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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3271/our-fascist-state-and-martha-stewart/

Our Fascist State and Martha Stewart

March 6, 2005 by

Now that the State has finished the fascist imprisonment of Martha Stewart for engaging in non-crimes, they’ve committed her to house-arrest, as if she’s some kind of dangerous criminal. This is clearly a ludicrous attempt by the State to embarrass, humble, and humiliate Ms. Stewart. However, she is of such high dignity that she apparently has not let this atrocious miscarriage of justice depress her spirits. Much has been made about the treatment Stewart has received upon being released from prison: having a chartered plane ready for her, having more latitude than most criminals under house-arrest, etc. Of course, regarding her jet, she’s earned that by providing value to millions of people; as for her relative freedom on house-arrest — having a “longer leash” than most on house-arrest — such ignores the fact that Ms. Stewart hasn’t harmed anyone, and is not a dangerous person who needs to be monitored.


roger March 6, 2005 at 7:19 pm

even though i don,t care that much for Martha S. i agree with David and think it is all about making Martha S. kiss the boots of the federal gov the same as what is going on now with Mr.Anderson and the IRS hauling him off to jail.

Don Lloyd March 6, 2005 at 7:21 pm


However, she is apparently of such high dignity that she apparently let this atrocious miscarriage of justice depress her spirits.

A missing negation?

Regards, Don

David Heinrich March 6, 2005 at 7:27 pm


Thanks for the correction. I did mean to say “not“.


Paul D March 6, 2005 at 8:28 pm

Ms. Stewart is a successful and respected personality who has now seen first-hand the abuses of the state and its disdain for freedom and accomplishment.

I hope she considers using some of her vast wealth to promote the ideals of freedom and to counter-act some of the injustices of the regime.

Tracy Saboe March 6, 2005 at 9:56 pm

Unfortunitely, she’ll probably just think that the fault is the Republican Administration at the head of the DOJ, and keep sending it to Democrats.

But who knows. Perhaps she’ll realize that it’s increases in government power that democrats brought about that have allowed the current PTBs to weild such thugery.

One can hope :)


Vanmind March 7, 2005 at 12:27 am

A representative of the Mises Institute should invite her to mises.org so she can spend some house-arrest time “outside.”

Rolf March 7, 2005 at 1:33 am


“I did not mean to say “not”

That is what is called a classic “Freudian Slip”

Beck March 7, 2005 at 7:45 am

Fascist imprisonment? I agree that Martha should never have been imprisoned, but aren’t you letting your prose get just a wee bit purple?

Timm Engel March 7, 2005 at 8:45 am

I’ve always maintained that if they had let the state run the video of the Rodney King beating BACKWARDS, we would finally see King beating up the cops!

Curt Howland March 7, 2005 at 10:13 am

I think inviting Ms. Stewart to give a talk on her experience at the institute would be a wonderful “back handed” way to expose her to Austrian ideas, rather than making it a conflict at the outset.

Brian Moore March 7, 2005 at 10:36 am

Well, you have to appreciate the Home and Living Network (or whatever its name is) and its programming. They’re running a whole “Welcome Back Martha” spiel. I love it. Two big middle fingers for Eliot Spitzer. Apparently they don’t think she’s a criminal.

Some people have said: “I hate how she acts like she’s above the law.” To which I respond: “We’re all above unjust laws.”

Next up: Prosecute Alton Brown for recommending usage of vegetables outside of governmental standards! I don’t like the show (he drives me nuts) but you have to give him credit: he mocks the ridiculous regulations and standards the Dept. of Agriculture (et al.) puts on the most arcane features of food.

Home and Garden? Food Network? Are these our brave entrepreneurial capitalists? At least the revolution will be stylish and well-fed.

David March 7, 2005 at 1:40 pm

I could not disagree more with these posts. Martha Stuart is a convicted criminal and the only reason that Feds could not convict her for insider trading is because they tripped over themselves during the investigation. Martha knows that she is guilty, that is why she decided to get her sentence over with as quickly as possible. She has thus far proved to be inept as the leader of her company, a company that has continually destroyed shareholder value and now sits grossly overvalued for a company with NO income and negative earnings. Martha made money on this recent run up in her company’s stock while she was in jail, and since she has been released, the stock has fallen like a brick. Wonder if the street is showing its love for Martha as well? The fact that she has had so many comforts afforded her including this “Welcome Back” party, is insane to me. The US has once again glorified its criminals and made them the holiest of the holy.

steve March 7, 2005 at 2:24 pm

Martha Stewart was convicted of attempting to protect some of her honestly gained wealth from destruction at the hands of a politicized and unaccountable federal bureaucracy, the FDA.

The FDA’s decision to withhold Erbitux from the marketplace resulted in the premature deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people. The very same drug was later approved. Are not those who withheld life-saving medication guilty of some crime? But none have been so much as investigated, much less charged.

In contrast, Martha Stewart was incapable of insider trading in ImClone, as she was not an officer or significant shareholder. If she did fib to a federal agent, it was not under oath. What is certain is that a federal agent perjured himself during her trial. Again, no consequences for the government agents.

You are welcome to your opinion about the value of her company. I am quite happy to have taken a small position, motivated in part by outrage at this injustice. That has paid off handsomely, and I will laugh at federal thugs and their apologists all the way to the bank.

Alex March 7, 2005 at 2:24 pm

Um, ‘David’, just an idea.. but why is me selling my stock at a price higher than what is generally known ‘criminal’?


Paul D March 7, 2005 at 7:19 pm

David, I hope that if you are ever unfortunate enough to be investigated for a crime you didn’t commit, the investigation will turn up no evidence, as Martha’s did. And if the feds prosecute you for a trumped up derivative charge that cannot be disproven, and you are barred from using your only rational defense, like Martha was, I hope you are fairly exonerated, unlike Martha.

I hope you are exonerated even if you are judged to be inept at your business endeavors. I hope you are exonerated even if you make money in the stock market, or by running a company that sells quality products to millions of consumers. I hope you are exonerated even if you are famous and people envy your wealth.

Now why can’t you hope the same thing about your fellow citizens? Or are you simply so eager to throw around vindictive accusations you can’t prove about issues you know little about, that actual justice as applied to other people is meaningless to you?

Tracy Saboe March 8, 2005 at 2:27 am

Even if Martha Stewart IS guilty.

It was insider trading that she would have been guilty for. Insider trading is a victimlrss crime. Something which shouldn’t be illegal. Indeed, the price adjustments that “insider trading” (Whatever that means — even SEC can’t agree on what the definition is) causes represents valueble information that only benifits less informed investors like you and me. Insider trading laws make spreading this information illegal.

So if she’s guilty, she’s guilty of a crime invented by government fiat, not theft or murder, or anything that would represent a violation to somebody elses property or person. Insider trading should be no more illegal then smoking weed, or owning a gun, or any number of other invented “crimes.”

However, Martha wasn’t even guilty of that, and the FED’s even said so.


iceberg March 8, 2005 at 10:55 am

Tracy Saboe, if I understand what you are stating, correct me if I misrepresent your position.

Acting upon insider information is considered “unethical” only because it allowed someone the opportunity not to lose his money based on mis-valuated investments. And why should that be a crime? The other investors undertook the risk when they invested, including the possibility that they were mistaken on the proper value of the stock, and agreed to a loss in that scenario.

All this is good, unless their was a contractual obligation between the company to the shareholders, to divulge all information to the public at the same time. But supposing there was such a clause, in no way was the person who acted upon insider information “unethical”, and it would be the fiduciary responsibility of this company to refund the investor moneys for a violated contract.

David Heinrich March 8, 2005 at 11:40 am


Of course, if there was a contractual clause, the CEO would be acting unethically (and criminally, by natural law) by violating it.

Michael A. Clem March 8, 2005 at 12:17 pm

Darn! I wish I had bought some MSO stock when it was still trading at around $10/share. ;-)

Tracy Saboe March 8, 2005 at 3:23 pm

If the shareholders believed that she violated a contract, it should have been the shareholders that brought up the case — not some government goons.

2ndly, then it should have been tried in civil or tort law, not criminal law.

A breach of contract is not something a libertarian society would jail people for. The person who breached the contract would simply pay restitution.

I also don’t think you understand what I mean by information. I’m talking in reference to Hyack. That the price level itself IS information, which simply telling her shareholders the reason why she would make a trade produced a much different results. Perhaps a much more mad volitile effect as the mass owners acted irrationally on fear.

It’s the pundents on TV that scare people away from companies while they own a massive short possition in them, that are really guilty of manipulating the stock market. Or the people that buy, just to use their press time to talk the stock up, just to sell it a week later. Those sorts of people cause more instability to the stock market then insider trading ever could.

Or you want to talk about somebody who really uses his position to manipulate the stock market, Allan Greenspan.

Insider trading pales in its impact on the price level then these sorts of things to. And the Insider trading is based on rational profit motivated action and what the insider actually believes the rational worth of the given company is, where as the other is huxerting.



jim steadman March 22, 2005 at 12:39 pm

I still can’t believe that it is possible in the US to go to prison for lying when the interviews in which the lying occurred were not recorded. The questions were not recorded at all and the interviewer said under oath that she made no attempt to record Stewart’s statements verbatim. It seems to me that the first hurdle in proving someone lied to a government official should be to prove that a false statement was made. With no record of the interview, no one will ever know if Stewart lied or just made a mistake. This is bad for everyone.

william jeffords March 25, 2005 at 2:10 pm

Big M you are the bomb , I think you have the stuff and I wish I had half as huch moxie. I am a 42 yr old m/w/m/ and I find insperation and motavation in my own work from your stories. I know how things can be bilt up or watered down but even so you are my bussiness hero and good looking to. you are older but still a looker. my wief thinks so too !! anyway you have my suppory and admeration P.S. Sorry about the spelling. I make Teeth for dentest not a english major

Vanmind March 25, 2005 at 3:04 pm

All right! Swinging with Martha…

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