US's biggest fail of the 20th Century?

It would have to be Prohibition.

Not just the alcohol prohibition of the 20’s which is what people think of when you say, “prohibition” but the whole idea that some things are bad and should be illegal.

The problem is that things are neither good nor bad, they just are. The way they are used by people may be good or bad, but that’s an action not a thing.

People’s actions are the proper area for law enforcement, not things.

This post by Newbius and this one by Karl Denninger got me thinking about Prohibition.

Yes, Alcohol prohibition was a disaster. The War on Some Drugs has been a complete failure at it’s purported goal. But beyond that the whole concept behind prohibition is fatally flawed. The idea that a particular thing has no or limited good use and should be illegal is just flat out wrong.

Show me ANY thing that is illegal and I can show multiple good uses. The fact that something MIGHT be used for bad is just prior restraint, something we don’t like when applied to speech.

When you outlaw things you wind up with crazy laws. Shotgun barrels under 18 inches are illegal and possession of one is a felony. Unless you paid a tax.


18 1/4 inches OK. 17 3/4 inches, felony. (Again, unless a tax is paid)

So, that missing 1/2 inch of metal that is so horrible, so heinous that it deserves a felony conviction is perfectly OK if I pay a tax on it first.

Can we institute a murder tax too? After all, if paying a tax makes felonies ok then why not issue tax stamps for murder? Everyone has a better off dead list, wouldn’t it be nice to just pay a tax and get to work?

Oh, but murder is immoral. :/

OK, so 1/2 inch of metal is immoral too? No? :/


Or how about all you Dave Ramsey fans, carrying around your envelopes of cash. You are all suspected drug dealers and your cash can be confiscated unless you can prove in court that you came by it honestly. They actually arrest your money. Not you, you’re free to go. Can’t prove YOU did anything but your money is pure evil and must be locked up in the city’s bank account for it’s own good.

Laws against things never work out. You can’t stop people from getting the things they want and you only make problems worse by making a thing illegal.

Let’s get back to policing behavior and not things, M’kay?

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3 Responses to US's biggest fail of the 20th Century?

  1. Weer'd Beard says:

    The Shotgun barrel thing, is right there with one-gun-a-month, or our magazine restrictions. I call it the “Numbers Game”, and it boils down to somebody pulled some oddball number out of their ass and wrote a law around it. The backbone of the law is bullshit….everything else supporting it is just supporting bullshit.

    I can go out RIGHT NOW and be back in a few hours with a S&W 4006 pistol. But here in the state I need to have the standard 4006 magazines substituted with Massachusetts legal 10 round magazines from the standard 11. ELEVEN, ONE round difference makes it a crime (unless it happens to be made BEFORE it was a crime, in which case that’s OK to)

    Hell I could be lazy and fill up the magazine and rack the slide and I’d be illegally walking around with 11 rounds of .40 S&W on me….or I could LEGALLY simply replace a round in the magazine so now I’d have a LEGAL 11 rounds.

    Or I could do any combination of reloads or multiple guns and go totally hog-wild with my PERSONAL capability….and nobody can charge me. But the lawful CAPABILITY of that piece of metal is where the evil chinga lives.

    Again core of the law is bullshit, so there’s nothing you can do to salvage it.

    Also when you regulate THINGS because of bad things people do with it, it makes good things illegal (gran ma smoking a joint to keep her dinner down after chemo) but also doesn’t take into account similar bad things done with non-“evil” items (like somebody getting blind drunk of whisky, or somebody beating their buddy to death with a framing hammer).

    S T U P I D!

  2. Mattexian says:

    On the idea of felony tax stamps, they did try that for a while with some drugs, as some half-thought-out plan to bust drug runners and dealers for not having paid the proper taxes. I think it got dropped because a lawyer reminded them that if it’s illegal, then how can it be taxed?

  3. Wally says:

    Used to be able to buy an indulgence from the catholic church. Now, they come from BATFE.

    Immoral indeed.

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