The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country. By Peter McWilliams.
THIS BOOK IS BASED on a single idea: You should be allowed to do whatever you want with your own person and property, as long as you don't physically harm the person or property of a nonconsenting other. Simple. Seemingly guaranteed to us by that remarkable document known as the United States Constitution and its even more remarkable Bill of Rights. And yet, it's not the way things are.
Roughly half of the arrests and court cases in the United States each year involve consensual crimes?actions that are against the law, but directly harm no one's person or property except, possibly, the "criminal's." More than 750,000 people are in jail right now because of something they did, something that did not physically harm the person or property of another. In addition, more than 3,000,000 people are on parole or probation for consensual crimes.
Further, more than 4,000,000 people are arrested each year for doing something that hurts no one but, potentially, themselves. The injustice doesn't end there, of course. Throwing people in jail is the extreme. If you can throw people in jail for something, you can fire them for the same reason.
You can evict them from their apartments. You can deny them credit. You can expel them from schools.
You can strip away their civil rights, confiscate their property, and destroy their lives?just because they're different. At what point does behavior become so unacceptable that we should tell our government to lock people up? The answer, as explored in this book: We lock people up only when they physically harm the person or property of a nonconsenting other.
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