There is something that shakes us in the condemnation of the just, because we all have a very rooted natural notion of justice—we could almost say that it is inscribed in our genes (even though many try to hide it); and if trampling upon justice is always abhorrent, when this serves to condemn the innocent, it turns out to be aberrant. The analysis of the process against Jesus ought to be proposed to those who study law, wherein justice acquires a mad denseness, pullulating with legal irregularities and aberrations: the Sanhedrin gathered during the time of the Passover, which was forbidden to them; the testimonies against Jesus were false and contradictory; there were no defence witnesses, nor was it permitted that the accused should avail himself of a counsel; the sentence of the Sanhedrin was not preceded by the required vote; two sessions were held on the same day, without the established legal recess between the arraignment and the verdict; the condemned was afterwards sent to the Roman authorities, which the Sanhedrin did not recognise as legitimate and which, moreover (as Pilate himself observes), had no jurisdiction over religious crimes; the crime of conspiracy against Caesar, which the members of the Sanhedrin afterwards promoted, was not punishable by crucifixion, unless if it were by means of an armed uprising, which manifestly Jesus did not do; and, finally, leaving all other irregularities behind, the Roman procurator sentenced the accused to death without pronouncing the official verdict, which a judge cannot do, because it is tantamount to abdicating his office.

These are only some of the irregularities that fill this process; and any one of them would suffice to render the whole process null. But the thing that troubles us most about this opprobrious process may not have been the frantic and fanatic attitude of the members of the Sanhedrin, but the cowardly and frivolous attitude of the procurator Pontius Pilate, who after publicly recognising the innocence of the accused (“I find no fault in Him”) nevertheless sentences Him to death, handing Him over to be crucified, owing to his fear of the people. Analysing this Gospel passage, Hans Kelsen, the famous theoretician of the Law and guru of legal positivism, concludes that Pilate behaves as a perfect democrat, at least in two occasions. The first, when in the first scrutiny which he made to Jesus, He answered him: “Every one who is of the truth, heareth My voice”; to which Pilate responds with another question: “What is truth?” For Kelsen, a democrat must allow himself to be guided by some necessary scepticism; philosophical and moral enquiries about truth must then turn out to be completely foreign to him. The second occasion in which Pilate, in Kelsen’s judgment, behaves as a perfect democrat is when, confronted by the supposed impossibility of determining what the truth is, he addresses the multitude gathered before the praetorium and asks them: “What should I do with Jesus?” To which the multitude responds, thirsting for blood: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate resolves the process in the form of a plebiscite; and since that majority determines that what ought to be done with Jesus is to crucify Him, Pilate defers to that opinion.

Kelsen’s exposition can come across to us as brutal, but nobody can deny that, in effect, Pilate is a model of a democratic politician; sceptic to the core, in vain he considers trying to determine what the truth is; and, consequently, he submits Jesus’ fate to a popular vote. And this is the crossroads in which our democracies collapse: declining to issue an objectively ethical judgment (declining, definitively, to establish the truth of things), the opinion of the majority is upheld as the standard; and, in this manner, the standard will no longer obey justice, but the capricious and selfish preferences of said majority. It is a relativistic solution that is eating democracies away; and which, being unable to set itself aright, will succeed in destroying them from within, which otherwise is how all human organisations, which have not kept a core of clear moral notions, have always succumbed; in which notions, the just inevitably end up being persecuted and condemned, as any criminal, for the joy of the true criminals.

But Kelsen is right: Pilate is a perfect democrat; for whom democracies ought to erect monuments in public parks and establish holidays—with hand washing included—that celebrate his memory.