March 23, 2007
When Everything Is Outlawed...
With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone. In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him.
Via "slughead" at Slashdot, who asks the reader to "Realize this was back in 1940, when the federal body of law was half what it is today."
In 1940, Robert Jackson was Attorney General of the United States. He later went on to become a justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Posted by Robert Racansky on March 23, 2007 at 9:57 AM
The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labour camp.
Posted by: Rob Kiser on March 23, 2007 at 10:14 PM
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers.
Posted by: Ayn Rand ("Atlas Shrugged") on May 11, 2007 at 6:17 AM