and every person he had recruited." Said Feynman, "Oppenheimer was extremely human,"[2] particularly in helping to find accommodations and care for Feynman's young wife, who had tuberculosis. Hans Bethe, another key player as head of the theoretical division, who became a "role model"[3] for Feynman, is described as having a "calm yet persistent strength of character ... essential in helping to guide [the division scientists], put out fires, and, above all, put up with their idiosyncrasies."[4]

According to Krauss, Feynman wrote thirty-two letters to his wife in the final four months of her life (she was in Albuquerque, he in Los Alamos). She died on June 16, 1945, and a month later, on the 15th of July, the first test of the atomic bomb took place in the New Mexico desert. In three weeks time, the project team savored the fruits of their labor as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed and obliterated. Fatherly, humane Robert Oppenheimer, who cared about everyone, calm, rock-solid role model Hans Bethe and loving, devoted husband Richard Feynman calmly sweetly murdered something on the order of 100,000 people at the press of a button. Give credit, at least, to Oppenheimer who recognized what he was. He recalled a line from the Bhagavad Gita on witnessing the Trinity test, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

In any rational view, these men are the worst sort of criminals. Not only in their blithe killing of tens of thousands of innocent Japanese, but with their deadly nuclear legacy, which still plagues humanity today. Fermi died at age fifty-three from cancer likely brought about by his work developing nuclear reactors, a karmic consequence if there ever was one as his experiments set the stage for the construction of the Hanford plutonium plant—a facility that poisoned the soil and groundwater with radiation that will persist for centuries.

Men of conscience? Men of humanity?

The deeper question is, were any of these men thinking clearly? That is, did they fathom the intelligent connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .text truncated

Figure A.3 Assessing Character: The Manhattan Project

In judicial matters, a CCA's assessment should carry equal, if not greater weight than factual evidence. It's possible to imagine a case where the facts suggest misconduct, but the defendant's character overwhelms any contrary evidence. In the event a community member testifies against a person of high character, the witness, rather than the defendant could suffer adverse consequences. As with jurists who vindictively prosecute, witnesses are also subject to damaging blowback. But community law aims to avoid these adversarial scenarios altogether. The idea is to prevent cases from progressing to the stage where subpoenas are issued, warrants executed, formal testimony recorded and so on. If we have to go to that extreme, it indicates a failure of the community and a punishment for all of us.

Although extended contact is required for character assessment to be fully valid, we should note there are patterns of behavior that give evidence of a lack of spiritual maturity. Among the more common is that of the jingoistic patriot, often found among members of the military. Another is the petty legalist, a person who lectures about the "rule of law," and can't communicate unless by Robert's Rules of Order. Judges are typical examples. It's not necessarily poor character these people display—though there are certainly bad actors among them—as it is stalled development. The individual has the potential to become a person of character, but poor upbringing has produced a villain. Unfortunately, such people are often guilty of the most atrocious acts—perhaps not personally, but indirectly, through their office. I count incarceration among these atrocities.

A corollary to the character principle is that jurists will no longer entertain poorly informed claims, declarations or arguments related to mental processes. Legal arguments based on the notion of "intent" should generally be disallowed, as intent is a very subtle quality that few, if any, lawyers understand. For the same reason, courts will not allow briefs that seek to prove "mental anguish" or "emotional distress." Nor will we allow prosecutors to identify "malice aforethought" or "hate crime," as hate and malice are properties of the human psyche most of us do not grasp. We won't permit psychologists to submit opinions about the mental state of defendants unless they can demonstrate a firm comprehension of the cosmic side of human existence. Since most psychologists do not possess such comprehension, jurists should be strongly biased against entertaining litigation that touches on this field. Psychologists do have a role in society, but their role should not encroach on the legal arena. The absurd extravagance of declaring a man mentally unfit for trial and remanding him to an institution where he will supposedly be cured and then brought back to face justice must cease. Any mentally questionable person who is allowed to commit a serious crime calls into question not his own fitness, but that of the community and of society. If anyone deserves punishment in such a case, it is the leaders and administrators who failed to properly supervise that person. If a trained psychologist wants to apply his or her skills to the administration of law, the best course is to become a CCA. This will accelerate his own spiritual development and add a measure of subjectivity to his analytical arsenal.

VII. Free Expression

Principle seven eliminates the concept of perjury. Oaths will no longer be administered—neither oaths of office, oaths of allegiance, testimonial oaths or any other sort of avowal. Not only will we not command people to "swear to tell the truth," we will, in fact, instruct them to speak their minds in whatever fashion they choose, no matter how evasive, imaginative or delusional they appear to be. Indeed, we will encourage them to flat make things up if that's their inclination. Nor will it matter that a person's testimony is consistent over time. Recanting, retracting and on-the-fly fabrication are all acceptable. Reality is different for different observers, and truth is different depending not only on who proclaims it, but on the proclaimer's level of consciousness. One person's version of events may be quite different from another's, yet both might be valid. We're striving for completely free expression, unencumbered by external pressure—no threats, no judgment, no coercion and never any penalty. This is what freedom of speech should mean—to express yourself in the most natural manner. Moreover, you should be allowed to remain fully silent, grand juries notwithstanding.

This principle is a natural follow-on to the character principle. When there exists intimate acquaintance, as they would be in a true community, people already know how an individual will testify before he utters a word. A good CCA can read between the lines; he is sensitive to subtle variations in expression that reveal as much as the actual utterance. He can tell when a person is trying to exonerate himself, incriminate someone else or is simply engaged in obfuscation. The CCA will be acquainted with a person's upbringing and environment and will have already discovered that the individual has a habit of, say, exaggerating circumstances or bending facts. It's not that we condemn the person for such behavior; rather, we're aware of how he or she operates. Knowing the extent of imagination in an individual allows the community to properly accommodate him.

With this principle we once again turn the existing paradigm on its head. Much agonizing takes place in judicial settings over who said what, when they said it, was there a conspiracy to deceive and so on. The procedures involved in taking testimony—the maneuvering, the obsession with detail, the deliberate attempt to trip-up witnesses—are unnatural to the point of insult. It shows that in this age, in this society every vestige of honor has disappeared. The practice of administering oaths and of threatening to punish oath breakers produces the opposite effect of what's intended. Such unblinking scrutiny creates a barrier to free and open communication, undermining the establishment of a truthful environment. In a nurturing environment, oaths aren't necessary because deception is never needed; the truth is always obvious. With our total reliance on oaths and formal examination, we exclude vital knowledge that originates from intuitive sources developed through the natural interactions and relationships among members of a close-knit society.

Now, if you want to talk about absolute truth, there are settings far more appropriate than a courtroom. Absolute truth should, in fact, already be established in good jurists by virtue of their progress on the spiritual path. As for oaths of office, a thousands oaths will not guarantee a person's integrity. If we must administer an oath to ensure a public servant acts rightly, then we have selected the wrong person for the job.

To see how this principle might apply, let's examine the case of our Camp Springs slasher friend, Skip (see MSN, chapter 2). Recall how he warned that if I told anyone about his aggressive assault, he would simply deny everything. With this bold declaration, Skip unwittingly demonstrates just how dysfunctional the system is. Not only does it fail to properly deal with characters of his ilk, it actually protects and encourages them. The complete dependence on sworn testimony ignores, indeed, deliberately excludes, the abundance of information readily available to any alert community member. Regardless of whether Skip carried out the attack he described, his mere stating that he did, his willingness to associate with such violence, his braggadocio about behavior that is repugnant to people of good breeding tell us all we need to know. A responsible administrator would run this guy out of town based solely on his vulgar boast. People who speak in that fashion do not belong in civilized society. For that matter, neither do the cops and enforcers whose own violent machismo rivals that of Skip's. At a basic level, Skip and the cops are blood relatives, and the jurists who indulge such as they are the mothers who give them birth.

Note that freedom of expression applies not only to defendants, but to anyone who participates in the judicial process, including judges, prosecutors, attorneys, jurors and witnesses. Whatever constraints that apply should not arise from intellectual legalisms, but from deeper cultural norms that develop in an authentic spiritual tradition. If, for example, a prosecutor shakes a juror's hand and says "good job," the trial shouldn't be halted for jury tampering. If a defense attorney, or even the defendant himself, has lunch with the judge and picks up the tab, it shouldn't be considered judicial misconduct. If a spectator in the gallery rises to comment on the proceeding, he shouldn't be ejected from the courtroom. This relates back to the intimacy principle. Jurists, counselors, decision makers and community members must all behave as family, as a cohesive, cooperative unit.

VIII. Consensus

The democratic system calls for decisions to be made by a majority of voters. Electoral, legislative and judicial actions all work in this fashion. The eighth principle of community law requires that when an important decision is made, there must be full agreement among the decision makers. As with a jury, they must all speak with one voice, but unlike a jury, they cannot fail to reach a verdict. For decisions that matter, there cannot be any hung-jury mistrials.

Given the current state of politics, it's clear most people in government will balk at this principle. There are several reasons. First, in the top-down system, big G has become so big that it's no longer possible to have confidence in your representatives. They are far too remote. If we adhered to principle II and administered law more intimately, the leadership would command greater respect and confidence from their constituents and from each other. They would, moreover, not be enacting legislation that applies to culturally distinct and geographically diverse populations. Local communities would naturally adopt laws suited to their own social ecology. Second, in violation of principle I, we don't have enlightened people working in government. As decision makers evolve, animosity among them will diminish and full agreement become more common. Note that because of the scarcity of enlightened people, we often witness unanimous decisions that are nevertheless wrong. The jury system illustrates this. As with our judges, people selected for juries are strongly judgmental. They don't recognize the connection between themselves and those whom they judge, but see their roll as meting out punishment.

The third reason the consensus principle will be hard for people to accept is that society as a whole doesn't know what's important and what isn't. Why? Because most of us are not thinking clearly; that is, we don't experience thoughts that spring from the deeper levels of our being. When people don't know what's important, their opinions could be poles apart and no compromise even possible. Finally, we make all of our decisions in a purely objective manner, analyzing facts in a strictly logical fashion. That is, in a manner we think is logical. In reality, if you don't understand what's important, your problem-solving logic is a failure from the outset. It seems counterintuitive, but by incorporating subjectivity into decision making, the clarity improves. When you can see the bigger picture, the correct action becomes more spontaneous, less conflictual.[8]

When objective avenues lead to an impasse, we should fall back on something completely different, such as jyotish (Vedic astrology). It's a radical departure from typical methods, but one with a long pedigree, earned over thousands of years of civilization. Jyotish uses objective data from the observation of celestial bodies, but is subjective in terms of how the data are interpreted. Without understanding how it works (and it's not clear anyone does), one can nevertheless surmise that the best astrologers are those who are well in tune with their inner self, who are highly evolved, in other words. Not that this would guarantee the accuracy of their recommendations, but it makes us feel better about consulting them. Our intuitive sense is reinforced, and this is a key aspect in making decisions—to feel that what you're doing is right.

For those who might view this approach as impractical or unorthodox, one need only examine the way legislators thrash about now—clobbering each other over weeks and months, creating pork and perks to appease this guy or that, attaching amendments completed unrelated to the issue at hand and entrenching themselves in ever more polarized positions. They then turn around and un-write laws they worked so hard to enact simply because a different party has assumed the majority. And it's not just lawmakers, but justices, including the Supreme Court, who can't agree on the most elementary questions, arguing over cases that should not have left the domain of community administration in the first place. The Supreme Court exemplifies the worst aspects of modern administration. The fact that we have split decisions by itself tells us the law is not working. When a case gets all the way to the Supreme Court, one would assume it's a serious issue. To engage the nine wisest men and women in the land must surely mean the question before them carries great import. So how could these nine Solomons not know the right course of action? How could they disagree? Not just disagree, but pass down the wrong decision from a divided court. And there have been many such errors over the years. If there were anyone with spiritual substance on that court, and he was faced with making a critical choice, but his views were discarded in a split decision, he ought to simply resign. He or she should not allow his integrity as a leader, as a decision maker, to be compromised by people of inferior substance. And that's what's actually wrong with these judges: None of them have any principles, any real moral compass. A person of true integrity and character would not only resign when faced with such ignorance, he would start a rebellion. If the issue carries such importance that the highest court in the land must make a choice, and they fail in that duty, the only thing left is to throw these people out. If that's not possible, then you must disengage, decline to participate in a broken system.

We've globalized law and justice, just as we globalized economy, celebrity, agriculture and everything else. The result is an unholy mess. Government is in a fearfully confused state, and the only way out is to concentrate our efforts locally, which means to come together, work together and recognize the most clear thinking and farsighted people in our own communities, including those among us who are proficient in subjective technologies.

IX. Force

The ninth principle concerns an aspect of law we've discussed in some detail: the use of force.[9] It's such a deeply ingrained element that you may question whether suggestions in this regard will be dismissed out of hand. The premise is this: The administration of law must move deliberately away from punitive, coercive measures and in the direction of prevention, education and voluntary compliance. How far we can move depends on how enlightened is the community, including how coherent people are as a self-governing entity. If communities adopted the previous eight principles, in particular the introduction of the community conscience advocate, we would take a big step toward checking and eventually dislodging the enforcers in government. I suggest a town like Fairfield Iowa, with its small size, low crime, remote location and relatively high degree of spiritual evolution, has the potential to realize what conventional thought would view as impossible. Some measures that should be adopted are:

  • Disarm police officers. No guns, no tasers, no pepper spray.
  • Do away with arrests in all circumstances. If we'd like a person to come into custody, we will request that he do so, and he or she will comply voluntarily. No restraints, handcuffs, ankle bracelets, etc.
  • No radar traps, traffic stops or police chases. If we're unhappy with a person's driving, we'll ask a CCA to have a chat with him.
  • No local incarcerations. Remove the cages and convert the jailhouse into something more becoming to an enlightened community.
  • Begin a moratorium on residential foreclosures and evictions other than for outright destruction of property. Suspend tax sales. Research ways to allow occupants to continue their current living arrangements indefinitely.[10]
  • Eliminate the cutting-off of critical utilities (heat and water) for lack of payment
  • Eliminate late fees and penalties in all government business. Government should neither pay these fees (e.g., to banks) nor collect them. Make all taxes and fees payable on a voluntary basis. Never impose a fine; rather, request that it be paid.
  • Consider a "shared space" street plan for pedestrians and vehicles where traffic controls and street signs are eliminated.[11]
  • Consider a "garden zone management" plan, including community patrols as described in MSN (chapter 5).

All of these measures must, of course, be voluntary. If we used coercion, we'd be violating the very principle we propose.

X. Sovereignty

Local authority is supreme. This is the bottom-up principle. It warrants that outside agents, including state and federal authorities, cannot interfere with local decision making. This again contradicts laws, conventions and court rulings rooted in centralized, top-down philosophy. The extent of local jurisdiction is determined by cultural and geographic factors. We define a sovereign region to be an area where there exist some number of natural communities sharing similar characteristics. A natural community requires by definition that each subgroup possess a strong shared spirit.[12]

Local sovereignty must be upheld even in matters concerning national interests. If the federal government mandates, for example, that undocumented workers in a particular area be rounded up and that local police should carry out this enforcement (e.g., by way of the "Secure Communities" initiative of the DHS), community leaders can override that order. If young men are required to serve in the national militia, but the community feels such service should be voluntary, local policy takes priority. If the feds approve a radio tower, a mining operation, a pipeline, a highway or other infrastructure or resource extraction project within the community's geographic boundaries, or near enough to affect its quality of life, the project cannot go forward unless it receives local approval.

Regional boundaries are not determined by land survey—they are not etched on a cartographer's vellum; rather, they are flexible and reflect the natural features of a supporting ecosystem. Of course, disagreements are still possible between neighboring regions, in which case third-party mediation might be necessary, but if each community is strongly self-sufficient, the potential for conflict will be less, and there will be less need for the kind of infrastructure that currently comes under federal control: pipelines, power lines, interstate commerce and so forth.[13] Moreover, if communities are authentically spiritual, especially with regard to their stewardship of the land, they will all be working with the same priorities and will thus be more respectful of their neighbor's needs. Given that municipalities today have a specific geographic extent, communities wishing to establish sovereignty should begin with their existing legal boundaries and then work toward defining a territory that considers the ecosystem.

Sovereignty also applies to cultural issues. If, for example, tradition calls for women to wear purple tunics and men to sport full beards, outside authorities cannot mandate that white tunics and whiskerless chins be accommodated. The community's tolerance, or lack of such, for non-traditional practices must be respected regardless of considerations of discrimination. Indeed, discrimination will be encouraged when it comes to indigenous customs and traditions; which is to say, those that arise from authentic cognitions of evolved people and that become established over a long period—generations. The sovereignty principle thus derives its validity from the spirituality principle. Without spiritually evolved leaders, the protections of sovereignty are baseless.

That said, even customs that don't appear evolutionary or morally palatable from an outsider's perspective should in general be left alone. We can't go into tribal areas and tell them how raise their kids, cook their food, treat their women and so on. At least, that is, we can't force them into something. The best we can do if we perceive that people are mistreating each other or the environment is to share our spiritual knowledge (such as with the TM technique[14]) so that the evolution of that group might progress. The key here is authenticity. The people of Iowa, for example, have occupied the region for 150 years since driving the native Americans out. One might think Iowans have had a long enough time to develop authentic culture, but clearly this hasn't happened. Much as people in these parts like to think of themselves as natives, they still behave for the most part as plundering invaders. On the other hand, we're forced to admit that the culture of Arab-Muslim tribes in a place like Saudi Arabia is valid and that its integrity must be respected despite our concerns about the use of harsh sharia law practices. What this implies is not all tribes are created equal and not all indigenous cultures are enlightened. This does not, however, mean it's business as usual with such as the Saudis. We should not be buying their oil and selling them fighter jets while they continue to stone women and behead sorcerers. In supplying ignorant people with sophisticated weaponry, we in the cultured West display equal ignorance.[15]

(Western culture is more correctly termed an anti-culture. Our cultural diet is delivered via wide-screen video: movies, television, video games, the Internet. As with remote government, the absence of personal interaction diminishes the spiritual value.)

Destructive practices like wildlife poaching, illegal logging and deforestation by rural villagers present a serious challenge to the sovereignty principle. It's a delicate area given the precarious state of the global environment. Still, such destruction often occurs because true indigenousness is weak or nonexistent. Such weakness can be attributed in large part to us—we who have imposed a top-down, globally dependent, money-centered economy and culture on native populations and in so doing destroyed whatever indigenous knowledge might have remained. In the U.S. we don't have indigenous traditions outside of Indian reservations. With community law, we're pinning our hopes on indigenousness returning once people get back on the spiritual path.

Here we must emphasize that control of the land must be ceded to those who live on the land, where living on the land means more than putting up a house. City dwellers do not live on the land, clearly. Nor do most suburbanites or, for that matter, modern commodity farmers. On the contrary, they destroy the land in order to inhabit it. At some point the juggernaut of urbanization must be brought to a halt. When people realize the value of the resource under their feet, they won't need Washington to tell them what they should do with it. Proper stewardship will evolve naturally, hand-in-hand with the spiritual evolution of the population. The land itself will be the teacher.

Regarding judicial decisions, local sovereignty won't stop people from appealing a case to superior courts, but neither will we feel obligated to abide the orders of jurists outside our region. That is to say, we reserve the right to decline to enforce decisions that conflict with our own. If an outside court decides, for example, that a man's wages be garnished, and he works for an employer in our community, but we disagree with the decision, we may ask the employer not to comply. If they warrant a community member be taken into custody, and we've determined the person should remain free, we will first of all instruct our own deputies to ignore the order and furthermore endeavor to dissuade foreign enforcers—FBI, federal marshals, state police, etc.—from carrying out the arrest. State and federal agents depend on the cooperation of local law enforcement; without it their job is much more difficult. We will deny them that cooperation and, moreover, take steps to prevent their surveillance of our friends and neighbors—no drones can be deployed in local airspace without our approval. It may seem we're outgunned in this regard given big G's capacity for spying, but when the entire community is cooperating, acting as one unified whole, it presents a formidable front against interlopers.

We do, of course, realize that "superior" authorities can ignore the sovereignty principle and force their will on a community. In that case we have no choice but to bend. We'll never win a war with these people by physically fighting them. Armed resistance is folly; it's a suicidal path. Not that people aren't trying it, but we as a spiritually advanced group must take the high road. We must discard any thoughts of armed insurrection. We will instead shame the barbarians into submission. We'll subdue them by attacking not their bodies, but their minds. We'll pierce their psychological armor with arrows of intelligence.[16]

Having said this, one must acknowledge that there are communities and peoples who have been pushed beyond the limits of endurance. Native Americans were so pushed, and they fought back, and lost, tragically, after centuries of disease, deprivation and slaughter. Similar scenarios are still playing out in other parts of the world. Indigenous groups everywhere are being pushed off the land—having their culture gutted, urbanized, modernized, disenfranchised in the name of progress. Who can fault them for resisting? We can't imagine the profound disruption in their lives, living as we do in the relative comfort of small-town America. Thus, for the Tibetans, the Uyghurs, the tribal Adivasi of India, the Kalahari Bushmen, the Kogi of Colombia and other groups threatened with extermination, we withhold judgment respecting any violent acts they commit in defense of sovereign rights because we have not the capacity to appreciate the pressure on them.

A number of strategies for counteracting outside interference are discussed in the action plan of MSN. The simplest way to deal with pressure from the DHS, for example, is to simply dissolve your police force. This would deprive federal authorities of a subservient local entity. As we've discussed, there's no need for a town as small and remote as Fairfield to even have police. Obviously, as a minimum, people must bring their own public servants into the fold, to convince them to respect first the decisions of local leaders. This requires education, which means communicating the sovereignty principle to young people. Civics, community centered, spiritually integrated and environmentally oriented, should be the first course students take.


In summary, we're advancing ten principles that correct fundamental deficiencies in government. Our aim is to direct the administration of law and justice onto a new path; or rather, to carry it back on the path it should have followed all along. We want to put the self back into self-government. This requires not a change in the law, but a change in us: how we think, how we live and how we interact.

There are, of course, many unstated implications within these ten principles and many details to unravel. What, for example, can we do about corporations that hurt the community? Would anyone volunteer to take, say, agri-giant Cargill's punishment should we find them guilty of harming Iowa's environment? How about the Iowa farmers who raise Cargill's hogs? Who would volunteer to be a buddy for one of them?

There may be situations where individuals or groups are both harming and helping us. Cambridge Investment Research, for example, employs local people and donates to good causes in town. But what is the nature of their business and whom do they serve? A Wall Street Journal article claimed Cambridge was working not just for the wealthy, but also lower income people.

"We serve the middle class as they're starting out and as they accumulate wealth," the Journal quoted CEO Eric Schwartz.[17]

Yet Cambridge is fully immersed in the credit-and-capital economy. One can make a compelling argument that the system in which limitless growth is the yardstick of economic health, and conscience takes a back seat to greed perpetuates poverty and accelerates environmental destruction.

The complex instruments in which Cambridge specializes are beyond the reach of people without financial sophistication or surplus capital. There are many extraordinary individuals in this town who fit one or both of these categories, and they will likely labor for low wages until they're too old to work, never tasting the luxuries, or even the ordinary comforts that savvy money manipulators enjoy. Moreover, the financial web that binds Cambridge, its clients, corporate associates and vested interests depends for its success on the activities of debt collectors and foreclosure specialists, whose targets are more often than not the working poor. Cambridge does not appear at its core to be a community oriented enterprise; rather, it is concerned with serving an elite group, while ignoring the needs of the community at large.

This brings up the question of what, if anything, a community can do about the wealth gap, which is readily apparent in greater Fairfield. It's a global issue, certainly, but can it be tackled at the grass roots in the same way we're tackling the law?

I suggest the answer is yes, but, as with the legal system, it must be approached as an issue of conscience, not coercion. With Cambridge, for example, we could suggest they deal exclusively in socially conscious investments—no weapons makers, no destructive agribusiness, etc.—and that they furthermore allow participation by investors with tiny portfolios; as little as a few hundred dollars, say. Issues concerning money are so touchy that people don't dare bring them up. It's become a matter of politeness—you never discuss someone else's wealth. It's ironic given how deeply entangled we are in a money-driven existence. I was surprised one time by a lady who stood up at a lecture on home construction and announced how much she was worth. She was not at all shy about revealing that her net assets were, like, $50,000. I think we can be fairly certain that none of the millionaires in town would make a similar announcement. But for most of them a declaration isn't necessary—their property holdings and their lifestyles tell us all we need to know. No one who can travel to Europe, to India or even to Florida every year is poor. No one who can attend a TM fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall is having trouble keeping a roof over his head. For some of us it's a challenge to take a friend to the airport, concerned as we are about the jalopy we're driving. But the $170 taxi fare makes you risk it. It's a deplorable way to live—chasing money, hoarding money, mapping your life's course based on money. We must change this. I suggest the best approach is to look at what specific resources are needed to hold the community together and then think about where those resources might originate. We'll do some of this in the action plan.

I apologize for once again indulging in a monotonous repetition of what must be obvious to the reader. Who doesn't recognize the wealth gap in the world? Who wouldn't want to correct a system that creates such cruel inequality? Yet behold the beast. I suggest many can see the problem, but few understand that the ultimate solution will emerge from a spiritual direction and that by taking action locally we can best accomplish change.

Community Law: Ten Principles

I. Spirituality. Administrators at all levels, in all branches of government must be spiritually evolved.

II. Intimacy. Interaction between jurists and the public takes place in a familial setting. Formalities are relaxed. Prejudicial views that favor forgiveness are encouraged. Disallow cultural determinations by lawyers. Discontinue the recording of personal data in government files.

III. Uniqueness. The in-the-moment principle. Laws are adjusted case-by-case in consideration of the circumstances of the individual(s) to whom they are applied. The practice of searching for legal precedent will be abandoned, as will mandatory sentencing. Look first at the person before you look at the law.

IV. Community. Judicial decisions take the needs of the community into account. A sentence imposed on an individual may be served by another community member, including the jurists themselves. A buddy must always be present during any proceeding, including arrests.

V. Money. The role of money in the legal process is sharply restricted; disputes over money receive lower priority. Jurists should be biased against litigants who seek an advantage using money and against lawyers who charge high rates for their services. Court costs and punitive damages are no longer assessed. Bail is no longer required.

VI. Character. Considerations of character are introduced such that character assessment carries equal or greater weight than factual evidence. Community conscience advocates will be called upon to provide accurate determinations. Assessments apply not only to defendants, but to plaintiffs, prosecutors, judges, jurors, witnesses, enforcement agents and attorneys. Character determination by a CCA is distinguished from the assessment of mental state by psychologists, which should generally be curtailed.

VII. Free Expression. Testimony is always regarded as truthful. Defendants are encouraged to express themselves freely and naturally without threat of punishment. This privilege applies to everyone involved in the judicial process, including judges, councilors, jurors, witnesses and observers. Perjury will no longer be recognized; oaths no longer administered.

VIII. Consensus. When an important decision is made, there must be unanimous agreement among a community's leaders. If a resolution proves difficult, decision makers should consider subjective methods such as Vedic astrology.

IX. Force. Coercive application of the law, with all its attendant procedures, equipment and facilities, is abandoned. Forceful methods are replaced by prevention, education and voluntary compliance.

X. Sovereignty. The bottom-up principle. The decisions of local leaders always take precedence over those of higher levels of government, including the judiciary. Authentic indigenous culture must be respected in a sovereign region. Control of the land must remain with the indigenous population.

Figure A.4 Ten Principles of Community Law

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[1]. Cf. Principle VII, Free Expression.

[2]. Lawrence M. Krauss, Quantum Man; Richard Feynman's Life in Science, (New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2011) ch. 6, p. 79

[3]. Ibid., ch. 6, p. 82

[4]. Ibid., ch. 6, p. 85

[5]. Carl Sagan, Cosmos, (New York, Random House, Inc, 1980) ch. 13, p. 318

[6]. Ibid., ch. 13, p. 320

[7]. Joseph Serna, "Stephen Hawking talks about unified theory and his biggest 'blunder'," The Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2013

[8]. Cf. MSN section 5.4.

[9]. See the addendum to MSN.

[10]. See "Residential Stability" and "Challenging the Culture of Eviction" in the action plan of MSN.

[11]. See "Pavement-Free Development" in the action plan of MSN.

[12]. The term "natural community" has recently come into use in legal circles to refer to the components of an ecosystem. The idea is that just as communities of people have defendable rights, so should the plants and critters. In this work we use the term in a different sense, one that is exclusively human. See MSN, section 5.6

[13]. See "Self-sufficiency" in the action plan of MSN

[14]. See MSN, section 5.5.

[15]. Lack of enlightenment calls into question the indigenous authenticity of the group. There are situations where authentic spiritual content initially present has been lost, corrupted or diluted over the centuries.

[16]. A different approach to civil disobedience involves writing code that challenges "settled law;" for example, a local ordinance that does away with corporate personhood, stripping corporations of their court-granted "constitutional" rights.

[17]. Daisy Maxey, "Wealth Advisor Rides Alone, Proudly," The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2010

[18]. In a Rolling Stone interview in February 2012, McCartney said he was finally quitting the cannabis habit.

© 2015 Alexander Gabis