Both Judge and Jury… August 12, 2013

judgeGood and bad results from technology as we all can agree. When it was discovered that by arranging radioactive uranium in precise configurations that fission results the claims for cheap, perhaps free, generation of electrical power were exciting. That was the good side. We now know of course that such arrangements, constructed along with the proper catalyst, can produce a most destructive weapon.

InternetThe internet has such potential as well. Through the internet information is profusely available in such a way as never before. Learning new things, making friends, spreading word of this or that disaster, and urging others to action is easier than ever before. However, lies can be spread faster as well. Pleas for sympathy for this or that cause, opinions on this or that issue, can spread in less time than just a short time ago.

gossipFirst there was gossip, spread of news or opinion by word ofAntique_Radio mouth. The printing press made the spread of gossip easier, and more widely available. Then there was radio, television, and now the internet. An individual can learn of some noteworthy event intelevision some distant land sometimes before the occupants in that land are aware. Unfortunately, this technology can also pressbe used to spread propaganda supporting this or that lie, as well.

People can be prompted by false and misleading information to act as judge and juryCB068300 and made to form public opinion that is malicious and damaging. Before a trial can be administered for someone he or she can be tried and convicted by public consensus. If the trial proves someone’s guilt, public opinion that had already judged them innocent prompts protests for exoneration. If the trial proves them innocent or fails to convict due to lack of evidence,  the public, which had already convicted them, cries foul, urging renewed efforts for conviction. In this instance the technology becomes divisive and sometimes very costly. Hatred can spread very easily, angerworldwide.

In a country as diverse as ours a ‘jury of one’s peers’ is difficult toSmiling Group of Professionals --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis construct. If the issue is perceived as one race vs. another it is nearly impossible. Each race involved would desire that the jury be stacked in its favor.  Ideally the jury should be composed of individuals who are indifferent and therefore capable of objectivity. That is not only nearly impossible, but completely impossible. As humans we tend to be subjective. Even in an previously indifferent individual subjectivity is formed once the facts and arguments of an issue is presented. The past personal experiences of the jury would eliminate objectivity if information presented conflictstrial with their preconceived notions. A fair impartial trial exists only in concept.

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