The Mountain of Legal Injustice in the USA

In view of the thousands of laws in the USA for whose violation people are punished even though no identifiable person has been harmed by their actions, is it not wholly appropriate to say that those who are punished are in fact being punished for political crimes?

For example, persons entering or leaving the USA must file a declaration of the exact amount of cash and negotiable monetary instruments they are carrying if they have more than $10,000, notwithstanding that the money is their own. Here are the penalties for failure to file an accurate report as stated on FinCEN Form 105:

PENALTIES: Civil and criminal penalties, including under certain circumstances a
fine of not more than $500,000 and Imprisonment of not more than ten years, are
provided for failure to file a report, filing a report containing a material omission or
misstatement, or filing a false or fraudulent report. In addition, the currency or
monetary instrument may be subject to seizure and forfeiture. See 31 U.S.C.5321
and 31 CFR 1010.820; 31 U.S.C. 5322 and 31 CFR 1010.840; 31 U.S.C. 5317 and
31 CFR 1010.830, and U.S.C. 5332.

Think about this. For the “crime” of carrying, say, $20,000 of my own money into or out of the USA without accurately reporting it, the government may legally take the money, fine me $500,000, and put me in a steel cage for 10 years. Think about it. Are such reporting requirements in themselves not an outrageous invasion of one’s privacy and peaceful personal affairs? And are not the absurdly severe penalties for mere failure to make an accurate report the stuff of nightmares?

If you think about this law, which is but a single example among thousands that might be given, and you suppose that it is the kind of law that ought to be enforced in a free society, may God have mercy on your erring soul. The USA has become a legal nightmare of perfectly legal injustice, and aside from the lawyers, who thrive on this vast body of injustices, hardly anyone has an inkling of just how enormous and pervasive it really is.

Yet every day, millions of Americans are thinking, there ought to be a law . . . .

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, author or editor of over fourteen Independent books, and Editor at Large of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.
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