Saturday, September 5, 2015

Nothing is Legal, Not Even Taking a Piss: A Few Definitions and Some Analysis


“Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.”- G.K. Chesterton


         When I say that nothing is actually legal, I really mean just that. There is, quite literally, nothing that any one person can do in a single day that in some form or another, is at all legal. There are rules, regulations, and laws for everything we do, from where exactly we are allowed to relieve our selves, to some of the more substantive issues like Abortion, Marriage Equality, and Cannabis. Abortion was not legalized by Roe v. Wade, and before the Supreme Court ruling, there were a great many places where it was completely criminalized. In the places where it was available at the time, and in the places where it is done now, which is supposed to be nationwide, it still is not legal. It is decriminalized. This means that while it is available, supposedly, nationwide, it is not accessible to everyone. A woman in the later terms of her pregnancy cannot get an abortion in most places. If she does have one, and it is discovered by the law, she will very possibly face charges of infanticide, and the social stigma will be just as bad, if not worse. In Texas, a teenage girl has to inform her parents about an abortion, or she cannot get it done without being in violation of the law. In this case, her parents may be held responsible for any unlawful actions. All agreed, the extremes to which people go to protest abortion are ridiculous, but the topic is that controversial.

Here are some definitions:

Legalize: offering the unrestricted permission to perform a task, take part in leisure, or engage in any other action that is possible, with no fear of prosecution.

Criminalize: completely restricting the ability of someone to perform a task, take part in leisure, or engage in any other action that is possible, with steep penalties being met out for violations of any given restrictions.

Decriminalize: offering only restricted permission to perform a task, take part in leisure, or engage in any other action that is possible, with penalties being dealt out to those that do a given thing outside the rules governing that action.

         Marriage is not legal. It never has been, and it never will be. Before marriage was ever regulated by any government, it was solely a spiritual and social affair. The authorities of the day were not likely to challenge this either because religious leaders held sway over them, as well. It was an issue that was not within the jurisdiction of the man made laws of the day, but it still was not legal. Religious institutions controlled the affair, and if it was not them, it was done by the family of the potential couple. There were certain cultural and social norms that were not to be questioned. Doing this could bring religious consequences or social rejection. It was regulated  then, and it is still regulated now. Even after the recent, amazing, Supreme Court decision, marriage is not completely legal. A pair of fifteen year old teenagers cannot go down to the courthouse and get a marriage license. They are restricted from obtaining a license until they reach the age of eighteen. This means that free and open marriage licenses which allow for anyone to marry anyone, from underage teenagers, to what is called a Group Marriage, with three or more partners, are not legal. Which means marriage is decriminalized, as well.
         Marijuana is easier to understand because it is both criminalized and decriminalized, depending on where you go in the country. However, it is, in now way, legal. Obviously, the argument over its illegality is a no brainier. In the majority of the country, at present, marijuana is illegal. Possessing it, using it, and distributing it in those areas is completely criminalized and carries stiff penalties for those who get caught in the act. In the states where it can be purchased in local stores or dispensaries, it still is not legal. In order to purchase marijuana, a person must be over a certain age, the person cannot carry more than a given amount at any given time, the number of plants they can grow for personal  use is limited, they can't distribute their own product on the street, it has to be obtained in a store when purchased, and there are limits to where it can be consumed publicly. Marijuana is decriminalized only, and it is not likely to ever be fully legal.
         Understanding this reality can help to keep people out of trouble. It can even give them more control over their own actions. Understanding that nothing is actually legal can help a person to be more aware of the snags and traps that are designed to trick people into catching charges that may or may not lead to jail time but will most certainly help prop up the system. Here is another example. Driving is not legal. There is a minimum age requirement, sixteen. There are restrictions as to where a person can drive. There are different regulations for different sizes of vehicles that require special licenses. There are limits to how fast a person can drive, and if a person has poor vision, they they must wear their glasses or contacts. Failure to abide by any of these regulations can result in stiff fines or even imprisonment. Driving is decriminalized. The list of examples of everything that is not actually fully legal is very, very long. The real key point that one should get from this realization is simple. If everything you do is regulated, with nothing you do actually being fully legal, from where you are allowed to sleep to where you can build your house, then you too are illegal. We all are, and the police know it. They are particularly harsh with minorities, but we are all targets every single day of our lives. The state is looking for us to screw up, and they are more than willing to label you a criminal for the rest of your life for so much as a little slip. It is time we found a way to decriminalize ourselves before we all end up in the can, prisoners of a pseudo-fascist government that delights in the incarceration of anyone that challenges the capitalist regime.

2 comments:

  1. I like you! Wow - this is really a great piece!! Sharing!!

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    1. Thank you very much. Spread it around. Have a great day!!!

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