Crimes can be divided into two categories: crimes against people, and crimes against The State.
The distinction should be obvious. Crimes against people are acts that cause actual harm to someone or to their property. You hit someone, murder someone, rape someone, throw a brick through someone’s window, steal their car, etc. That person knows what has happened to them.
Crimes against The State are different. There may be no member of The Public who knows what was done, because no person was harmed or affect in any way. If you go home at night, and smoke some pot before going to bed, you have committed a crime against The State. Even if you don’t actually smoke your pot, but just have a pot pipe in a drawer, you have committed a crime against The State (possession of drug paraphernalia). If you have a pistol in the attic at the same time that you have a pot pipe, you have committed yet another crime against The State (possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug crime), and will end up in prison for 20 years. Nobody was harmed or affected in any way, but you will be deprived of your liberty for a good portion of your life. Your neighbors can’t possibly have been aware of this heinous act until after they see the SWAT team raid your house. On the other hand, if you had broken into a neighbor’s house and murdered him, you would spend, on average, only 12 years in prison.
There’s another example of the stupidity of the whole concept of a “crime against The State:” Imagine that you have a government-issued license to carry a handgun, but you forgetfully leave it in your car while you go into a store. A policeman somehow comes to ask to see your license as you unlock your car door, and you tell him it’s in the car. He will arrest you for “carrying a handgun without a license” since the license is not “in your possession.” Now, let’s say that when they search your car, they find a joint in the glove compartment, under your handgun license. You will also be charged with possession of marijuana, AND, since that’s a drug crime, you also get the added pleasure of being charged with “possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug crime.” Now, let’s get this straight – the pot and your license are both in your car but you are NOT in your car, and according to the law, you are possessing the pot and NOT in possession of your license, even though they are both in the same place. Was anyone harmed by your actions? Was anyone deprived of the use of their property by your actions? No, but you’ll still be put in prison for over 20 years (at taxpayer’s expense, I might add). You could have ROBBED the store and only had to serve 5 years in prison!
So, why are these things “crimes” since nobody is harmed in any way? The same reason you may go to jail if you don’t stand up when a judge enters a courtroom: CONTROL. Governments can have no legitimate claims on your life, liberty, and property if you obey every law. So, to increase their influence over as many people as possible, they create laws against The State that span nearly every possible aspect of existence. A government that has no CONTROL over a wide range of citizens is a government that is limited to the legitimate tasks of a legitimate government. There is obviously no profit in that for the politicians! The only solution is to write enough unjust, unConstitutional, contradictory, and vague laws that every person could be arrested at any time for a wide variety of crimes. People understand this deep down, and it is this very knowledge that keeps most people subservient to The State.
All of this plays perfectly into the hands of those who are somehow “offended” when you do, think, or say something with which they disagree – even though nobody suffers actual harm by your acts, thoughts, or words. Can thoughts or words ever cause actual harm? In the case of libel or slander, words can cause actual harm, but otherwise, I fail to see how anything you can possibly think or say would cause anyone actual harm. Hurtful words can cause discomfort to those who hear them. But is that always bad? Can’t hearing words that shock or offend you sometimes cause you to think about subjects you may otherwise never have considered? Sometimes words can be intentionally used by people who mean to insult others. They can be mean, nasty words. But, do those words cause actual harm? I hardly think so. Now those people who wish to speak hurtful words are told by our government that the feelings of those they would insult are more important than their right to speak. Many hurtful words are caused simply by ignorance, which is a major cause of bigotry. Only in the free market of ideas can this ignorance be cured, and the bigotry examined and shown to be based on misconceptions. Those who want us all to conform to some “touchy-feely” standard apparently think otherwise. and don’t want a free market of ideas at all, because they would rather tell us what to think and believe.
Now, according to the government, your prison sentence can be much longer if you are proven guilty if the government can simply suggest that you were thinking an unapproved thought while you committed the crime. So, your thought, whether you actually had that thought or not, results in a longer, separate sentence. In other words, it is a crime in itself. I doubt if it makes any difference to the victim exactly why they were victimized. If the criminal who victimized them was insane, and was having extremely good thoughts toward the victim while they committed their crime, would that make the victim feel better? I somehow doubt it. Would it make the crime less deadly? Hmmm, dead is dead. Raped is raped. No matter what the state of mind of the criminal, the end result is the same. But the criminal would serve less time. I guess in the eyes of the government it’s better to murder a perfect stranger (or your best friend) than it is to murder someone you dislike.
Our government, in all its wisdom, feels differently, and has finally implemented what Orwell foresaw: Thoughtcrime.
After everything else is regulated, mandated, or outright banned, the only area left for the government to invade is your thoughts.