Why Returning To A Pagan Justice System Could Benefit The World

Johan Magee-Ferreira

The sun is slowly setting behind the trees and the streetlights  are coming on as the light sensors show that evening has arrived. The children playing soccer pause for a moment and then continue their game, secure that the lowering light is no threat to  them. The world is a relatively safe place to be, morals and ethics  cherished by most of the population. Children still respect  their elders and live active lives outside, all is at peace in  the world.

If this image seems familiar, that is perhaps because you remember this feeling of tranquil life from your own childhood – like I do. Not even thirty years ago this was the common picture in just about everyone’s daily life; we could truly feel safe living, working and playing in our own neighbourhood.  People still talked to their neighbours, who they could actually see over the fence, helped each other and cared about the problems of those around them. In business and in life you got ahead by doing an honest day’s hard work and proving your worth to your employer … it maybe took a while longer, but at least it was spiritually as well as morally acceptable.

But why is that not the image you still get immediately upon thinking of the approach of night in our modern lives … or even in many ways the normal everyday life of people in the world today? The streets are considered unsafe in places that were always safe. Children become unfit and obese because they simply sit in front of their Xbox or Playstation playing games and consuming fatty fast foods rather than go outside to enjoy some healthy exercise … the only part of their bodies that actually get any real exercise is their thumbs, texting on their cellphones the entire day and night long.

We no longer know who our neighbours are, nor do we care, because all of us sit behind six foot high fences topped by electric wires to keep the intruders (good and bad) out of our lives. And of course, the best way to get ahead in your business environment has become to be the one who can step on others’ heads and stab them in the back the quickest and the most effectively. In my opinion this is proven with a very simple example … and I know that MANY reading this will immediately be offended, but to me that simply acts to prove my point even more as people do not appreciate being shown the truth about themselves.

My example – a show that’s been worth millions of dollars in revenue, and that is watched and enjoyed by millions of people worldwide – SURVIVOR !!!

With the immense success of this show (which personally I despise) across the world is proven the fact that our morals and ethics have deteriorated so badly that we now enjoy seeing and watching how a person is rewarded for being the most sneaky, deceitful and manipulative one in a group of people out to do almost anything just to become famous and be rewarded with huge amounts of money.  And what has been the result of this obviously negative change in the way we go about our everyday lives in the world these last couple of years … that we have allowed our moral and ethical standards to drop so immensely in such a short period of time?

The first and most obvious result … prisons with overflowing population counts, children who tell the teachers in their schools what to do and how to behave, drug use so common that we don’t even notice anymore when another celebrity is shown to be  afflicted with this curse, where before they would’ve been immediately shunned by all as they are supposed to be the role-models of our children. The negative flow of this dark energy cycle is consuming our world faster than anyone can truly imagine or even calculate – unfortunately. But what is in a large way (but by no means the only reason) the cause of all of this? I am going to give two examples – at first glance apparently in contradiction of each other – but will ultimately be shown to stand together as a great problem that has grown slowly over hundreds of years, and that has now exploded in the last approximately fifteen years … in my personal view and experience anyhow.

Firstly, the destruction of the punitive system in our schools and secondly the inadequate and ineffective punitive system of our prisons. So how can I say this? Let me explain it like this. As children we knew that there would be consequences to our actions – usually in the form of a strap across the backside, but today our children do as they please because the only punishment – if any – is being detained after school for an hour, or being sent to their room (where they spend all of their time anyway), during which time they do what they will anyway. There is no respect of any kind for the teachers or anyone that is older than them for that matter. Why should there be? A teacher simply talks a bit too loud and THEY get into trouble because they are too rough with the student, while in the meantime the students walk about school armed with knives and firearms – in many cases the teachers live in fear of the students, rather than the other way around. Where has the respect for the elders gone?

In our prisons the picture is not all that different. Where before there was more than ample room in the system for those who were found to be guilty of some offense to society, today the prisons have become completely overcrowded – all across the world. And I don’t even have to mention all the openly spread jokes about how going to prison is no longer a punishment, but instead has become a trip to a holiday resort at the expense of the taxpayer. The criminals seem to be rewarded for their unseemly deeds, rather than to truly be punished. Not to mention the fact that instead of being successfully rehabilitating the inmates to return to society as better people, the chances are better that they will leave as better qualified criminals than when they entered the system in the first place.

Our world has become a place where corruption, chaos and excess have become the norm – rather than the exception. But how is this different from how it used to be? Most people’s perception of how the world used to be is clouded by what we are taught to believe, especially the times before the Renaissance. But what was it truly like? Yes, life was a little harder without electricity and fast speeding cars, but that also made it so much less stressful –  everything wasn’t a rush to get the work done by yesterday, or the deadline and thus payment wouldn’t be worthwhile … instead if the work didn’t get completed by nightfall it was usually not a problem to simply let it stand over to be finished the next day. Working overtime was a strange and unknown concept as family came before being an overworked drone.

Combat, while it was there – as in today’s age – was more honorable. Your actual skill determined your rank and commanders actually led the conflict right from within the fray, not simply sitting behind a desk and sending thousands of soldiers to their deaths while they sit in safe luxury miles away from the actual battlefield. In ancient Celtic society this would have had them either murdered or turned into slaves as unworthy and cowardly leaders. A leader led from the front, not the rear. Prisons were seldom used or even needed, if they even existed within the given society. A single, or two at the most, cells were sufficient to handle the outlaw traffic in any specific area.

Honor, truth and valor were the leading factors within these old societies … rather than deceit and cowardice. Even thieves and murderers lived by a strict code of honor in those long-gone days. Traveling judges, known by different names within each society,were sufficient to settle disputes as they arose and the justice system of the day was adhered to without issue. But what was the justice system used and why was it so successful? Not a system of punitive justice, but instead a system of restorative justice was used with very great effect. Restorative justice is still in a way punitive, though to a different degree. Instead of focusing simply on a single punishment, which in time becomes completely ineffective, this system focuses on restoring the damage done by the perpetrator – for instance if an item was stolen, it was not only returned but with interest and the thief would serve as a servant in the victim’s house for an appropriate period of time. If a murder was committed, the victim’s family would have the right to kill in retaliation – although to a limited and well determined degree. If property was destroyed, it would be restored to its original state or even improved. The punishment was also given according to the status – and thus the honor price – of the wrongdoer as well as that of the victim, for more was expected of those who had more. For instance if a homeless child stole a bread because he was hungry, the punishment would not be as severe as if a nobleman had raped an innocent young girl just because he couldn’t control his own materialistic urges.

In today’s world it is re-introduced into our legal systems in a manner of speaking, although it is obviously not completely the same, in the form of community service … a system where the guilty is made to perform acts of restoration and thus serving a fair and responsible sentence, while doing good in the eyes of society and truly making up for their deeds and learning a proper lesson at the same time. This is truly paying your debt to society, not sitting and lounging away in a prison cell with television and recreational pool-halls everyday.  A couple of examples where this system has been and is still used in modern society are as follows… In Japan a thief is made to stand in a busy public place with a sign around their neck indicating to all who pass by that they are a convicted thief, thus bringing public shame to them and ensuring that others will immediately recognize them in the future. While this may sound like a mild punishment it has in fact been proven to be extraordinarily effective, keeping most of those marked in this way from committing the same offense again in the future – they rather keep their end clean and live honest lives afterwards.

In several countries those convicted of drunk driving is made to clean up roads and do public talks about the consequences of drinking and driving – especially if others or they themselves were hurt as a direct result of their drunken stupor. Other examples are where those that have either defaced or destroyed public or private property are made to rebuild and restore the damaged property or being placed into public works groups to perform acts of public service.

So how can I say that a return to such an old, even ancient system, could benefit our modern societal structure? Easily and very simply explained … If criminals are made to actually restore the damage and harm that they have caused – instead of basically being rewarded with a free ride on the taxpayer’s dime – they would begin to think twice about the consequences of performing such actions. With morals, ethics and honor once again instilled in people, from the young formative stages, and kept undeterred throughout their lives the old adage of “If you wish to change the world, begin by changing yourself first”, will begin to be proven accurate once again. This will create the ripple effect that will eventually be felt throughout the world and in time restore our planet and its overburdened population to a place of peace and true love once again.

But our societal mind is unfortunately very stubborn and slow on the uptake when it comes to ways of improving both our lives and our world. During the sixteen-hundreds, at the time of the industrial revolution and the Renaissance – as well as the return of the druids to public view – the actual green movement began as these Meso-pagan druids warned against the pollution created by the new factories and the effect they would eventually have on the environment and our planet.

Then once again, in the 1980’s, the United Nations were informed of the impending threat of global warming and asked to act preemptively. The matter was basically ignored for another twenty years when it was actually already too late. Only then was action taken in haste to begin turning people on to “living green”. Today the green movement is in full swing, but would it not have been better if we’d listened twenty years ago? Could much of the consequent damage not have been reduced – if not completely negated?

With this instilled respect for not only ourselves, but for others and even the world in which we live, it will once again become obvious that by harming others we are actually harming ourselves as well in the process. By harming the environment and our planet, we are also harming ourselves and robbing our children and their children of so many treasures that they will only get to see in museums – if they are lucky. Every day thousands of species are destroyed as the rainforests are systematically crushed down to pulp – all for the benefit of making money. How many medical cures have been lost simply because we have lost our respect and love of our planet and her resources? We are literally wiping out our planet’s lungs in the process and causing fierce changes in our climate and the lives of everyone depending on the stability of our weather systems. Is that truly a show of caring and ethical behaviour?

People will live in more security and safety, love, peace and overall prosperity if these values were once again restored to our world. The levels of stress that we struggle with every moment of each and every day will be significantly reduced, which will on its own once again improve the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us. Is that not ultimately what we are all striving for? Thus returning to an ancient pagan system of justice will not only aid in lowering the burden on our overpopulated and thus overtaxed prison systems, but will also return a more honorable and respectful mindset to our society, including an innate respect for ourselves, others and our environment. The horrible damage so openly and brazenly brought upon our environment will also be reduced and eventually reversed once Mother Nature is given the chance to recover from our hateful acts of the past against her. The system may seem outdated and of absolutely no value to our “modern” society, but in fact it could be exactly what would save us from ourselves before it is too late.

And as a last bit of unpopular view, which may once again at first glance seem slightly out of place given the foregone piece, I propose that military conscription is also re-implemented in the countries where it has been suspended – for the simple reason that it actually aids in building character and a sense of respect and responsibility toward oneself and toward society itself … rather than the undisciplined and wasteful disrespect that has come to plaque our youth of today.

Let living by the Officer’s Code become the norm again, rather than the exception. Let there be more boyscouts in our society, rather than more brutes and thugs. Is it so much to ask that crime once again become something to be looked down upon, rather than just ignored as an everyday occurrence – until it happens to you – which is then suddenly a priority and something to be challenged. I say prevention is better than cure … so let’s prevent more harm by working in our own little way to restore ethical behaviour to our world … to act in a restorative mindset, rather than a destructive one.

Perhaps the ancients were much smarter and wiser than they are usually given credit for. In fact it is my personal opinion that they definitely were, and that we have a LOT more to learn from them than our arrogance allows us to admit. Perhaps the “noble savage” that we all are taught to imagine when thinking of the people of most societies before the great Roman Empire brought civilization to them … or before the Europeans brought civility to the natives of so many lands they conquered.

Well, my knowledge of history, anthropology and archeology tells me a very different story. To me they were peoples who lived in a world filled with honor and order, governed by very strict codes of conduct that made even the wildest actions performed by them looked at in a completely different light … one of understanding, that we could actually learn something from their ways and that by implementing those lessons we could – and would – improve our own society and lives much more drastically that anyone ever imagined.

So let’s all return to the savageness of actually caring and thinking about how we can restore the damage done by us over time. Would it truly be so bad returning to the ways of our ancestors? The Celts and the Vikings lived with honor and in my opinion truly were “noble pagan savages”.

I for one would happily vote to return to these (among other) systems of justice, rather than continue to suffer our modern and ineffective punitive system.

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1 Response

  1. Talianah Breet says:

    This really gives food for thought. And I have to agree with it. Not so much the conscription – I have heard horror stories – but the general feel of returning to value and honour.

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