Senator Lindsey Graham said something quite telling the other day. He said, regarding Julian Assange, the guy behind Wikileaks, "I am in favor of prosecuting those who undermine the war effort."
Just one problem: There is no law against undermining the war effort. It is neither a legal nor a moral crime. So what Graham actually said was, "I am in favor of investigating a person I don't like until we find a means of putting him away."
That is not the purpose of law, and that is why I ignore each and every one of Washington's grand legal pronouncements.
The purpose of law is, one, to provide for the defense of natural rights and, two, to provide a framework for the peaceful resolution of disputes among the members of a society. Any other purpose to which the law may be put is an abuse of the state's coercive force.
But what has happened in this country is that petty dictators have learned to use the coercive force of the state to settle their own grievances. The law now has been converted into a mere collection of legal mechanisms whose highest and best moral use, it seems, is in providing a means of putting away people we don't like.
And thus we have Graham baldly stating that he is in favor of prosecuting someone for something that is not a crime.
Now witness this:
It is just a technical matter, the Obama administration says: We just need to make a slight change in a law to make clear that we have the right to see the names of anyone’s e-mail correspondents and their Web browsing history without the messy complication of asking a judge for permission.
Don't you see? We can't seem to arrest the domestic criminals who deposited a 7-series compressor on Murray Street, but now we need access to everyone's web browsing history in case we think you're a terriss.
Do you see how useful the terriss are?
I have an idea: Let's just keep a complete dossier and comprehensive diary on everyone's every action over the course of their lives. And then when they do something that we don't like, all we have to do is to moisten our fingertip and thumb through their entire life until we find something that plausibly fits our million and one laws and then we can successfully pluck them off the street and drop them into a prison.
Is that the world you want to live in? Where your highest aspiration in life is to successfully evade imprisonment? To conduct yourself according to the rules by which you may not offend anyone's interests?
I know myself and I know my life. Only I am privy to my complete history. But I absolutely guarantee you that that jurisdiction will find some means of putting me away forever. And if I cannot be gotten rid of by more conventional means, they will have their partners in some black compartment assassinate me.
I assure you that they will get rid of me by one means or another.
Twenty years ago, no decent middle class person could have tolerated the moral indictment of going to prison. It would have constituted a stain on the family name. Going to prison was shameful.
But now it's a badge of honor. A friend of mine and I were talking about a thing we read in the paper, about some guy who went down the river for the non-crime of growing some marijuana plants. He said, "That must be hard on his family, to have a felon in the family now."
I replied, "Oh, it's nothing. This is America. Everyone gets to go to jail."
No decent person even recognizes that jurisdiction, much less does one concern himself with its mush-mouthed, preverbal legal gruntings. It somehow made torture a legal activity.
That Frankenstein's monster wouldn't know the first thing about the law. No person interested in the proper elevation of law as the expression of civilized men would even permit that hunchbacked freak a seat at the table.
Shut the fuck up.