Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 1,048, November 24, 2019

The Crazy Years

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A Decentralised Justice, Too
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

[Continued from Part One]

"Ladies and gentleman of the grand jury of Paradox Valley, please take your seats." Tyrone knocked his gavel a few times on a block of wood, and, continuing to see milling about, stood up. He moved back to a cabinet under the screen that so closely matched the wood of the wall around it that it was hardly visible from the other end of the room. When he opened the cabinet doors, a gong of about seven feet diameter was revealed, cleverly suspended in the cabinet which was itself carefully designed to cause the entire wall to act as a sounding board.

Tyrone took the large mallet hanging on a hook inside one door and struck the gong one time. It produced a deep booming note. Designs in an ancient calligraphy could be seen chased into the metal as it reverberated. The note filled the room. Silence reigned.

"Thank you. Now that we're all ready to sit, let's do so." Matching his words with deeds, Tyrone set the striker back on its hook and closed the cabinet doors, then returned to his seat.

"Let's review. You are the judges we've been looking for. In the past hour, each of you who volunteered, and there were fifty of you altogether, were reviewed by the defendant, the defence counsel, the prosecutors, and the bailiff. Those unable to serve objectively by reason of relationship to the accused, the victim, or to the events of the case have been removed. Those unwilling to also serve as long as it may take upon a petit jury, should one be constituted in the event of an indictment, were also released. So, now it is the twenty-four of you who get to say whether or not there is to be no bill or an indictment. Thank you for your service. Are there any questions? "

One of the jurors raised her hand. "Yes, that gong, where is it from, and what is that language on its face?"

Tyrone replied, "It is from a community in Tibet. It is a replica of an ancient gong that has been there since the dawn of human history. The language is related to Sanskrit. By their accounts of its age, it is an earlier relative. The words say 'Let peace, freedom, and justice bloom everywhere.'"

Considerable murmuring followed. After a few minutes, Ben Stone stood up, having just finished a whispered consultation with his client. Ben spoke, "Tyrone, my client has asked me to raise a few issues. The first is, by what right do these people sit in judgement of him?"

Tyrone smiled, and looked for some moments at the accused. "Mr. Jones, thank you for asking. It is not by right that people judge your actions, but by power. These particular people have power to do so according to the agreement you signed when you arrived in this valley. Please have a look at it again, now."

With these words, Tyrone put an image of a document on the screen. It was a formal printed document, one page, and it was signed and notarised at the bottom. On the big screen, it was easy to see that the signature was that of Joe Jones, and the date was the preceding Thursday.

The terms of the agreement were: "Being of sound mind and competent to exercise my individual sovereignty in this matter as in all others, I, the undersigned party, agree that no one has any right to initiate force against any other person, nor any right to delegate its initiation. I agree that no one has the right to defraud anyone else of value, nor to steal anything from anyone else. I consent to living peacefully with the occupants of Paradox Valley and cooperate in the defence of the community against crime and invasion until such time as I leave the valley. In the event that, during my time here, I come to be accused of a crime or a tort, I agree to appear before a grand jury composed of the people of Paradox Valley."

Tyrone read the words aloud, then regarded the accused. "You see, you've consented to these proceedings. Your signature was duly recorded, and we do things the old fashioned way here, so there are two paper copies of that document. One was given to you, and may be found in the hotel room where you were staying if you wish to have it brought to you. The other copy was kept by the notary. Your things remain where they were and undisturbed, by the way, in case they represent a concern. "

Ben had sat down. Now he was listening closely to the whisperings of his client. At one point Ben's voice could be heard explaining, "A tort is an act of negligence. You aren't accused of a tort." Otherwise their conversation was used as an excuse for murmurings among the seated spectators and the seated grand jury, and so not overheard.

When Ben stood once again, Tyrone gavelled the crowd to a semblance of quietness.

"My client asks that he be extradited to a court of competent jurisdiction in the United States," said Ben.

Tyrone smiled, nodded once, typed a few commands into his tablet, and turned to the grand jury, now seated and somewhat restless. "A motion has been made before this court of criminal justice that the present case be transferred to another court elsewhere. I have no authority to grant or deny motions of any kind, as I am no judge. However, you folks do, as you are the judges duly constituted in this matter. If you prefer to reference this case to the attention of another court, please signify by choosing 'granted' in your app. If you prefer to hear the facts in this case to establish whether there is enough evidence to indict or not, please signify by choosing 'deny'."

There was a brief stirring about, jurors looking one to another. The jury poll was immediately tabulated and the results appeared on the screen behind Tyrone. All the jurors denied the motion.

"This court having unanimously found that the motion should be denied, we shall break for the mid-day meal and this afternoon take up the matter of the survivors of Bernard Grossman versus the accused Joe Jones. The prosecutors in this case are to have their first witnesses ready at 13:30 and the bailiff is to ensure the accused has a meal and opportunity to consult with his counsel. Nothing further until then. Thank you. Let's go get something at the dining hall next door, or do as you please. Your app will notify you ten minutes ahead of the scheduled session, so do glance at it once in a while, please."

A couple of quick taps of the gavel, and everyone rose to depart. As the doors opened, a stream of exiting drones whizzed out in the top foot of the doorways, and the gathered people moved out in the lower portion. The room was soon empty.

[End part two, continued in part three]


Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, actor, and director. He is the cfo of and the vision director of You can find him on as well as and also as planetaryjim.

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