With so much happening with the NSA right now, many people are commenting the commonly-misplaced, “I have nothing to hide” logical fallacy. Danah Boyd has some interesting comments regarding that argument. I thought I would add to it quite a bit. using Danah’s context, a tax return audit is so scary because the tax code is so outrageously massive, counter-intuitive, and vague, there is no way for even experienced tax attorneys to know every detail, especially as it changes. For the record, the IRS’s enforceable tax code is about 9 million words. There is no possible way to know if you are compliant, and statistically speaking, you are not. But, you don’t know how you are out of compliance. Your tax attorney can only speculate your compliance (at $300/hr) and along with your accountant (at $150/hr). But don’t worry, the IRS will only take your hard-earned money, plus interest, plus penalties for not knowing the tax code, because ignorance is no excuse.
But the tax code is not the only example of the legal system our of control. Every area has gone crazy, from gun laws, to drug laws, to medical laws you can no longer judge your “legality” by the old method of coercion. You can’t buy cold medication without filling out forms and risking arrest for buying too much. In simpler days, you could simply apply the property rights test and the coercion test (Am I forcing [ or threatening force] somebody to comply with my wishes?) Using this test makes 99% of the situations very clear. But those days are long since gone.
Finally, because you commit 3 felonies a day, you have 3 reasons per day to keep the federal government out of your life. Because so much of our daily lives is illegal, you are literally playing the felony lottery every day when you invite the federal government into your lives. Its incredibly short sited as well. Because while the powers that be may agree with your life choices, the next batch may not be so agreeable. Just in case you thought it won’t happen to you, here is a case of a man arrested for taking pictures at night. While the cops knew it was not illegal to take photos, they did know he WOULD eventually commit a crime because so much is illegal. They simply waited for him to walk down an alley, then arrested him for his offense. They took his equipment and now he gets to fight a legal system stacked against him.
“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” – Ayn Rand