A functional democratic system of government protects all those who live under the influence of that system. This is a hard-earned lesson that has sustained peaceful and prosperous nations for several centuries, since the slow rise of democratic social systems began exerting its influence over global commerce, agriculture, justice, education, and all aspects of the way we live in modern self-governing societies. When the people choose their elected leaders, they maintain control over the drafting and enforcement of the laws that mark their path through life, and as long as this control stays in the hands of the people, the institutions that protect, feed, nurture, and sustain us can serve the needs of the many rather than exploiting the many to serve the few.
Self-governance has proven its value over time, but as we’ve come to rely on central democratic principles to sustain functional societies, we’ve learned another important lesson: democracy is fragile. It’s easy to take for granted, and it’s constantly under threat. The will of the few and powerful will always exert itself over the needs of the many, and might will always search for ways to undermine right. Democracy cannot thrive when it goes unprotected. And in our current era, threats to systems of democratic governance are virulent and on the rise.
When democracy begins to struggle or fail, injustice, resource distribution problems, and the cruelty of war begin to gain a foothold. Chaos creates avenues of opportunity for the powerful few, and human suffering begins to increase. In the 21st century, the greatest challenges to democracy and human well-being appear to be falling into two distinct categories: global warfare and climate change.
A healthy democracy 1) adheres to the rule of law, 2) protects human rights, 3) resolves international disputes through peaceful means, and 4) promotes an economic structure that grants sustainable and equal opportunities for all who live within its bounds. When a functional society supported by these four pillars comes under threat, protective action can be taken through a wide range of mechanisms, including education, science and research, art and culture, and political action. Here at Just Atonement Inc, we support democracy by leveraging the avenue of law. We have committed ourselves to the application of legal systems to protect the vulnerable, strengthen democratic principles, and work to ensure a brighter and safer future for ourselves, our descendants, and all present and future members of our global community.
How can a legal team protect democracy? How can a law-focused organization serve those who are threatened by injustice or violent conflict? And how can an application of the law mitigate the chaos that looms as a result of a changing climate? What influence might we exercise over threats that seem wider and more amorphous that any dispute that can be resolved in a courtroom?
The answer is far from simple. But our goals are built around a simple idea: that we can begin by cultivating a sense of accountability. And that if we believe in human resilience and the power of human consciousness, we can build a stronghold against the challenges that are poised to shape the century ahead. Our manifesto is posted here and over the next few posts, we’ll discuss more about how our actions, intentions and current projects are founded on this core mission.