My Book Contains "No Artificial Growth Hormones"

Written by David Leonhardt


I don't usually get too excited about what I read inrepparttar news. After all, what can I do about it? But one item I recently saw made me jump up out of my chair.

I rushed over to my clever lawyer's office.

"Look at this!" I proclaimed as I burst into his office.

Clever Lawyer said nothing. His client echoed his words with her ruby red lips.

I placedrepparttar 119297 newspaper on his desk.

"Happy Guy, what are you doing here?" he wanted to know. "We don't have a meeting."

"Just look at this headline." I demanded, ignoring his irritating obsession with minute details. "We should take action immediately."

Slowly, Clever Lawyer picked uprepparttar 119298 newspaper and readrepparttar 119299 headline. His eyes returned to me. "This says that Monsanto is suing Oakhurst Dairy for labels on their milk reading 'no artificial growth hormones'. What does that have to do with you?"

"Don't you see?" I asked incredulously. "Monsanto makes rBST, an artificial hormone for milk cows. It looks like they thinkrepparttar 119300 label on Oakhurst Dairy milk hurts their business because it implies that milk from their hormone-treated cows is inferior."

"I don't see what it has to do with you," Clever Lawyer said.

"Yes, I don't see what it has to do with you," Ruby Red chimed in.

"It has everything to do with me," I replied. "Look here. See this book about happiness? Top Publisher printed 'New York Times Bestseller' right onrepparttar 119301 cover. Can you believe it?"

"Oh yeah, I've heard of this book," Clever Lawyer smiled. "It's supposed to be quite good. In fact, I recall seeing it onrepparttar 119302 New York Times bestseller list."

"Exactly," I exclaimed. "Let's sue Top Publisher for everything he's got."

"Why?" Clever Lawyer wanted to know, much to my surprise.

"Yes, why?" Ruby Red also wanted to know.

"Because he is claiming his book is a New York Times bestseller," I explained in exasperation.

Legalizing Crime

Written by Sam Vaknin


The state has a monopoly on behaviour usually deemed criminal. It murders, kidnaps, and locks up people. Sovereignty has come to be identified withrepparttar unbridled - and exclusive - exercise of violence. The emergence of modern international law has narrowedrepparttar 119296 field of permissible conduct. A sovereign can no longer commit genocide or ethnic cleansing with impunity, for instance.

Many acts - such asrepparttar 119297 waging of aggressive war,repparttar 119298 mistreatment of minorities,repparttar 119299 suppression ofrepparttar 119300 freedom of association - hitherto sovereign privilege, have thankfully been criminalized. Many politicians, hitherto immune to international prosecution, are no longer so. Consider Yugoslavia's Milosevic and Chile's Pinochet.

But,repparttar 119301 irony is that a similar trend of criminalization - within national legal systems - allows governments to oppress their citizenry to an extent previously unknown. Hitherto civil torts, permissible acts, and common behaviour patterns are routinely criminalized by legislators and regulators. Precious few are decriminalized.

Consider, for instance,repparttar 119302 criminalization inrepparttar 119303 Economic Espionage Act (1996) ofrepparttar 119304 misappropriation of trade secrets andrepparttar 119305 criminalization ofrepparttar 119306 violation of copyrights inrepparttar 119307 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (2000) both inrepparttar 119308 USA. These used to be civil torts. They still are in many countries. Drug use, common behaviour in England only 50 years ago is now criminal. The list goes on.

Criminal laws pertaining to property have malignantly proliferated and pervaded every economic and private interaction. The result is a bewildering multitude of laws, regulations statutes, and acts.

The average Babylonian could have memorizes and assimilatedrepparttar 119309 Hammurabic code 37 centuries ago - it was short, simple, and intuitively just.

English criminal law - partly applicable in many of its former colonies, such as India, Pakistan, Canada, and Australia - is a mishmash of overlapping and contradictory statutes - some of these hundreds of years old - and court decisions, collectively known as "case law".

Despiterepparttar 119310 publishing of a Model Penal Code in 1962 byrepparttar 119311 American Law Institute,repparttar 119312 criminal provisions of various states withinrepparttar 119313 USA often conflict. The typical American can't hope to get acquainted with even a negligible fraction of his country's fiendishly complex and hopelessly brobdignagian criminal code. Such inevitable ignorance breeds criminal behaviour - sometimes inadvertently - and transforms many upright citizens into delinquents.

Inrepparttar 119314 land ofrepparttar 119315 free -repparttar 119316 USA - close to 2 million adults are behind bars and another 4.5 million are on probation, most of them on drug charges. The costs of criminalization - both financial and social - are mind boggling. According to "The Economist", America's prison system cost it $54 billion a year - disregardingrepparttar 119317 price tag of law enforcement,repparttar 119318 judiciary, lost product, and rehabilitation.

What constitutes a crime? A clear and consistent definition has yet to transpire.

There are five types of criminal behaviour: crimes against oneself, or "victimless crimes" (such as suicide, abortion, andrepparttar 119319 consumption of drugs), crimes against others (such as murder or mugging), crimes among consenting adults (such as incest, and in certain countries, homosexuality and euthanasia), crimes against collectives (such as treason, genocide, or ethnic cleansing), and crimes againstrepparttar 119320 international community and world order (such as executing prisoners of war). The last two categories often overlap.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica provides this definition of a crime: "The intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited, and punishable underrepparttar 119321 criminal law."

But who decides what is socially harmful? What about acts committed unintentionally (known as "strict liability offences" inrepparttar 119322 parlance)? How can we establish intention - "mens rea", orrepparttar 119323 "guilty mind" - beyond a reasonable doubt?

A much tighter definition would be: "The commission of an act punishable underrepparttar 119324 criminal law." A crime is whatrepparttar 119325 law - state law, kinship law, religious law, or any other widely accepted law - says is a crime. Legal systems and texts often conflict.

Murderous blood feuds are legitimate according torepparttar 119326 15th century "Qanoon", still applicable in large parts of Albania. Killing one's infant daughters and old relatives is socially condoned - though illegal - in India, China, Alaska, and parts of Africa. Genocide may have been legally sanctioned in Germany and Rwanda - but is strictly forbidden under international law.

Laws beingrepparttar 119327 outcomes of compromises and power plays, there is only a tenuous connection between justice and morality. Some "crimes" are categorical imperatives. Helpingrepparttar 119328 Jews in Nazi Germany was a criminal act - yet a highly moral one.

The ethical nature of some crimes depends on circumstances, timing, and cultural context. Murder is a vile deed - but assassinating Saddam Hussein may be morally commendable. Killing an embryo is a crime in some countries - but not so killing a fetus. A "status offence" is not a criminal act if committed by an adult. Mutilatingrepparttar 119329 body of a live baby is heinous - but this isrepparttar 119330 essence of Jewish circumcision. In some societies, criminal guilt is collective. All Americans are held blameworthy byrepparttar 119331 Arab street forrepparttar 119332 choices and actions of their leaders. All Jews are accomplices inrepparttar 119333 "crimes" ofrepparttar 119334 "Zionists".

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