Overcriminalized.com is a fascinating and terrifying project from The Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Foundation is an extremely conservative think tank.  These are not the kind of people you would normally expect to be complaining about “too much law and order.”

And yet that is exactly the purpose of Overcriminalized.com.  The web site documents a frightening array of Americans from all walks of life who have been prosecuted and convicted of crimes that almost no one knows are crimes — and that should not be crimes.

A few minutes spent reading the Case Studies section of the web site will go a long way towards preventing a good nights sleep.As Montesquieu wrote in 1748, “Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.”  There are so many laws now in the United States that the vast majority of American citizens are federal criminals.   This causes a general lack of respect for the law, because no man can truly respect a system which calls him a criminal for acts which are not morally wrong.

I do not believe this current situation to be accidental.  In 1957, Ayn Rand wrote “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”  In this, as in so many things, Rand appears to to have been born before her time.  In the United States today, there are so many federal laws that it is effectively impossible for a citizen to avoid breaking them — unless that citizen sits down and refuses to do anything except what the government tells him (or her) to do.

This is not the philosophy of independence and self-reliance upon which the united States was founded.  This is an essentially communist philosophy which believes “everything which is not specifically allowed is forbidden.”

We Americans have lost control of our government.  If we don’t take it back now, we may have to take it back from inside our prison cells.