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Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Society

4.7 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0931580581
ISBN-10: 0931580587
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Obsessed with a personal freedom that some would consider license, McWilliams ( How to Survive the Loss of a Love ) here contends that consensual crimes--those involving drugs, gambling, sex and unusual religious practices, among them--should be allowed if they do not physically harm others or their property. In this overlong, diffuse but often entertaining book, studded with illustrations and quotations from the likes of Elvis Presley and Saint Augustine, the author argues that not only are our constitutional rights violated by punishment for such crimes, but that enforcing ineffectual, costly laws results in the needless jailing of thousands each year, and yield suffering and social discrimination for many harmless non-conformists. Meanwhile, he wrongfully claims, violence, robbery and corruption go largely unpunished. Citing historical precedents and extensively analyzing the Bible, McWilliams calls for a "politics of change" that would separate law from religion and morality, and that would honor diversity. 100,000 first printing; $300,000 ad/promo; first serial to Playboy.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

McWilliams was a self-help pioneer who later became an advocate for medical marijuana. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 692 pages
  • Publisher: Prelude Press (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0931580587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0931580581
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,521,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter died recently in a manner he could hardly have anticipated back when he wrote this book - yet his death, in a sad and poignant way, underlines the key point he makes in this wonderful tome.
The book documents - and ridicules - U.S. bureaucrats' attempts to legislate what people can and cannot see, read, and imbibe. Peter launches a particularly formidable argument against drug prohibition.
In 1996, when AIDS and cancer entered his life, he became an advocate for medical marijuana, testifying before the National Academy of Sciences and doing numerous media interviews. "As a recent cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation survivor who uses medicinal marijuana to keep down the anti-AIDS drugs that are keeping me alive," Peter wrote in an open letter in Daily Variety, in December of 1997, "I can personally attest to marijuana's anti-nausea effect."
Exactly seventeen days after he published those words, the Government responded the only way it knows how: with a full-scale raid. A swarm of DEA agents, guns drawn, stormed Peter's house in Laurel Canyon, Calif., confiscated his computer, his backup drives, and various research materials. Peter readily admitted to growing some marijuana for his own medical use, "in the time-honored tradition of Washington, Jefferson, and Timothy Leary."
The Feds had no warrant for his arrest at the time of the raid, but they finally came for him in July 1998. The indictment against Peter stemmed in large part from the fact that as publisher of Prelude Press, his own publishing company where he employed eighteen people, Peter had given an advance to an author for a book on medical marijuana. That writer, a fellow medical marijuana patient, used a portion of the advance to grow his own medicine.
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Format: Paperback
Peter McWilliams died in the summer of 2000 because he was denied medical marijuana to suppress nausea caused by his medication for HIV/AIDS. His home state of California legalized medical marijuana, and the Federal Government found it necessary to raid his home there (and that of his medically-challenged friend Todd McCormick, now doing five years in a Federal penitentiary), and arrest and convict him. Subject to random urine tests, Peter died choking on his own vomit. It is not a stretch for me to claim that he was murdered by this heartless government. Peter was brilliant and multi-talented, and a reading of this astonishing book will confirm that. I defy anyone to read this book and not become fundamentally enraged at the audacity with which the government has continued to encroach on the precious liberties which the Founding Fathers penned in the hopes of their eventual historical fruition. In one of his activist emailings (Peter worked until the week he died), he noted that "...four DEA agents told me they found ['Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do...'] on the shelf of every drug bust they had gone on, making me ideological enemy #1 in their eyes..." Be one of the over one million NON-drug dealers with this excellent work on your shelf.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most informative and engaging books I have read in a long, long time. Every page has a quote, some of which are exceptionally enlightening besides being very entertaining. For instance George Washington in 1796: "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Hello Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson!
Personally I take a bit more pause over some issues, examples like the harmlessness of random jay-walking and not wearing motorcycle helmets. I think that many of these laws save lives, much of the public being too stupid to look out for themselves. But that's the whole point of this book and what makes it such a kick in the pants! Push come to shove, I'd probably take McWilliams' side any day. Be prepared to get mighty angry when the hypocrisy of many of our laws is pointed out.
Oh, by the way - at nearly 700 pages, the book's dirt cheap.
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Format: Paperback
I bought a used copy of this book after it had been donated to the bookstore I formerly worked in by, of all places, a church library. I became a libertarian last year and had heard that it was excellent reading for people of that persuasion. So I happily took it home and plunged in. I'm glad I did.
My sense of humor is similar to what McWilliams's was so I felt an instant connection to the text. Others may find him too caustic at times, but I liked his humorous interjections. My copy is an older hardback version so the newer paperback may have some differences but the basic premise is surely the same: people, not the government, have the right to decide what to do with their own bodies and property. It's as simple as that yet in America, we've been taught to perceive it as a tangled, complicated mess. Several years back, I was watching Sting (I'm a big fan) on _Larry King Live_ and he started discussing how strange it was / still is that society finds it acceptable to smoke, drink and ingest caffeine, but unacceptable, even morally reprehensible to use other "drugs". I was a staunch Republican in those days so I swept his comment under the rug but it always stuck with me. In reading this book, I am glad I allowed myself to explore the topic of consensual crimes.
So what are consensual crimes anyway? Some people think of them as "victimless crimes" but they are, more or less, acts that do not harm the body and/or property of any non-consenting person yet are illegal anyway. McWilliams states that the basis for this book is simple: "You should be allowed to do whatever you want with your own person and property, as long as you don't physically harm the person or property of another.
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