The rule of the judges over Israel.
Samson, Jephthah, Gideon, and other heroes of the kritarchy.
One day in the
future, a historian will write: "The American Constitution lasted
less than two centuries. It was toppled in 1954 when kritarchy first
raised its ugly head."
It should be clear
by now that 'natural law' in the sense of 'the natural order of
human beings' is not a question of idle speculation, but of natural
facts. This leads to the question whether there exists a political
system that respects these facts. Indeed there is such a system. It
differs from democracy and similar systems in that its government
has no special powers. It is denied any powers, privileges and
immunities that are also denied to human beings. That means that a
kritarchy's police forces cannot lawfully use their weapons and
coercive powers except for maintaining natural rights. In contrast
with their counterparts in a democracy, the courts and the policemen
of a kritarchy are not part of a coercive monopoly. In a kritarchy,
every person is entitled to offer judicial and police services to
willing others; no person can be forced to become a client of any
court of law or police force against his will.
A kritarchy does
not have subjects and rulers. It lacks a government in the modern
sense of the word, that is an organization with coercive powers that
claims a right to obedience of those who inhabit its realm.
Governing and taxing people are not functions of the political
system of kritarchy. People are left free to govern their own
affairs, either individually or in association with others. Indeed,
freedom is the basic law of a kritarchy.
The term 'kritarchy',
mentioned in several well-known dictionaries, is compounded from the
Greek words kriteis (judge) or krito (to judge) and archeh
(principle, cause). It was coined in 1844 by the English author
Robert Southy. In its construction kritarchy resembles terms like
monarchy, oligarchy and hierarchy. According to its etymological
roots, kritarchy is the political system in which judges, or their
judgements, are the ruling principle. Similarly, a monarchy is a
system in which one person is the ruling principle or first cause of
every legal action. In an oligarchy, a few persons, acting in
concert but without a fixed hierarchy among them, are the source of
all human actions. This olicharchy is what we have in a modern
democracy. The members of a democratic parliament have equal
standing and their joint decisions are supposed to bind all
and oligarchies, kritarchies do not establish political rule. The
judges of a kritarchy do not legislate but find ways and means to
settle conflicts and disputes in a manner that is consistent with
the natural order of human beings. That order is understood to be
objectively given (it consists of people who respect each other's
space) and not something that answers to whatever desires or ideals
the judges may have.
In contrast to
other political systems, the judges in a kritarchy have no subjects;
They do not have prosecutors who drag people before their benches.
They cannot 'pick' their subjects. Instead, they are 'picked'
themselves by people desiring to have their conflicts and disputes
resolved by their judicial judgments.
characteristic of a kritarchy is therefore that it is a political
system without political rule. Its judges enjoy no privileges or
special powers. They do not rule the people. Their only concern is
to protect the voluntary, natural order of human beings.
There are many
historical and even recent examples of kritarchy or near-kritarchy.
Also there have been attempts to use constitutions (such as the
Magna Charta and the Bills of Rights in England, the original
constitutional amendments in North America and the French
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen) to introduce
elements of kritarchy as checks on the powers of oppressive
governments. At the end of the second millennium before Christ, the
Jews lived in a system described in the biblical book of the Judges.
Their 'judges' were not judges in the technical sense of the modern
legal systems but rather respected men who provided leadership and
counsel without having the power to coerce or tax. Similar
among the Celtic and Germanic peoples both before and during their
confrontation with Roman imperialism. Kritarchy was firmly
established in medieval Iceland, Ireland and Frisia. In the first
half of the nineteenth century, the European settlers in the
Mid-West and Far-West in North America developed their own brand of
kritarchy. In Africa and Asia, tribal societies have continued to
the present day to adhere to some form of kritarchy if they have not
been submerged in the governmental structures imposed by the
colonial powers or by the indigenous politicians who took over from
historical examples may suggest that kritarchy is a primitive
political system, it should be borne in mind that most kritarchies
fell victim to military lords. Often, these lords turned ostensibly
temporary structures for the mobilisation of men and resources in
times of war into a permanent apparatus of political rule. They
organized this rule in such a way that their subjects are not given
opportunities for its abolition. They can only choose between
various types of political rule. Kritarchists have always been aware
of the artificial and destructive character of alternative political
systems. The fact that a given kritarchy lost out to a destructive
system doesn't make kritarchy primitive. It may well be that a given
economy progresses despite a particular political system rather than
because of it. Economic progress may well coincide with political