Jury Democracy and the Environment
Jury Democracy is our best hope to solve the dual environmental crises—the 6th mass extinction event in Earth’s history and global warming.
These crises were created by our current economic and political systems. The same governmental power system and economic power system and elites that brought us these crises are not going to solve them. They are going to keep digging and keep getting us deeper and deeper into these crises. These crises will only be solved by a new power system that places decision-making power with ordinary people, with all of us. That is Jury Democracy.
Solving these two environmental problems requires drastic and fundamental change. Our current governmental and economic system is not capable of that change. But juries in Jury Democracy will be.
But Jury Democracy is just us, pursuing our interests as individuals, which are fundamentally to be happy and to have enough material goods. “Enough” is not a concept the system recognizes. Happiness is not something corporations or the economic system really care about at all or are capable of caring about. When decisions are made by jurors, by real ordinary people in their capacity simply as people, instead of by money and influence, the system will change.
In the movie Don’t Look Up, an asteroid is heading toward earth and will hit it and kill all human life on it in a month or two. When informed of this, the President is only concerned about how it will affect the midterms. Her most influential advisor is a billionaire who is only concerned that there are metals theoretically worth trillions of dollars on that asteroid and schemes how he can make money off of it. Neither of them cares about the end of life on earth and so they do nothing to divert the asteroid. That’s our current power system. Jurors in a jury would be different. They would not care about the midterms or about billionaires making more money. They would work to divert the asteroid.
Likewise, jurors in Jury Democracy would be capable of contemplating and considering and enacting the real fundamental change that would be needed to stop (as much as is still possible) the current mass extinction event and global warming.
I think ordinary people are very willing to make a sacrifice and to work together toward a great cause. Politicians are not.
I think we have a hunger for meaning in our lives and most people are eager to sacrifice for a great cause. I think that partially explains why people were so willing to accept the enormous sacrifices imposed on us by the lockdown response to COVID. In my book COVID Lockdown Insanity, I close with this passage:
Why did we do it? Why did we turn this molehill of COVID-19 into a mountain that justified sacrificing our happiness, our liberty, and the interests of our children for a over year in a futile attempt to reduce deaths from a natural viral upper respiratory tract infection moderately more deadly than the flu?
I think a large part is a desire for our lives to have meaning, to be part of a great cause and great struggle, and to be together with everyone in our society in that cause. We live these wealthy, lazy lives playing video games and watching entertainment on demand, and we are not asked to make any sacrifices for a cause greater than ourselves. We are jealous of previous generations that marched for civil rights and in some cases were killed fighting for civil rights in the 50’s and 60’s and that fought totalitarianism and evil in World War II. Their lives had meaning; ours too often it seems do not.
So I think when our leaders called on us to sacrifice for a cause greater than ourselves, to prevent COVID deaths, we were eager to accept the challenge. The problem was, it was a stupid cause. It is a natural cause of death that almost exclusively strikes the sick elderly near death. And it is not that much deadlier than the flu. And our sacrifices had no effect on COVID deaths anyway, but caused enormous needless suffering in depression and deaths due to suicide and drug overdoses and other deaths caused by the lockdowns that resulted in vastly more lost time of life than time of life saved in COVID deaths prevented. And we imposed enormous sacrifices on our children for no purpose and no benefit to them, or to anyone else for that matter, and without their consent.
The irony is, we have a cause that demands our sacrifices and united common effort. In fact, it is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, a much greater cause and challenge than even the civil rights movement or defeating the Nazis. That cause is saving the earth from us for the benefit of future generations of humans and for the benefit of every species of life other than us, and actually for our own benefit too. In particular, we have two crises: the first and greater is mass extinction caused mostly by habitat loss, and the second is global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Extinction is irrevocable. We will never get these species back. Global warming is mostly irrevocable too. Even if you do not care about other species, mass extinctions and global warming will make humanity far poorer and will reduce human numbers by at least 80%. Those are worse consequences than we ever faced in World War II or even with legalized racial discrimination. And the problems of Naziism and civil rights, if they were not solved at one time, could still be solved later. Extinction is irrevocable. It cannot be solved later.
So I would call us to abandon our misguided sacrifices and mission to fight COVID-19 and take up what is actually the greatest challenge ever facing humanity in our 100,000 year history, which happens to face us right now. (Or really the two greatest challenges, if you separate extinctions and global warming.) If we want meaning in our lives and to face a great challenge, we are the most blessed generations ever. Let’s grab on to that meaning and rise up to that challenge.