By Mat Wilson
Hemingway said it best. “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
Indeed, as a matter of principle, the administration of law rejects the notion of superiority. As early as 1797, Immanuel Kant defined the rights of all citizens thuswise:
1. Constitutional freedom, as the right of every citizen to have to obey no other law than that to which he has given his consent or approval;
2. Civil equality, as the right of the citizen to recognize no one as a superior in relation to himself..., and
3. Political independence, as the right to owe his existence and continuance in society not to the arbitrary will of another, but to his own rights and powers as a member of the commonwealth.
As a society, the biggest mistake we make is that we are constantly judging when we should be encouraging and accepting individual differences. Instead of demanding conformity, we should be celebrating diversity. When we judge people, and we do it all the time, we implicitly embrace the notion that superior people do in fact exist even though the law does not formally recognize that existence.
In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Mary Wollstonecraft exposed the bias of the superiority complex when she said, “I love man as my fellow; but his sceptre, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.”
According to psychologist, Alfred Adler, "A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view." He believed that those who behaved as if they were superior were trying to mask feelings of inferiority.
The inferiority complex, where acute feelings of inferiority lead to shyness or compensatory aggression and the superiority complex, where an exaggerated feeling of being superior to others allows an individual to overcome or conceal feelings of inferiority, are all symptoms of a poor self image, and if we all learned to be more accepting and less critical, we could overcome these rather destructive emotions.
What are the implications of the "superiority complex" with respect to the rule of law? First and foremost, we, as a society need to clearly understand the fact that judges do not have the right to judge. They have the right to apply the law and when they fail to do that, they ought to be removed from the bench because these miscarriages of justice are not acceptable.
In law, a bias should be the content for the next precedent.
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