Perspectives: How to turn honest people into liars

OPINION – One of the most telling signs that our society has entered a general state of decline is when unjust public policies place us in a position where we may be forced to lie.

Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve encountered commentaries that convincingly demonstrate that a person who is serious about asserting his or her natural rights may have a moral duty to deceive those who would deprive them.

The two subjects that sparked intense discussion were jury nullification and how to answer a medical professional who inquires about personal firearms ownership.

Jury nullification is one of the few remaining peaceful remedies we still possess to reign in government that refuses to respect its proper limits. It’s one of the four boxes which can be used to check the government and to defend liberty.

The first is the soapbox, whereby we exercise our right to free speech to change the government or its policies. Public outcry is often inefficient and requires many people working together.

The ballot box is another check on government, but it only works when the public is informed, engaged and united in large enough numbers.

The cartridge box is the last resort by which an armed citizenry can resist and, if necessary, overthrow a destructive or tyrannical government. Those who get a bad case of the vapors at the mere mention of this possibility should remember this is exactly what we’re celebrating every July Fourth.

Another highly effective, though misunderstood, remedy for official mischief is found within the jury box. This is where representatives of the people can prevent the abuse of corrupt laws passed by corrupt legislators, enforced by corrupt executives and tried by corrupt judges.

This is not the same as saying that all laws are corrupted. But a person would have to be willfully obtuse to assert there are no corrupt laws, lawmakers, prosecutors and judges.

How do we protect people who are at risk of injustice? We must be willing to serve on their jury.

This is not as easy as it sounds since the system does its best to weed out any juror who understands the true legal and moral authority a jury possesses to judge both the facts and the law itself in a criminal case.

In fact, the judge and lawyers will actively try to identify and remove from the jury pool anyone who understands this essential natural right. Some judges even require jurors to take an oath that they will follow the judge’s instructions and only judge the facts of the case and the law as it is written.

This is a violation of the natural rights of each juror.

In order to exercise our rights as a juror, we must be seated on the jury. In order to be seated, we may have to be prepared to lie in order to defend our natural rights against those who would deny them.

Remember, a conviction or acquittal requires a unanimous verdict from the jurors. But a single informed juror who refuses to rubber-stamp the state’s wishes can hang the jury and force the court to either retry the case or dismiss the charges.

Jury nullification doesn’t overturn bad laws, but it can result in fewer prosecutions under them.

For every O.J. Simpson outcome critics may cite, there are many more cases where genuine injustice has been thwarted by fully informed jurors.

Another increasingly likely situation where lying may be the best path can be found in the growing tendency of doctors and other medical professionals surveying their patients regarding personal firearms ownership.

The strict confidentiality that once existed between a physician and patient is being steadily eroded as government insinuates itself more deeply into our healthcare system. With lawmakers and bureaucrats seeking more creative ways to exert control over the population, our privacy is a bulwark against their mischief.

An honest answer to a doctor’s inquiry about gun ownership may yet become a form of legal leverage as firearms are treated as a “public health issue” that opens the door to greater regulation.

Would a firearms owner be justified in being less than perfectly honest with those seeking information they have no right to know? Especially if they’re doing so with the aim of undermining the right to keep and bear arms?

For those of us who still believe there are moral absolutes that aren’t subject to the social fads, this is a sobering consideration.

Is it really moral to cooperate with those who seek to deprive us or others of our natural rights?

It’s a question each of us should be asking.

Situational ethics can be a slippery slope that leads people away from a solid foundation of principles and deeper into the shifting sands of pragmatism.

Sometimes, we’re forced into such choices because there are higher laws at stake.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator, radio host and opinion columnist in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • .... August 22, 2016 at 8:37 am

    How do you make a liar out of an honest person ? That’s easy. become a politician

  • tcrider August 22, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Its against the law to lie under oath, it doesn’t matter what anyone’s political opinion is plain and simple.
    if you choose to lie because of a political opinion, that is a lack of integrity, kind of like one of the idiots
    that is running for president, he repeatedly lies even though he is not under oath, it is just an indication
    of his lack of integrity.

    • Henry August 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      According to a June Quinnipiac poll, people were asked which candidate was “more honest and trustworthy”. 8% more said Trump than Hillary (45 to 37%).

      In a July CNN poll, the same question was asked. 13% more said Trump than Hillary (43 to 30%).

    • .... August 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      People lie under oath all the time. !

  • Proud Rebel August 22, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I’ve a couple of comments on Bryan’s comments here. First off, when he speaks of jury duty, a person must be called to serve. Now I have lived here for 22 years. I’m a registered voter, and have a driver’s license. I own my home, and pay my taxes. BUT, I have NEVER been called for jury duty! What I am not, is LDS. So I have to ask the question, how are jury members selected in Utah? Everywhere else I’ve lived, jurors have been summoned from either the voter registry, or the driver’s license data base. But obviously, not here. No, I’m not at all anxious to serve on a jury. But if called, I certainly would not balk at it either.

    The second comment is very simple. Should my doctor, whom I have seen for all of my 22 years here, ask about my firearms, my response would be simple: “It’s really none of your business!” People need to have the backbone to stand up and say NO at times.

    • KarenS August 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Jurors in Utah, just like all the other states, are chosen at random from driver’s license and voter registration lists. Just because you have not been chosen means nothing about religion at all. I know many people who have served as jurors, both LDS and non-LDS. It makes no difference. Religious bias, like all kinds of bias, does show up in other areas of life but certainly not in jury duty.

    • youcandoit August 22, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      I’m not a Mormon I’ve been discriminated in jobs here however my last name used to start with H, I got chose 2 times for jury when you get the paper you call to see if you go or if parties settled out of court. Now my last name starts with N. I haven’t been chosen since.

    • RealMcCoy August 23, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      When I am asked about the firearms question at a doctor visit, I ask them personal questions back.
      If it’s a woman, I ask when her last period was; if it’s a man, I ask him how often he ‘takes care of his own business’.
      I always get that blank, but shocked, look from them, then I say “well, ask a stupid question…”
      Then they just skip the question and go back to the actual medical history
      …I wonder what the notes in my chart say by now…

  • KarenS August 22, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    It appears that Bryan Hyde has received the talking points memo from the Bundy followers about spreading the concept of jury nullification far and wide in preparation for the upcoming trials of the Bundys and their followers. It is the only way that the Bundy group can hope to avoid prison for their well-documented and obvious unlawful acts in Oregon and Nevada. The judge has already ruled adverse possession of land to be ridiculous so they have now moved on to jury nullification. Good luck with that.

  • Billy Madison August 22, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I tried, Brain, to understand and comprehend what you have written here. But, paragraph after paragraph was just a jumble of words strewn together to further muddle what should be a fairly simple answer to the headline. Polished politicians understand this language and us it often. I do not understand it and re-reading doesn’t make it any clearer.

  • Billy Madison August 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I meant to write the name Brian, which would have still been wrong, I apologize.

  • semantics? August 22, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I am not sure I understand how the jury selection process and medical questioning relate to one another. Gun ownership in medical processes is really absurd. The jury question is quite different. I am pretty sure that most people reading this comment or the article know what “natural law” means in a legal sense; hence any discussion where the phrase is thrown in may be misdirected.

    No question there is a huge decline in jury trials, both civil and criminal. Bryan is correct that attorneys on both sides get to strike three jurors, for any reason, after the potential jury panel has passed the initial round of questioning. Is that fair? Depends upon your point of view. If you are a business owner who pays a lot in taxes and unseen taxes or to employees or vendors , it is in your self interest to keep as many jurors with similar experiences as you on the jury. If you are an employee who was, allegedly, wrongfully terminated, after working for many years for a paycheck and are suddenly fired, you probably do not want business owners on the jury. So which is fair?

    The judges role is to instruct the jury. She does this based upon instructions given to her by both sides of the case, generally, not her own opinion. If you do not like the law, talk to your legislature and not the judge or attorneys.

    For example, the poor people in Santa Clara who were flooded out by the dam breaking a couple of years ago did not get a day in court. Why? Because the law says Santa Clara got immunity or put in other words, a shield from any negligent actions because the dam is considered a flood control device. The people never got a chance to get to a jury. Immunity was granted, probably because the legislature, not the judge, believed that the gov’t would loose flooding cases most of the time, even if the gov’t was not negligent, out of pity for the flooded victims. Attorneys and judges follow and provide instructions based upon actions by the legislature. There are always sensational stories about jury verdicts, usually if it does not make sense, journalists have not provided the full picture.

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