Updated: Sep 21, 2022
I think most of us would agree, the environment in our country is tense. And we all have an opinion on why that is. We're all able to point to one issue that we believe is unjust or unfair. And many of us are not wrong. Whatever it is, whatever side of the fence you're on; you are right. There is so much injustice and unfairness. It's everywhere.
On the flip side; by now most of us believe in social justice. We all believe that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. The problem is, too many of us believe that it already exists. And that if someone doesn't have it, they must not be following the rule of law.
I intend to prove to you that it's actually the way we use the rule of law that creates social injustice. It's exploiting us for money. It's contributing to the growth of the gap between "the rich" and "the poor". And it is making us all less safe.
I read somewhere that 1 in 3 drivers admit to rolling stop signs and speeding up for yellow lights as they're turning red. I doubt the study was very scientific because I read a lot of random stuff. But, if I think about myself and everyone I've ridden with in a car; I would say it's everyone except my grandma. Seriously, I would say it's almost everyone under a certain age. My parents used to run far more red lights and stop signs than they do today. When we're in a hurry, a great many of us will make a split second decision to save a few seconds. And when we are young and building a life, we tend to be in more of a rush. So if you're one of those people now or were ever, running red lights and rolling stop signs; ask yourself this series of questions; if you're not one of those people, then go ask these questions to a few people you know.
When you decide to run the red light, what do you immediately start looking for? Is the answer cops or cameras? That's my answer. And when I ask other's that's been most everyone else's answer.
Now ask yourself; if I wasn't worried about getting ticketed what would I be looking for? Is the answer other cars or pedestrians? That's my answer. And it's been everyone else's answer that I've asked.
There is a term or philosophy in psychology, psychological egoism. This philosophy says that all human actions are motivated by self interest, even acts of altruism. Altruism is when we act to promote someone else's welfare, even at a risk or cost to ourselves. But altruism is in fact an act of self interest. Those who sacrifice themselves to do what is right, do it because we know that not doing what is right is too hard to live with. We feel a responsibility to others; and to ignore that makes you feel negative inside. Even small acts of kindness are acts of self interest because we get a good feeling from it. Some of us do what is right in service of God; but would we do it if there was no experience of good feeling or the promise of heaven?
There's another philosophy in psychology, psychological hedonism (a subtype of psychological egoism). This philosophy basically says all human action is motivated by the desires for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This is in fact true, but it's far more complicated than that simple statement. The pleasure we seek and pain we are trying to avoid is different for everyone. Also, the types of pleasure and pain our brain focuses on has everything to do with our experiences in life and perspective of life.
Go back now to the two questions I had you ask yourself about running those red lights and rolling those stop signs. The split second decision to run the red light, that was just yellow, is, in fact psychological hedonism. When you are in a hurry, saving time brings pleasure or positive emotion and being late brings pain or negative emotion. The very next decision however, the decision to look for cops and cameras rather than pedestrians or cars is psychological egoism. Our first decision is instinctively to protect our own self interest, even when we genuinely care about the interests of others. I can honestly say, just like most of you who read this letter; If I wasn't looking for cops I would always be looking for pedestrians or other cars.
Now ask yourself this question. If your first instinct was instead to look for pedestrians or cars, do you think you would be more likely to stop yourself from running the red light or rolling the stop sign? I do, because every thought triggers another thought and the thought of looking for pedestrians or cars would trigger my next thought to either stop or continue based on my assessment of the intersection and environment around me rather than based on the presence of a camera or cop.
There's a song, I won't name because I don't want to offend anyone or lose my audience, by a country artist named Corey Smith. He tells a story of getting pulled over one night with his girlfriend at a DUI roadblock. His girlfriend was driving and was not drinking. However, Mr. Smith is arrested for expressing his discontent. Of course, he is released because it's not illegal to say "F" you to a cop. But Smith, like many other Americans, is suddenly forced to realize how unjust and backwards our rule of law is. I tell you all of this because he made a statement in the song that made me pause and contemplate what is actually happening.
It's all about the money from the D.U.I.'s.
Otherwise they'd be parked out in front of this bar
Giving free breathalyzers before we get in our cars
What are we, as a society, expecting from the Rule of Law? Do we want law and order or do we want safety? Do we want crime and punishment or do we want to be protected and served? Does the government really want to prevent “crime”?
Americans only account for roughly 4 to 5 percent of the world's population but account for roughly 22 to 25 percent of the world's prisoner population. The United States of America has the largest population of prisoners per capita of any other nation but we are not even close to the top of the list on crime rate. Why is that? It's actually very complex, it has a lot to do with our lack of understanding of the human psyche and our history of slavery. But, put simply, crime and punishment in America is a big part of our economy. For that reason, it is really hard to make changes to it.
There's an economic term I'm sure most of us are familiar with; supply and demand. Supply refers to a product or service and demand refers to the consumer or user. Demand for something can be created or snuffed out but supply is a reaction to the increase or decrease of demand. Demand can be manipulated if you understand your market and audience. That's what lobbyists do. When they have something they want to supply they go to the government to create demand.
The law of supply and demand is the root of all business and can be applied to anything in life that involves a monetary exchange but our government has a long history of ignoring it when making important historical decisions. So let's look at supply and demand from different perspectives in the criminal justice system starting with our first big prison boom after the Civil War.
Prior to the civil war, America's economy ran on slave labor. A big part of our economy ran on free labor. Millions of people feed their families with slave labor and they felt justified in it. The abrupt disruption of the supply of labor without a clear and agreeable plan on how to replace the strong demand has resulted in what we are now living with. If you really want an in depth understanding of this I recommend watching the 13th on Netflix.
Basically, after the Civil War, America was poor and many white Americans were desperate to get back to stability. They were also angry. Those are two very strong emotions. So laws were passed and African Americans were arrested in droves to provide labor for rebuilding the country. African Americans were painted as murderers and rapists, at the same time, they were being raped and murdered. Many, many African American children grew up fatherless, and experienced routine emotional trauma. That kind of childhood trauma means you are not capable of functioning in society normally without some kind of cognitive behavioral therapy. We also now know with certainty, this kind of trauma is generally passed down through generations unless addressed.
Since the beginning of America's history we have created a high stress, traumatic environment for black children. Those black children have always grown up expected to be men far earlier than white children. Imagine the desperation of a 12 year old boy, who’s father has been incarcerated most of his life and his mom is on drugs and absent most of the time. The only place he has to turn to is the streets for survival. There is not one other place of refuge.
This is a good time to mention that America is the only country in the world that sentences children to life in prison without parole.
We have criminalized being human in this country. We did it at first to imprison African Americans and now it’s affecting us all. Our rule of law is only a business of crime and punishment. There was a demand for people so we created a supply. Once you are in it is next to impossible to get out.
I think we can all agree by now that the war on drugs was bullshit and has only grown the drug trade. Why do you think that is? You guessed it; supply and demand. Earlier we learned that we can manipulate supply and demand. So let’s go back now and look at supply and demand again; we can use it to fix the problem.
When we started the war on drugs in 1971 we were just realizing we had an epidemic on our hands. Lots of people were hooked on drugs. There was of course, a lot of racial tension at the time and they didn’t have the same understanding of addiction as we do today. So they couldn’t have realized that it was the environment and conditions under which the poor were living that was feeding the epidemic. Instead we used the epidemic to imprison more black and poor Americans. And this we now know the Nixon campaign and administration likely did knowingly.
So our solution as a country, was to make it harder for the user to obtain drugs. But the government didn’t take into account the laws of supply and demand. If there is a demand for something, there is a way to supply it. Creating laws against something there’s a demand for will always create opportunities for big business. Big dangerous business. It makes it easier for large cartel organizations to form. This is because if it wasn’t illegal the supply chain would be more localized and wouldn’t be able to grow.
The only way you keep people from supplying drugs is to extinguish the demand. If we want to keep people from doing drugs we have to invest in drug users. We have to supply more resources to them. We have to teach them how not to use drugs. We have to have compassion for addicts and see them as equal human beings rather than less than and weak.
I can tell you from watching many people I know and love struggle with addiction. To become sober is hard work. It takes a lot of discipline and willpower that most people do not demonstrate.
I can also tell you from experience; it isn’t the act of doing drugs or selling drugs that makes us dangerous. It’s the instinct of self preservation. It’s the feeling of desperation.
If we want real change in America we are going to have to all broaden our perspective. We are going to have to start looking at this from the perspective of how the human psyche functions.
In Norway the maximum sentence for murder is 21years; even for mass murder. Their recidivism rate is only 20% compared to America's at 76.7%. There is no doubt we have missed the mark here in America on fighting crime.
Now the question is; what do we do to fix it? The answer is a whole lot of deregulation and forgetting what we thought we knew.
We have to all learn to think for ourselves. We all have to start questioning what we think we know.
For those of us who are already independent thinkers, we have to be more strategic collectively. There are thousands of small organizations fighting for education and judicial reform and hundreds of thousands of people doing what they can to fight for change and millions more willing to fight for change. We all have to meet somewhere and fight collectively for what we know is right.
We have to leave the Democrat and Republican parties behind and form our own party or build on an existing party. There is a party that believes in deregulation. A party of individual thinkers. The Libertarian Party. It's the party of prosperity for all. It’s the party of freedom for all. It's the party for the poor and for the rich. It's the party for the black and the white. For the gay and the straight. For the weird and the normal. It's the only party who's going to let you be whoever you want to be and still protect your right to prosperity and freedom so long as you don’t infringe on anyone else’s right to prosperity and freedom.
If we want real change in this country we have to make big changes to the way we use the Rule of Law. The foundation for our Rule of Law should be compassion and understanding for all; both the victim and the offender.
I appreciate the time you took to read this very long letter. I sincerely hope it sparked your curiosity.
Lacey N Price, Founder
Prosperity & Freedom
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” ― Dalai Lama XIV