Thursday, March 22, 2012
A list of "19 Signs That America Has Become A Crazy Control Freak Nation Where Almost Everything Is Illegal" first drew my attention because I was sure that at least something on the list might not really belong there -- and left me amazed after I checked each item that its author was able to limit himself to only nineteen items.
Two of the items are directly related to previous blog posts here. I'll elaborate on each here, but the whole list is worth a look.
Item 18, which states that, "In San Juan Capistrano, California it is illegal to hold a home Bible study without a 'conditional use permit', is about a case I discussed here a few months ago. Back then, I concluded that there may well have been a legitimate reason for government intervention in that case, but that the actual remedy was wrong. This was, with one possible exception I haven't the time to dig deeper into, the only item on this list whose inclusion was dubious -- and it ultimately still belongs!
Item 14 leads to a story headlined by a statistic from a Heritage Foundation report: Congress manufactures one new crime a week. (At least, as of four years ago, that was the rate.)
There are at least 4,450 offenses in federal criminal law. That's the number Louisiana State University law professor John S. Baker Jr., and his researchers came up with in a just-published report.That article goes on to cite many of the absurd non-individual rights-violating "crimes" that have landed ordinary citizens in jail that I learned about from an article in the Wall Street Journal and passed on last year.
Baker's work updates a 1983 count conducted by the Justice Department itself. That tally found more than 3,000 criminal laws -- meaning that in just 25 years Congress has created some 1,400 criminal offenses.
Both Baker and the Justice Department cautioned that they couldn't be sure they had found them all. Congress has scattered criminal offenses throughout the tens of thousands of pages of the United States Code.
Baker's study also found that at least 454 federal crimes were added from 2000 to 2007. That's an average of about 56 new federal crimes a year.
In short, Congress has been creating one new crime a week.