On my Fox Business program this week (Thursday @ 9pm ET), we take a look at the new threats to freedom, like Congress's drive to create more Federal crimes. It reminds me of a scene in Atlas Shrugged, where a powerful government official, Dr. Floyd Ferris, tells an industrialist:
"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. ... 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."
That’s pretty much America today. If you live an active life, build something, start or run a business, it's pretty much impossible to live without breaking some law. In my syndicated column this week, I write about people who went to jail for doing things they didn't know were a crime:
National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) received an anonymous fax that a seafood shipment to Alabama from David McNab contained "undersized lobster tails" and was improperly packed in clear plastic bags, rather than the cardboard boxes allegedly required under Honduran law. When the $4 million shipment arrived, NMFS agents seized it. McNab served eight years in prison, even though the Honduran government informed the court that the regulation requiring cardboard boxes had been repealed.
... Palo Alto, Calif., ordered Kay Leibrand, a grandmother, to lower her carefully trimmed hedges. Leibrand argued that no one's vision was obstructed and asked the code officer to take a look. He refused. Then the city dispatched two police officers. They arrested her, loaded her into a patrol car in front of her neighbors and hauled her down to the station.
... Congress creates, on average, one new crime every week. Federal agencies create thousands more -- so many, in fact that the Congressional Research Service itself said that merely counting them would be impossible.
Full column here.