Everyone a Criminal

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

Everyone a Criminal


Byline: Paul Craig Roberts, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Be warned: Law, once a shield of the innocent, is now a weapon in the hands of government. Conservatives generally ignore such warnings, feeling that criticism of the criminal justice system plays into the hands of criminals.

Since the 1980s, I have endeavored to make Americans aware of how the legal protections against tyranny are being lost. This work reached its most general statement in my book, "The Tyranny of Good Intentions," coauthored with Larry Stratton and published in 2000.

Accidents and civil offenses have been criminalized, and the prohibitions against crimes without intent, retroactive law and self-incrimination have been removed. Even the attorney-client privilege is being eroded.

Conservatives are not alarmed by these developments. They continue to support sweeping definitions of criminal liability and harsher penalties. Prosecutors have been granted wide discretion by social welfare regulation, which criminalizes behavior that bears no relationship to moral wrongs (such as murder) which traditionally defined criminal acts. Today, Americans draw prison sentences for unknowingly violating vague regulations, the meanings of which are interpreted by the regulatory police who enforce the regulations.

The fact that law is interpreted and enforced by unelected regulatory authorities violates the requirement of our political system that law must be accountable to the people.

Law, which once served a concept of justice, has been replaced by a tyranny that answers only to the conscience of prosecutors. One might think this development would strike a chord among conservatives. However, intent on chasing down criminals and now terrorists, conservatives have turned a deaf ear to the collapse of the legal structure built over the centuries in order to protect the innocent.

Paul Rosenzweig's Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum, "The Over-Criminalization of Social and Economic Conduct," thus comes as a welcome development. If conservative foundations are catching on, their considerable influence, even at this late date, might rescue law from tyranny.

Mr. Rosenzweig's paper focuses on the destruction of mens rea, the principle that a criminal act requires intent to do harm. This principle has been pulled down by regulatory crimes that impose criminal liability regardless of intent or even of fault.

He illustrates the point with Edward Hanousek, a manager with a railroad in Alaska. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Everyone a Criminal
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.