Yes, You Have Something to Fear, Even if You’re a Law-Abiding Person

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Yes, You Have Something to Fear, Even if You’re a Law-Abiding Person

Post  Anti Federalist on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:49 pm

Yes, You Have Something to Fear, Even if You’re a Law-Abiding Person

Daniel J. Mitchell | Jul 11, 2013

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2013/07/11/yes-you-have-something-to-fear-even-if-youre-a-lawabiding-person-n1638243

Whether we’re talking about NSA spying, cross-border collection and sharing of private financial data by tax-hungry governments, pointlessly intrusive money-laundering laws, or other schemes to give the state more power and authority, we’re often told that “if you’re a law-abiding person, you have nothing to fear.”

But that assumes government is both competent and trustworthy.

You don’t have to be a crazed libertarian like me to realize that those two words are not a good description of Washington.

The IRS scandal is just one recent example of politicians and bureaucrats behaving badly. Heck, this blog is basically just a collection of examples illustrating the incompetence and venality of the public sector, augmented by my snarky comments and economic evangelizing.

That being said, while we may get irritated by government waste, senseless snooping, and onerous taxes, we’re actually lucky.

The people who really suffer are the law-abiding folks (like Martha Boneta) who wind up in the crosshairs of less-than-savory folks in government, which includes not just politicians, but also some law enforcement officials and oftentimes ambitious prosecutors.

And you could be next, even if you’re a goody-two-shoes type who actually obeys speed limits. Simply stated, government is so big and has so many laws that every one of us is probably guilty of something.

And if we cross the wrong bureaucrat, our lives may be ruined – particularly since there are very few checks and balances to restrain these petty tyrants.

Professor Glenn Reynolds (a good guy despite teaching at the University of Tennessee Law School) addresses this issue in a very good article for the Columbia Law Review.

Here’s some of what Professor Reynolds wrote, starting with a brief explanation of the underlying problem.

Prosecutorial discretion poses an increasing threat to justice. The threat has in fact grown more severe to the point of becoming a due process issue. …prosecutors’ discretion to charge—or not to charge—individuals with crimes is a tremendous power, amplified by the large number of laws on the books. …If prosecutors were not motivated by politics, revenge, or other improper motives, the risk of improper prosecution would not be particularly severe. However, such motivations do, in fact, encourage prosecutors to pursue certain individuals, like the gadfly Aaron Swartz, while letting others off the hook—as in the case of Gregory, a popular newscaster generally supportive of the current administration. This problem has been discussed at length in Gene Healy’s Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything and Harvey Silverglate’s Three Felonies a Day. The upshot of both books is that the proliferation of federal criminal statutes and regulations has reached the point where virtually every citizen, knowingly or not (usually not) is potentially at risk for prosecution.

(Rest at link)

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Re: Yes, You Have Something to Fear, Even if You’re a Law-Abiding Person

Post  Anti Federalist on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:51 pm

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Re: Yes, You Have Something to Fear, Even if You’re a Law-Abiding Person

Post  News Hawk on Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:15 am

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Re: Yes, You Have Something to Fear, Even if You’re a Law-Abiding Person

Post  WHL on Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:22 am

Tell us about Martha Boneta, Anti.
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Re: Yes, You Have Something to Fear, Even if You’re a Law-Abiding Person

Post  Anti Federalist on Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:42 pm

All of those people and things listed are very unlikely to grenade my home in the middle of the night and shove automatic weapons in my face, possibly opening fire on me, my wife, children and pets.

Agents of my own government, on the other hand...Evil or Very Mad 

News Hawk wrote:
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