Joel Bowman

Chances are, you’re a criminal. At least as defined by the state.

You might not be one of the 83,000 people who are sent to prison in the United States every single year… and you might not have run afoul of one of the 4,500 (and counting) federal statutes…but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook…

There are still tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of additional laws, rules, regulations, writs, decrees, codes, charters, bylaws, edicts, mandates, ordinances, notices, requirements, rulings, precedents, injunctions, intrusions and assorted other meddling, do-gooder nanny statisms to catch you with your proverbial pants down.

(Ed. Note: Being caught with your pants down, variously known as “indecent exposure,” “public lewdness” and “public indecency,” may also be a crime, depending on where you’re reading this note.)

In many ways, we are fast approaching what author T.H. White, in his book, The Once and Future King, described as the Totalitarian Principle: Everything not forbidden is compulsory. It is quite impossible to know, much less abide by, all the rules and regulations on the books.

But if only that were the worst of it!

Not only must we fall in line behind laws we don’t — and cannot possibly — know, but the state issuing these cunning curtailments of our liberties also reserves the right to change and manipulate the rules of the game…often while the ball is still in the air. It might choose, for instance, to introduce a brand new law, one fitted out with special, retro-active powers. Or it might elect to reinterpret an existing law, a rereading, one invariably in its own favor. Alternatively, it might chose to simply ignore a law, again and almost always in service of its own benefit.

Telling the truth might, depending on the circumstances, get you rewarded a hundred million bucks…or an indefinite detainment without daylight or trial.

Reveal to the public that the state murders unarmed journalists and opens fire on children from Apache helicopters, for example, and a brutal hell awaits you. Aid and abet the same state in its quest to confiscate private funds, knowing roughly one-fifth of government expenditures go to aforementioned military activity, and you may count your reward in the millions. So went the cases we examined in our “Tale of Two Whistleblowers” column back in September of last year.

Increasingly, this same legislatively schizophrenic state is choosing to reward incompetence and, when it is not busy punishing decency, ignore acts of wanton criminality.

Eric Fry pointed out as much in his column, “The Corzine-Dimon Syndrome”, first published in these pages back in May of 2012.

“To reward incompetent finance company CEOs with billion-dollar bailouts,” wrote Eric, “is to punish the employees and shareholders of the prudently operated finance companies that compete with the firms receiving bailouts.

“To refrain from investigating and/or indicting Jon Corzine for ‘disappearing’ $1.6 billion of client funds is to punish both the 38,000 M.F. Global customers who are still missing the money they did not deserve to lose and the 1,000 employees who lost paychecks they did not deserve to lose.”

When it comes to state-run justice, Fellow Reckoner, there’s no justice like “show” justice. Jon Corzine, Jamie Dimon and Bradleys Manning and Birkenfeld return in today’s installment of our Daily Reckoning Best of 2012 Series to help make this point.

Joel Bowman
for The Daily Reckoning

Joel Bowman

Joel Bowman is a contributor to The Daily Reckoning. After completing his degree in media communications and journalism in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.

  • LJ

    This is what creates “scofflaws,” one who habitually violates the law. When the government creates a yoke nobody can bear, maybe it’s time to throw off the yoke.

Recent Articles

Addison Wiggin
One World, One Bank, One Currency

Addison Wiggin

After the 2008 financial crisis, little could be heard over the deafening cries of "mission accomplished." And while the Fed's massive QE program seemed to work, the question remains: for how long? Addison Wiggin explains why the next round of QE will fail miserably, paving the way for the IMF to step in with something called "special drawing rights." Read on...


Who’s Really Profiting from Drone Tech and How to Join Them

Wayne Mulligan

Despite what you hear in the mainstream news, the commercial market for small drones could eventually dwarf the military one. In fact, it’s already happening. This is a big market, and it's getting bigger by the day. Today, Wayne Mulligan explains how to get in on the ground floor. Read on...


2 Simple Charts that Will Help Improve Your Portfolio

Greg Guenthner

While a traditional "buy and hold" investment strategy can be a good way to make money in the long run, it's by no means the only way. For those investors who dismiss technical trading as a "witchcraft" and impossible to figure out, Greg Guenthner has just two charts to show you that could completely alter how you feel about trading stock market trends. Read on...


Why America Needs More Tax Inversion

Clem Chambers

American citizens aren’t the only ones fleeing the country because they don’t like the direction it’s headed. Corporations expatriate for similar reasons. So why are companies desperate enough about corporate tax to leave the U.S., the champion of freedom and enterprise? Clem Chambers explains here...


Video
Floating Exchange Rates are Causing a “Race to the Bottom”

Kate Incontrera

Milton Friedman is roundly regarded as one of the great economists of the 20th century. But his view of the Bretton Woods system was all wrong. And the current mess of floating exchange rates proves that. Today, Lewis Lehrman explains how the current monetary system pits every country against each other in a financial "race to the bottom"...