Thank you, America. You have charged, tried, convicted and incarcerated me. You have sentenced me to 27 years in prison for non-violent, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior — for a first-time offense. You are willing to spend up to $35,000 per year to keep me locked up; yet, the average American makes only $20,000 or so per year.
Despite the recession, many of you are sacrificing so that I might be adequately fed, clothed and housed. More than half the prison population in America is incarcerated for non-violent, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior. We are those who sinned against the state’s commandment: “Thou shalt not make, sell or use any substance or drug without an official OK.”
That other popular drugs — alcohol and nicotine — are legally available and cause much more harm than all the illegal drugs combined means nothing to the state. I — and many thousands of others like me — are kindly being supported by you, the very generous American public.
We are not bank robbers, rapists, or killers (who typically get much less time). We are not S&L rip-off artists or fraud merchants. We are those who made or sold or used a product that millions of people want.
It is ironic that the people you pay (more than you make on average) to baby-sit us are almost to the man (and woman) drug addicts. It’s hard to find a guard who isn’t addicted to nicotine.
Of course, nicotine is not illegal, but by the same (lack of) rationale that made the presently illegal drugs illegal, nicotine would be, if newly discovered, on top of the list of non-medical, highly addictive, harmful drugs, and, if made illegal, would cause a crime wave like you can’t imagine.
So, America, thanks for securing my needs, and even some of my wants. How marvelously unselfish of you.
I’ll be thinking of you — but not too much. I don’t spend too much time thinking about people who allow themselves to be taken to the cleaners constantly by self-serving, greedy, power-hungry politicians. I don’t think much about people who think security can be bought by giving up liberty.
But it’s not too late to save your money, reduce crime and save America. Just remember the following precepts:
o The government is not your friend. To the extent it is necessary, it is a necessary evil and self-serving. So limit, confine and regulate it, rather than letting it regulate you — as was the intent of the United States Constitution.
o Non-violent, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior cannot be considered criminal behavior. To do so is to believe in rule by religious beliefs, not reason. Historically, rule by religion leads to tyranny.
o Drug use is not drug abuse.
o Drug use does not cause crime. Drug prohibition causes crime.
o Drug abuse is a medical and psychological problem, not a criminal problem.
o Security cannot be gained by giving up your liberties.
o Free minds, free bodies and free markets lead to liberty, security and prosperity.
It’s up to you, America. The government gets its power only through you. It gets its money by taxing the wealth of the producing worker. All non-producing workers — government employees, welfare recipients and government subsidy recipients — are leeches on the body of workers who actually have real jobs.
There is a pyramid being built, upside down, with fewer and fewer supporting workers at the bottom. Eventually, this unnatural pyramid must fall, unless you — the American producing, tax-paying worker — wise up and realize that the laws of nature, including human nature, cannot be legislated out of existence.
Morality cannot be legislated, nor can the laws of natural economics. Government always tends to overcontrol and to be corrupt, unless it is watched very closely.
With that in mind, I wish you well. And thanks again for your support. It gives me the time to think and write that I never had before.
This is an edited version of an article that appeared in the San Jose, California, Mercury News . Reprinted by permission of the author.