Americans, perhaps like all people, have a remarkable capacity for tuning out unpleasantries that do not directly affect them. I’m thinking here of wars on foreign lands, but also the astonishing fact that the United States has become the world’s most jail-loving country, with well over 1 in 100 adults living as slaves in a prison. Building and managing prisons, and locking people up, has become a major facet of government power in our time, and it is long past time for those who love liberty to start to care.
Remember that every law on the books, every regulation, every line in the government codebook, is ultimately enforced by prison. The jail cell is the symbol and ultimate end of statism itself. It would be nice if we thought of the interests of those who are prisoners in society and those who will become so. But even if you are not likely to be among them, consider the loss of privacy, the loss of liberty, the loss of independence, the loss of all that used to be considered truly American, in the course of building prison nation.