There is such a thing as the free world where citizens enjoy liberty, rule of law, and mutual trust. That world is now adrift in self-doubt. Democracies need to come together in defense of liberty, but they are not finding their voice. The European Union should lead but is divided and unable. America should lead but is retreating into narrow self-interest. The energy is on the side of assertive autocracy. That needs to be confronted, but who will do it?

First published in the Los Angeles Times. Read the article here.


  1. What I am observing is how the financialization of the global economies, and especially western democracies has led to undercutting the rule of law.
    Saving the taxpayers money comes at considerable cost to their legal rights, freedoms and protections
    How so?
    By a culture of “reliance” where oversight once bills are inked into law are delegated downwards and then out to funded by industry organizations.
    This is an especially pernicious habit in Canada
    It happens with oversight of environmental protection issues, it happens with oversight of consumer protections in the banking financial industry and at considerable cost to the financial well being of taxpayers after they have paid their tithes to the government
    With outsourcing there is very little accountability once the duties have been delegated.
    These entities increasingly are adjudicating on huge consumer items like retirement savings and long term care etc etc, not just about a gym membership gone horribly
    These sros are the modern version of medieval guilds and in light of the source of funding are not hardwired to be neutral
    Further important tribunals overseeing social justice and human rights concerns are not part of the mainstream legal stream re civil and criminal but left in dusty corners as minor notes
    The mainstream civil and criminal courts simply don’t have the dna to be sensitive to human rights infringements in their course of business and are still locked in a very Dickensian era where the lower classes were prosecuted within an inch of their fingernails, but white collar crime in the financial industry is ignored despite the harm on the taxpayers
    Violent crime of course is something to be addressed as a prioirity. But even there, one sees a slide re domestic violence, vanishing indigeous women, and inappropriate handling when An individual is in the midsts of a mental health crisis.
    All of these issues do overlap into gender, disability race, and other protected grounds.
    But get shuffled to the back of the line because of other priorities in the justice department
    The work of the supreme court on contract law will certainly not permeate downward as intended nor over to the SROs
    Legal rights. Access to justice and judicial remedy are all part of democracy that are being shuffled aside.
    And increasingly there is a dissonance between voters turning out to vote to exercise a democratic right and delivery on those promises.
    I see an infrastructure that can no longer cope.
    Increasingly the rule of law is dependent on which entity is doing the ruling.


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