I have an old metal sign, framed and hung on my office wall.
It says: Help the President with Law Enforcement! Repeal the 18th Amendment....for Prosperity!
Lots of stuff is illegal just because it happens to be against the law. Or to paraphrase the old gun slogan: If everything is criminalized, then all citizens will be criminals.
Interesting conference at Heritage; MP3 here.
Thanks to William G. Atwell, Prison Fellowship Ministries, for sending it along.
But...I have to ask: Ed Meese? Ed MEESE? I accept that big Ed has it right on the federalism (return police power to the states) issue. But yikes.
By itself the pure "return power to the states" perspective is only a half measure, or quarter measure. Here is my view.....
The ideal is self-ownership, and self-responsibility. I drink too much, I have an accident, I owe very large restitution, and since I committed violence, I go to jail. I have violated, egregiously, my promise not to initiate violence against others.
In most matters, I would like for the "policy" choices (say, do we smoke marijuana?) to be "local." Meaning, I decide for me, and you decide for you. My mind decides for my body. That's local control.
Once politics gets into it, then I start deciding for you, and you start deciding for me. Not good, but less is better. Better if these choices are local, made at the small town level than at the county level. Better at the county level than the state level. And better at the state level than the federal level. And better at the federal level than at the North American Union level. (EEK!)
So, sure, moving from the fed level down to the states is a small improvement (although the states abused that right in Jim Crow, and resisted basic human rights for blacks for decades).
But the real problems is criminalizing everything. It's not FEDERAL criminalizing everything, it's making crimes of consensual behavior at ANY level. Moving from fed to state control simply makes it easier to get some states to do the right thing, the opposite of Madison's argument in Federalist #10.
I don't see that it matters that much if you are in fed prison, or a city jail. In both cases, you might as well free your mind, 'cause your ass ain't goin' nowhere.*
Help the President, the Governor, the Mayor, and the traffic cop with law enforcement. Get rid of a bunch of laws.
(*Plagiarized from John Stewart)