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While I am honored to have been asked to write the foreword to Stack the Legal Odds in Your Favor, I regret that this book is necessary. In a society governed by the principles of individual liberty and self-responsibility, it is easy to avoid becoming a defendant in criminal or civil litigation. All you need to do is keep your word, not take other people’s property, and not initiate acts of physical violence. If you do harm another person, either intentionally or accidentally, you can still avoid litigation by accepting responsibility and fairly compensating the injured party.
In such a society, there would be no need for a book to teach those who have not committed an act of violence or fraud against their fellow citizens how to survive an encounter with the modern (in)justice system. Sadly, modern American society is neither free nor just. As a result, we live in a land where individuals are dragged into court, subjected to onerous fines, and even imprisoned for inadvertent or trivial violations of obscure laws and/or regulations. Individuals can also lose their livelihoods, property, and even their liberties via “civil” litigation thanks to the unholy alliance of unscrupulous lawyers and greedy plaintiffs who benefit from and contribute to our corrupt legal system.
Our legal system’s transformation into a tool of oppression and redistribution shares the same origin as the American government’s transformation into an imperial welfare-warfare-regulatory state: the widespread embrace of the ideologies of authoritarianism and entitlement. Calling the modern American government authoritarian may strike some as unduly harsh. But how else would you describe a society wherein government regulations control, to some degree or another, the means by which you get to work, your working conditions—including the individuals who can be hired and fired and the minimum pay they must receive—the food you can eat, or even the ways you raise and educate your children? Today, citizens of the so-called freest nation in the world are not even free of government regulation when they use the restroom.
Most of these regulations are justified as being “for our own good” or for the good of our fellow citizens. When government believes its ever-increasing control is for our benefit, it is inevitable that enforcement of laws will become increasingly draconian, with ever harsher penalties imposed for ever more trivial violations of ever more obscure regulations as is clearly explained in this book.
While every authoritarian restriction on liberty is justified as being necessary for our protection, it has become increasingly common for laws to serve as little more than vehicles for legalized extortion. Civil asset forfeiture (more accurately called civil asset theft) and laws allowing the use of red light cameras (more accurately called scameras) are two of the most well-known examples of laws that exist mainly for the purpose of raising revenue. This kind of “justice system” usage is likely to escalate as the combination of growing deficits and economic decline make government officials increasingly desperate to wring more money from an already overtaxed populace.
The rise of the regulatory state has been accompanied by the rise of the welfare state. The welfare-regulatory state feeds, and is fed by, the belief that the government is not only capable of, but morally responsible for, providing all of our material needs and protecting us from all dangers and misfortunes—including those caused by our own poor life choices. The widespread embrace of the entitlement mentality has flipped the concept of rights on its head. Instead of a shield against
government intrusions on our liberty, today many use rights as a sword to justify forcible redistribution either via government welfare programs or through litigation in government courts.
Just as unscrupulous politicians exploit the entitlement mentality to expand their power, unscrupulous lawyers (including judges) exploit the entitlement mentality to increase their wealth and influence. The result is a judicial system in which a business is held liable if its customers spill hot coffee on themselves. Judges, lawyers, and bureaucrats have even used the Americans with Disabilities Act to force employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for alcoholic employees.
Those of us who understand the dangers posed by the twin evils of authoritarianism and entitlement have several responsibilities. First, of course, is to do all we can to effect a change, starting with spreading the truth about the dangers of the current system and the benefits of liberty. When enough people understand the dangers of the course we are on, we can then force the politicians to change course.
While I am optimistic about the long-term prospects of the liberty movement, restoring limited government and replacing the entitlement culture with one of self-responsibility could take decades. Therefore, the second step is to ensure that we and our families are protected in the event of an economic collapse or an even further crackdown in civil liberties. It is to also ensure the same protection if we are dragged into court by the government or a by a predatory plaintiff.
This is why Stack the Legal Odds in Your Favor is such an important work. It provides an invaluable guide for laymen to survive the legal system. Some may say that it could teach those who lie, cheat, steal, and otherwise harm their fellow citizens how to avoid accountability for their actions. Unfortunately, the truth is that most of the bad actors in government and in business already know how to work the system to their benefit. It is the law-abiding citizens who would never expect to find themselves in a legal nightmare that would make Kafka blush who need the information contained in this book. Stack the Legal Odds in Your Favor is a must-read book for anyone who wants access to a variety of practical and not idealistic tools to help increase his chances of emerging from a run-in with our corrupt legal system with his liberty and/or property intact.
– Dr. Ron Paul Former U.S. Representative