- 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: 121 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,902,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Society
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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 alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Top customer reviews
It all comes down to this: you can do whatever you want with your own body or property as long as you do not harm the person or property of a non- consenting other. Plain and simple, this is the principle that we all should live by.
As ridiculous as the laws against consensual crimes are, there are still a large number of people who support them. I think this is because they have either not really thought about the subject of consensual crimes or they have misconceptions about what would happen if the laws were dropped. For instance, if you proclaim that drug laws are ineffective and should be repealed, the initial reaction from others is that drug use would become widespread and out of control. This would not happen because, with drugs being legal, there would no longer be an underground market and, therefore, no money to be made by selling drugs. They would become just which are legal right now that anyone can puchase from the drugstore and get a good buzz. But no one does this!
I think we will see a gradual decrease in consensual crime laws. Education is the key to bringing about this change. As the insanity of consensual crime laws become more and more obvious to the public, free choice will slowly become the norm.
If you have already read this book, make sure that you give it to a friend or relative to read. It is over 650 pages, but easy to read. This is an excellent resource that effectively debunks the myths surrounding consensual crime laws. It will open the eyes of non-believers.
This book puts into a simple format the very basic concepts that out society is built upon. Individual freedom. Civil rights. For me the book was a re-enforcement of my liberal belief that I am free to do what I want to do as long as I am not hurting another person or their property even if GOD may not approve. For the "ditto-head", at least the few "ditto-heads" that can actually read... this book will be far to scary. The religious right wingnuts will be put off too... the premis of the book is to question why society feels justified punishing consentual crimes in the name of GOD.
Read this book. Please. Its good for the soul.
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. The Feds saw Prelude Press as the source of the funds the man had used to finance his little crop of marijuana. So they treated Peter as a drug kingpin, and they told his employees to look for work elsewhere, "because within six months, we're going to own this place."
Did Peter really break the law? Depends on whom you ask. California *explicitly allows the use of medical marijuana* under Proposition 215, passed into California constitutional law in 1996. The Federal Government, however, does not recognize the state's right to adopt its own drug legislation. So what Peter did was perfectly legal in his own state; it just didn't sit well with some drugfighting hardliners three thousand miles away, in Washington D.C.
One of the conditions of Peter's bail was a weekly urine test. Were he to test positive for illicit drugs, he'd return to jail, pending his trial. Besides, his mother (in her seventies) had put up her house as collateral for the bond. The Feds could seize her home and evict her if Peter violated his bail terms. So he had to be content with being sick as a dog on most days - much sicker than he would have been had he been allowed to smoke marijuana, whose medical benefit to cancer and AIDS patients is well documented. Frequently unable to hold down down his medication, Peter grew weaker and became wheelchair-bound.
The HIV virus wasn't the only thing hitting Peter where it hurts. The federal judge in the case wouldn't let him plead his defense to the jury. Peter's attorney wanted to argue that under California law, infirm Californians who get medical relief from marijuana are permitted to use it. But this line of defense was verboten, the judge decreed. The judge also forbade any mention that Peter suffered from AIDS and cancer, and that the marijuana helped his condition.
The case never went to trial. On June 14, 2000, while at home, taking a bath, the nausea overcame Peter once more. He choked to death on his own vomit. He was 50 years old. He died because the Government wouldn't let him have a toke. Few things better illustrate the monumental folly that is the War on Drugs.
"Ain't Nobody's Business" is vintage McWilliams -- funny, well-researched, expertly argued, and with a pleasant surprise on each and every page (a great quote, a deft turn of phrase, a piece of common 'wisdom' beautifully gutted and turned on its head).
I hope that the thought-provoking ideas in Peter's book will resonate with many people, even when memories of the man himself begin to fade.