Civil Asset Forfeiture…

An enormous injustice that is not entirely addressed by Senator Loveless’ bill, though it is a positive step at addressing this outright brigandry.

For readers unfamiliar with this concept of Asset Forfeiture, it is simply a cop’s ability to take cash, cars, and other property, if he suspects that the property is in some way connected to the drug trade.  Even if there is no conviction for the crime you are accused of, the police force may keep this property and use it to enrich themselves, even paying off someone’s personal student loans as seen in a recent case.

Any wonder why they are so dedicated to opposing reforms?

And maybe, if you are flying down I-95 with thirty grand in cash stashed away in your car, yeah, it might very well have something to do with drugs.  However, that does not matter, as we are innocent until proven guilty.

The system of asset forfeiture turns justice on it’s head; it implies that we are guilty until proven innocent, that is, if we can prove ourselves innocent at all.  Proving ourselves innocent is often a costly and long legal battle which isn’t even worth the effort.

Asset forfeiture is a blatant violation of our natural right to property and violates one of the provisions on that big stone that Oklahoma legislators are fighting so hard to keep in place: thou shalt not steal.

Just as we should fight for the right to life without contradictions, just as we should fight for the right to liberty without contradictions, we should also fight for the right to property, without contradictions.  One is essential to all the rest.

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The Oath Keepers and supporters claim this is necessary in the war on drugs.  We must fight the cartels!  But it is the war on drugs that has sustained the violent cartel drug trafficking, just as prohibition sustained the mafia in the 1920s.

There will always be a demand for such illicit products; the question is, would we rather have production done by legitimate, peaceful enterprises, or by violent ones?  If we wish the former, we should end this senseless war.

But the silly war on drugs must be continued; there is lots of profit to be made out of it.

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The Oath Keepers and Irony…

It is really something to hear the rhetoric these “oath keepers” have to offer.  In one breath they go on about how government should be limited and how there is a runaway bureaucracy, and in the next breath they demand the imprisonment of anyone who dares oppose the military, as well as the ability to take property from its owners because there is a “suspicion” that it might be “connected” with drugs.

I guess the irony is lost on them.

I did not go to this Oath Keepers convention, but there was an excellent write up on the event in the Red Dirt Report. (here)

Indeed, outright irony!  The “Oath Keepers” pledge to disobey any orders that violate the Constitution – but they conveniently forget about the first amendment.  Allow me to quote:

The comments came during a meeting of the Oklahoma Oath Keepers, an American nonprofit organization that generally advocates its members disobey any orders they believe violate the U.S. Constitution. The group met at the Mustang Community Center for four hours with speeches by several elected officials including Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards and state Rep. Dan Fisher (R-Yukon).

Edwards, known for his opposition to a legislative proposal that would change Oklahoma’s civil asset forfeiture laws, apparently doesn’t believe in the First Amendment. Edwards called for Westboro Baptist Church members and those who burn the flag, to be jailed. He also said war protesters and those who are critical of the military “shouldn’t be allowed in this country.”

“People who were burning the American flag should have been thrown in jail,” he said, a comment that drew a thunderous ovation. “People who fly any flag above the American flag should be put in jail for treason.”

Edwards also said Westboro Baptist Church members who protested outside a soldier’s funeral in Mustang would have been jailed if he had been in town.

Changing the subject to religion, Edwards said the United States was founded on God and Christianity “and no heathen religion.”

Let’s deal with these ridiculous errors one at a time.

  • The Flag. Rothbard, in the October 1995 issue of The Free Market* asks, when talking about a proposal to outlaw “desecration” of the American flag, “‘Desecration’ means ‘to divest of a sacred character or office.’ Is the American flag, battle emblem of the U.S. government, supposed to be ‘sacred’? Are we to make a religion of statolatry? What sort of grotesque religion is that?”  Flag Laws, such as the ones proposed by these Oath Keepers, “…are unjustifiable violations of the rights of private property.”
  • The Military. Although they don’t deserve any hatred, they don’t deserve blind worship either; I need not go into the dangers of worship of the military.
  • The US was founded on the Christian Religion. This myth persists after long being disproven, even in the face of the 1797 treaty of Tripoli which states very clearly that “  the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…” **  America was founded on Freedom, and was not intended to be founded on Christian precepts.  If it were, surely they would have found a place in the Constitution – but they didn’t.  Indeed, the only reference to religion at all in the Constitution other than the first amendment is in Article Six, which tells us that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

More to come.

*Rothbard’s full article, “The Flag Flap” :  https://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/murray-n-rothbard/the-flag-flap-2/

** Complete text of the 1797 treaty of Tripoli:  http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/bar1796t.asp