The New Jim Crow Revisited

in drugwar •  10 months ago 

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In her fantastic debut authoring The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander draws the common thread of man’s inhumanity to man in the forms of Slavery, post-Civil War Jim Crow laws and mass incarceration—The New Jim Crow. She makes a strong case that the War on Drugs is the root cause for the steep rise in prison and jail populations in the United States and she exposes the ugly truth that racial discrimination is alive and unwelcome in this age of mass incarceration.

To create a social movement to end the War on Drugs and its resultant mass incarceration, we need to examine what is LAW. Laws can be generally divided into two categories: malum prohibitum, wrong because prohibited; and malum in se, conduct that is evil in and of itself. It is with the former that the difficulty lies—who gets to decide what will be prohibited and what is the basis for their assertion of authority to enforce their dictates with violence and coercion?

What is LAW?

Universal, non-man-made, binding and immutable conditions that govern the consequences of behavior. Natural Law Seminar , by Mark Passio
What then is Law? That law, I mean, which, and which only, judicial tribunals are morally bound, under all circumstances, to declare and sustain?

In answering this question, I shall attempt to show that law is an intelligible principle of right, necessarily resulting from the nature of man; and not an arbitrary rule, that can be established by mere will, numbers or power.

To determine whether this proposition be correct, we must look at the general signification of the term law.

The true and general meaning of it, is that natural, permanent, unalterable principle, which governs any particular thing or class of things. The principle is strictly a natural one; and the term applies to every natural principle, whether mental, moral or physical. The Unconstitutionality of Slavery by Lysander Spooner

It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws. What, then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Collective right, then, has its principle, its reason for existing, its lawfulness, in individual right; and the common force cannot rationally have any other end, or any other mission, than that of the isolated forces for which it is substituted. Thus, as the force of an individual cannot lawfully touch the person, the liberty, or the property of another individual—for the same reason, the common force cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, the liberty, or the property of individuals or of classes.

LAW IS ORGANIZED JUSTICE. The Law , by Frédéric Bastiat

It is a maxim of the law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent; that is, without the intent to invade the person or property of another. But no one ever practises a vice with any such criminal intent. He practises his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any malice toward others.

Unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be on earth no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as the right of one man to the control of his own person and property, and the corresponding and co-equal rights of another man to the control of his own person and property.

For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be falsehood, or falsehood truth. Vices are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty by Lysander Spooner

Natural law, then, is the paramount law. And, being the paramount law, it is necessarily the only law: for, being applicable to every possible case that can arise touching the rights of men, any other principle or rule, that should arbitrarily be applied to those rights, would necessarily conflict with it. And, as a merely arbitrary, partial and temporary rule must, of necessity, be of less obligation than a natural, permanent, equal and universal one, the arbitrary one becomes, in reality, of no obligation at all, when the two come in collision. Consequently, there is, and can be, correctly speaking, no law but natural law. There is no other principle or rule, applicable to the rights of men, that is obligatory in comparison with this, in any case whatever. And this natural law is no other than that rule of natural justice, which results either directly from men’s natural rights, or from such acquisitions as they have a natural right to make, or from such contracts as they have a natural right to enter into. The Unconstitutionality of Slavery by Lysander Spooner

Call it what you will: God’s Law, Moral Law, Natural Law—when arbitrary laws come into conflict with natural laws, the former must yield. This is what ultimately happened with slavery and the unjust racial discrimination that masqueraded as law under the Old Jim Crow. The challenge before us now to create a social movement to stop the War on Drugs and end the age of mass incarceration under the New Jim Crow, is to acknowledge the conflict that exists between arbitrary laws such as the Controlled Substances Act and the natural, immutable, inalienable, permanent, and binding LAW that declares that every human being is the owner and master of their own bodies with an inherent right to inoffensively possess and consume any substance they want. By “inoffensively”, I mean that the consumption of a substance under no circumstance can be claimed as a reason for the abdication of personal responsibility, or give license to infringe on the life, liberty or property of another human being.
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Great article, it's also worth looking at how prison labour is just a continuation of slavery.

Thanks! Good point.

  ·  10 months ago Reveal Comment

So you believe that all laws are fair and just? I don't.
The war on drugs exists to control vulnerable people.

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ' an unjust law is no law at all.”

  ·  10 months ago Reveal Comment