Reading – The Tyranny of Good Intentions

Reading - The Tyranny of Good IntentionsREADING FOR INSIGHT AND ACTION

By Faith Schullstrom

 

The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Law in the Name of Justice by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton

 

Originally published in 2000 and updated in 2008, The Tyranny of Good Intentions remains a provocative, if somewhat depressing, text.  The authors demonstrate how laws designed to prevent bad behavior or ”crack down on crime” fail to protect the individual as crusading legislators and unscrupulous enforcers of the law and prosecutors turn the law into a weapon.

As the presumption of innocence is abrogated, the consequences are severe. The authors assert that the United States “has not only the largest percentage of its citizens imprisoned but also the largest absolute number in prison.” This amounts to about 1 in 32 American citizens — 700,000 more people than are imprisoned in China. More importantly, our belief in who we are and what our Constitution provides is shaken.

While no solutions are offered, this bipartisan broadside provides stimulus to examine and reflect upon the unintended consequences of our policies and positions.