Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Governmental Power

 

“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

I am not a big fan of Ayn Rand. (I know some of you are, but please don’t bother to convert me. It is a waste of time.) She has brilliant insights at times, however, and this is one. Somehow it seems particularly relevant after recent revelations about the corruption within the Mueller investigation.

He and his team seem intent on validating Lavrentiy Beria’s saying “Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime.” We have enough laws in this country that everyone is violating one. Which means we are all at the mercy of prosecutors who can exercise or withhold prosecutoral discretion based on whatever whim takes their fancy.

There are 12 comments.

  1. Bob Thompson Member

    Seawriter: She has brilliant insights at times, and this is one.

    And she had more than one. I am a fan, but I view her as going too far with some ideas. You are correct about where we find ourselves with respect to federal criminal law and a really bad feature is how it can be selectively applied using prosecutorial discretion as a useful tool.

    • #1
    • December 6, 2017, at 7:03 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member

    Seawriter: We have enough laws in this country that everyone is violating one. Which means we are all at the mercy of prosecutors who can exercise or withhold prosecutoral discretion based on whatever whim takes their fancy.

    It’s hard to overestimate the chilling effect this has on the exercise of our freedoms, and on our economy. A businessman thinks he can do something, but decides that he’d better not. So nothing happens. This is why I find the term “Progressive” so ironic – if their goal was to stop progress, they would behave exactly as they do – just like this.

    • #2
    • December 6, 2017, at 7:38 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  3. civil westman Inactive

    You have hit upon two of my most-used quotes here in Ricochet. As in the former Soviet Union, the terrifying truth is that if one comes to the attention of the state apparatus, one can be sent to jail – unless one is a Clinton or Obama progressive. Failing conviction, the cost of a successful defense will bankrupt most anyone. This latter fact is also known to prosecutors and used by them to obtain guilty pleas. Keep your head down. Don’t stand out. This the future USSA, after all (united socialist states of amerika).

    • #3
    • December 6, 2017, at 7:59 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. Mim526 Member

    Wonderful post, @seawriter. Besides the Mueller investigation, criminalization within low income black communities in particular also came to mind. It’s a problem that will never be solved by the Colin Kaepernicks and Al Sharptons of the world. Where MLK made 2 steps forward, the social welfare laws have taken 1 step back.

    I see marches demanding equality, justice and peace. Police shootings between black and white covered round the clock, sometimes accompanied by looting and rioting. Searching yet never defining exactly what will be enough, what does justice and peace look like?

    I see and I wonder as with so many other things: will we ever get past the posturing and spin to really solving the problem?

    • #4
    • December 6, 2017, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. James Gawron Thatcher

    Sea,

    My understanding of Ayn Rand is much like yours. I don’t swallow her philosophic claims or the artistic brilliance of everything she wrote. However, her mind was incredibly able to formulate a potent counterforce against the horrific 20th century collectivist attack on the individual. Thus some of her concepts are stunningly useful.

    Mueller and Comey, if both were once men of integrity, lost their souls to the Clintons. Ayn Rand would use them in one her novels as examples of how the collectivist mentality undermines the integrity of men and turns them into corrupt puppets. The last person one would want as a “special prosecutor” is a corrupt puppet who does the bidding of a corrupt political puppeteer.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • December 6, 2017, at 8:45 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    Wow. That is just where we have been for the past twenty years.

    • #6
    • December 6, 2017, at 9:03 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Mim526 Member

    civil westman (View Comment):
    You have hit upon two of my most-used quotes here in Ricochet. As in the former Soviet Union, the terrifying truth is that if one comes to the attention of the state apparatus, one can be sent to jail – unless one is a Clinton or Obama progressive. Failing conviction, the cost of a successful defense will bankrupt most anyone. This latter fact is also known to prosecutors and used by them to obtain guilty pleas. Keep your head down. Don’t stand out. This the future USSA, after all (united socialist states of amerika).

    Don’t know that it’s been widely reported in much detail, but Andrew Weissmann, one of Mueller’s lead attorneys, was the one who put Arthur Andersen, once one of the top 5 public accounting firms in the US, out of business. He aggressively overcharged them by indicting the whole firm, despite pleading from defense attorneys, which meant the company couldn’t do any work for publicly traded companies (the lifeblood of the firm). Within months of defense’s plea not to indict the whole firm, it dissolved resulting in loss of over 20,000 jobs.

    When the case came before the SCOTUS, it was completely overturned and the Chief Justice remarked at how little evidence had been required [from Weissmann the lead prosecutor] to convince the jury.

    • #7
    • December 6, 2017, at 9:07 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Judge Mental Member

    Three Felonies a Day

    • #8
    • December 6, 2017, at 11:59 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    Good quotation, Seawriter, and this certainly shows how easy it can be to start a good conversation on Ricochet.


    This particular conversation is part of our Quote of the Day Series. The series was started by a Ricochet member, it’s coördinated by a member, and every day our members find material to start another fine conversation. Wouldn’t you like to be one of them? Our schedule and sign-up sheet is here.

    But it’s not the only series that members have started here. We also have our Group Writing Series, which in December has the theme of Holiday Traditions and Treats. If you might like to contribute a favorite memory of a family tradition or a favorite family recipe for a holiday treat that we all might enjoy, our schedule and sign-up sheet for that series is here.

    • #9
    • December 6, 2017, at 12:06 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Arahant Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    Three Felonies a Day

    It’s good to have a goal. ?

    • #10
    • December 6, 2017, at 12:07 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Mim526 Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    Three Felonies a Day

    Seeing Alan Dershowitz as an author of that book reminded me of a point I’ve seen him making repeatedly lately: that both sides (Dem & Rep) are too quick to criminalize their political opponents.

    • #11
    • December 6, 2017, at 12:53 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Paul Dougherty Member

    Seems to me Ayn Rand was excellent at identifying problems, not so much solutions.

    • #12
    • December 6, 2017, at 2:19 PM PST
    • 6 likes