"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old Nonsense From the U.S. Supreme Court

I am proofreading a legal book about ineffective assistance of counsel. I was checking on some quotations from Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), when I came across the following in the majority opinion: "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." 384 U.S. at 491.

I call this nonsense for the following reason. The principle of inalienable rights (which is merely given lip service at all levels of government) should mean that a person actually and completely owns the property of his or her body and mind. That would mean that a person could use that property as he or she wants, just so long as in so doing that person does not violate the rights of others. That means, as adults (minors do not have full adult rights) a person should be able to use any chemical substance or drug he or she wishes--for any reason--if not violating the rights of others in so doing. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the laws that prohibits the manufacture, sales, and use of certain chemicals and drugs; laws that violate the inalienable rights of otherwise honest adults; the above Supreme Court quote notwithstanding.

Oh, and did I mention that the legal drugs, alcohol and nicotine, cause between 40 and 50 times more harm--disease, disability, and death--than all the illegal drugs combined? Or that the use of alcohol is the number one cause of both violent crimes and retardation in newborns? None of that matters because they are legal, whatever that means. One thing it doesn't mean is just.

Never confuse the fact that legality and justice do not equate. Otherwise, why would nearly one-half of our prison population, nearly one million people, be incarcerated for drug related activity? The vast majority of those people did not violate anyone's rights with their drug behavior. What they did was to offend the moral and religious beliefs of people who were able to get their beliefs enacted into secular law. That is not justice and it should be illegal.

No comments: