In the land of the free

One man gets 6 1/2 to 13 years in prison for growing and selling a plant, another shoots an unarmed father in the back — murders him — and serves less than a year.

What, one wonders, could explain the vexing disparity in sentencing? Why would the state, bound by the social contract to uphold liberty and justice for all, treat horticulture as a greater crime than homicide? Because the murderer was one of their own, the gardener one of us.

What happens when you break your end of a contract?

About Charles Davis

A writer and producer with whose work has aired on television and radio and been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Intercept, The Nation and The New Republic.
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5 Responses to In the land of the free

  1. Brian Drake says:

    What contract? Read Lysander Spooner's "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority" for a thorough debunking of the absurd claim there is a "social contract". People have a religious faith in such a contract, but no such contract exists.

  2. Whoa now, I'm not defending the notion of a "social contract," I'm trying to undermine it by pointing out the unequal terms upon which the purportedly binding contract is based. An agent of the state breaks a law, be it a policeman or a president, and the worst that happens is a slap on the wrist. But if a mere citizen — a subject — breaks a law, they get the book thrown at them over something as minor as growing a taboo plant. Meanwhile, torturers and war criminals walk free, facing no consequences for their state-sanctioned crimes.A contract that only one party can enforce isn't a contract, it's a dictate, a set of rules binding only on citizens, not their rulers. The "social contract" is a post-facto rationalization for government that in no way reflects the way in which states are, or have ever been, born.Harrumph.See also:

  3. Brian Drake says:

    Charles,I wasn't really directing my comment towards you. It was more a general comment. I already perceived you don't buy into that nonsense, and were simply "applying their own logic" to demonstrate the absurdity of treating "horticulture as a greater crime than homicide".Great blog, keep it up.

  4. Brian Drake says:

    p.s. though I didn't intend my comment towards you personally, I certainly didn't make that clear in my initial post. My bad.

  5. The disparity is clear. On the one hand, you have a powerless person daring to tell those in power that his "crime" is actually protected by the highest law in the land, and on the other hand, you have a representative of power who "merely" killed one of the nameless, powerless hordes. The dichotomy between those in power and those without is the true dichotomy, for sure.

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