Why Does the Law Not Warn?


Everyone who has children, or even nieces and nephews, understands that you have to warn a child before punishing him or her. If not, you teach the child a rash of bad lessons, like these:

  • Punishment can rain down upon you at any time, with no warning.

  • The world can’t be predicted.

  • There are two kinds of people: those who order and punish and those who obey or suffer.

  • The line between what is punished and what is not is unknown.

  • Trying new things brings you shame and pain.

I doubt that any of my readers would consider these as healthy attitudes for a child to assume. And that’s why we warn before we punish. We want them to understand that there are rational reasons for punishment, and we don’t want them cowering in perpetual fear.

Warning, then, is an essential tool, and yet it plays almost no role in modern law. Which begs the question: Why not?

What Is the Purpose of Law?

The purpose of law is to facilitate beneficial interaction and to minimize conflict. This concept, however worded, is what the founders of civilizations nearly always come back to. The US Constitution, for example, notes that it was written to “promote the general welfare.”

So, if warnings help beneficial interaction, why should they be pushed out of law? Consider:

  • Is it more beneficial to warn the truck driver that he’s violating some regulation or to enforce the law, impounding his truck for a week in the process? What are the economies of these two scenarios? Which facilitates benefit?

  • Is it better to warn the kid with five vape kits and a small bag of hashish or to send him to jail and perhaps condemn him to a decade in prison? Is derailing his promising life a factor to be considered at all? Or must we shut down our minds in the face of “it’s the law”?

  • Would it be better to warn a small business that they’re late on a tax deposit, or should they be ruined instead? Which makes life better for more people?

It’s obvious in all of these cases – and we could add many more – that warning is far better at accomplishing what law is supposed to accomplish than slamming people with laws that are held above question.

Why, then, does the law not warn?

What Has Happened

The use of warnings has historically been common and often mandatory. Even the Romans (no bleeding hearts, they) nearly always warned before they struck. As historian Paul Johnson wrote,

Roman law tended to sleep unless infractions were brought to its attention by the external signs of disorder… Then it warned, and if its warnings were unheeded, acted with ferocity…

Even into my lifetime, beat cops used to warn people who were passing into criminality. (Hopefully at least a few still do.)

What has happened is that law has been subverted through a long, slow process. At any given point in the process, it was easy to see it as simple adaptation and often as improving the system. The net result, however, has been the degrading of law.

Justice, in more or less the whole of the Western tradition, was held above the ruler. But once the rulers could create endless streams of new laws – thereby imposing outcomes upon judges and juries – law was submerged below rulership((Please see FMP #27, where I explained this in detail.)). Previously (as under the common law), judges sought justice, and the legislated edicts of politicians were all but absent.

Here are two specific changes that ejected warning from the practice of law:

  • The loss of nullification. Nullification by juries was the final check on the excesses of legal systems. During the American Revolution, for example, several famous cases of nullification – juries flatly defying judges – were crucial to the survival of dissent, and because of that, it was clearly acknowledged by the new US justice system. Over the years, however, it has been beaten back to nearly complete exclusion. And when modern judges worry that nullification might rear its head, they apply threats. (As during the Ross Ulbricht trial.) As a result, juries feel powerless compared to a judge, whereas the opposite is generally the healthier situation.

  • A belief in the adversarial process as a guarantor of justice. Making sure that everyone gets to tell their story is central to justice; a belief that might makes right is something far different. In far too many cases – and nearly always in prominent cases – the process of obtaining justice has become a battle between intellectual gladiators, with government prosecutors (not coincidentally the best funded) winning a shocking percentage of the time. This is not a process that is open to the use of warnings.

These two examples, however, are merely part of a larger process, that of politics overtaking everything else in our civilization, including ethics. And when the ethical becomes the political, power overcomes justice.

Power, as has been noted before, seeks nothing so much as more power. Under that mindset, whatever limits or insults power is an enemy… it becomes the crime of lèse-majesté, of injuring the honor of the ruler.

It’s important to understand that lèse-majesté is not a physical thing like damaging persons or property. It is, rather, an emotional thing. With rulership unrestrained by a superior and separate ethics, lèse-majesté becomes anything that portrays power as something to be limited. And warnings do not feed power. Rather, they starve it.

What’s good for power is blind faith and blind obedience, and warnings oppose blindness of both forms. And if the law warned rather than striking first, there would be far less fear among the ruled, and that’s not good for power either.

In the End…

More could be added to this subject, but I think I’ve covered the essentials. In the end, the situation boils down to this:

Warnings clearly help accomplish the true goal of law: beneficial interaction. But they oppose the demand of power to be blindly honored. Therefore warnings have been pushed out of the practice of law.

Further, we can expect this situation to remain as long as politics reigns as sovereign over law and as an angry lord over society.

* * * * *

As it turns out, history was never too hard to understand; they just told you the wrong story.

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

Justice Condemned: The Ross Ulbricht Case


I’ve been in and around the US justice system for most of my life. I’ve always had relatives and friends who were lawyers, and I worked as an expert witness for more than 30 years. And however much I may disregard the state as an institution, I hold great regard for the common law, upon which the US justice system was based.

So, when I tell you that Ross Ulbricht’s prosecution shocked me, please understand that this is not the judgment of an antagonist or a neophyte.

Just the Facts

I’m obviously passionate about this subject, and I think you’ll shortly see why. But I also want to present the facts clearly. And so I’m going to use blunt and honest wording, but I’ll also give you links, so you can assure yourselves that my statements rest on more than passion.

Here are the things you should know:

  • The FBI’s explanation of how it found the Silk Road server were lies. What they really did was almost certainly parallel construction, known in honest speech as “lying to the court.”

  • The case was clearly politically driven. (See here and here.)

  • A mere two months before Ulbricht’s arrest, the lead DHS investigator swore under oath that Mark Karpeles (of Mt. Gox infamy) was the “Dread Pirate Roberts” who ran the Silk Road darknet site.

  • Two federal agents investigating the case pled guilty to corruption related to it and are now in jail.

  • The government spied on Ulbricht’s internet traffic (along with others who used the same router) without showing probable cause and without a warrant.

  • The judge altered the trial transcript. The only link I have for this is from Lyn Ulbricht (Ross’s mom), but I was sitting in the same courtroom and heard the same thing. The judge said (and this is close to verbatim), “Last Thursday when agent Der-Yeghiayan was testifying under cross examination, I thought the prosecutors could have objected more. And so, over the weekend, I edited the trial transcript and removed all the testimony that could have been objected to.” The judge then went on for a long time, trying to explain why this was okay, even if it didn’t seem like it.

  • The prosecution’s forensic evidence was below amateur level. The tools used were bad choices, and when the metadata (the times and dates you see when you open File Manager) are exactly the same for every file, it’s inescapably clear that they’ve been altered. To then submit them as evidence is laughable… or would be if so much wasn’t at stake.

  • Ulbricht was neither indicted nor convicted for some highly publicized murder-for-hire charges, but he was sentenced based upon them.

  • Ulbricht’s sentence was beyond extreme: Two consecutive life sentences plus 40 years… for a nonviolent, first-time offender. And one who is seemingly loved by everyone who knows him.

There are more problems with this case, but I’ll stop my list here.

And Now?

A petition now stands before the Supreme Court, arguing two constitutional points:

  1. Whether the warrantless seizure of an individual’s internet data without probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment.

  2. Whether the Sixth Amendment permits judges to base an otherwise unreasonable sentence upon uncharged crimes.

Five amicus briefs, signed by 20 organizations, have been filed in support of the Supreme Court petition.

So, will the supremes pull off a stick-save? I certainly hope so. But even if they do, I’ll never look at justice in America the same way. What if Ulbricht’s parents hadn’t risen, heroically, to his defense? And what if the crypto community hadn’t donated substantially?

When I was a schoolboy, we were taught about Soviet show trials, where the verdict was decided beforehand by apparatchiks and a trial was staged to legitimize it. I never expected to see such a thing in America… but I did.

* * * * *

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

ROSC 20: A Storm Warning


I walked into Jay’s expecting to find Johnny to be his usual gregarious self. And he was, so long as he was greeting people at the bar. Once we sat by ourselves in the restaurant, however, he changed.

I had never seen Johnny scared before. I’d seen him angry, disgusted, and irritated, but not scared. We were barely through the usual “How’s your family?” stuff before he jumped into crypto.

“I did some looking, Paul, and it seems like you’ve got a handle on this stuff. Do you really?”

“I suppose so, John, but there’s so much action these days that no one can keep up with it all. So I can help you with the basics but not on the newest things. There’s just too much.”

The idea that this crypto thing was expanding beyond the ability of its friends to monitor frightened him further, but neither of us pursued that avenue.

“Listen,” he said. “I know you’re a reasonable guy, even if you are a little crazy…”

We both laughed; I was always the crazed radical in our group of friends.

“But a lot of us are concerned about this. It’s like a genie let out of its bottle, and it may not be controllable pretty soon.”

It was the usual fear of control addicts, but Johnny is my friend and I wanted to help him.

“I think you’re right, Johnny, this thing is growing wildly, but I want to set your mind at ease in at least one way: With the exception of a few scam artists and a small fraction of just plain assholes, the crypto crowd are decent people. They may disagree with the political class on how the world should operate, but they’re not remotely interested in forcing their ideas on people.”

John was partly comforted but only partly.

“Yeah, I get that,” he said, slowly nodding his head. “The question is how far can this thing go? How big can it get?”

This put me into a bit of a dilemma. John is my friend, but I don’t want to give him information that he could pass along to bigger operators than himself. So I addressed only the currency aspect of it.

“The real issue is that this is currency. And it’s better currency. Right now all the cryptos combined account for less than 1% of world currency value. So the question is how much of world currency should be in cryptos rather than government currencies? Are the cryptos good enough for 1% of world value? 10%? 50%?”

Johnny shook his head and waited for me to answer my own question.

“I don’t know where it will end up, but I do know that this stuff is better in a bunch of ways, and people will eventually figure that out.”

“So you think they could really win?”

“I’m not sure ‘win’ is the right word, John, but yeah, there’s a good chance they’ll keep spreading for a long time and become a very significant thing.”

Then without skipping a beat, Johnny pulled out his iPhone and typed something on it.

“It’s from your cousin,” he said. “Cousin” is his slang for our mutual friend. I looked at the screen. It clearly was not an incoming message; it displayed only what Johnny had just typed. It said,

Laugh like it’s funny.

I did. The second line said,

Turn off your cell phone and sit on it.

I typed back,

I turned it off and pulled the battery before walking in.

He read it, we both laughed together, and he turned off his phone then slid it under his leg, while making it look like he was putting it into his pocket. And I quickly remembered that as we were seated, Johnny asked for a different table than the one we were first shown. Johnny’s better at cloak-and-dagger than I thought.

We each took a sip of wine and waited a few seconds. Then Johnny leaned in.

“Like I say, I checked on this, and a couple of the agencies are watching the group meeting at the bar.” I groaned a little. “The first thing that got their attention was the kid who flew off to Poland and opened an exchange.”

“I knew the kid, but I didn’t know he went to Poland.”

“Well, he did, and he stepped right into their sights. They’re paying a lot of attention to those exchanges.”

I nodded my head and said, “Yeah, I know… they have to. It’s the last control point and they need to collect taxes from this.”

“Yeah,” Johnny said, “they do.”

“And the second thing was the seminars?”

“Yes,” he said. “They probably wouldn’t have cared about them, but they think these kids are taking that same kind of rebellion on the road…” He trailed off.

“And so they need to kill it,” I said, concluding the statement.

Johnny nodded his head in agreement.

“Okay, Johnny, please tell the agencies two things. First, that I’ll do what I can to get the kids to pull back. Second, that they’re fools if they try to take these kids down in their usual hyper-aggressive way. Look at what they did to Ross Ulbricht: They wanted his head on a pike, but all the exercise did was make the agencies look like maniacs, turn Ulbricht into a martyr, and spawn a dozen new dark markets.”

“I didn’t know that,” he said.

“Well, it’s true,” I went on. “These guys have no idea how barbaric they look to the kids on the darknet.”

“I believe you, Paul, but I don’t think I can say that to the agencies; they really believe that they’re working for God.”

I quickly realized that he was right.

“You’re right, John. Don’t tell them anything. Say something about me not realizing how extreme those kids were getting and leave it at that. They’re never going to see what they don’t want to see. Let ’em screw themselves again.”

John and I ordered more drinks and went back to talking about old friends. He pulled out his phone and turned in back on. I picked up the check, we hugged, I thanked him, and I headed back home.

At least we have a storm warning, I muttered to myself as I went.

* * * * *

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  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
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Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)


* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

Herberts Shouldn’t Wear Tie-Dye


The term “Herbert” referred to a stiff, rule-keeping bureaucrat.

Tie-dye was the clothing of hippies; it was made with bleach and strings.

Being old enough to remember how things were “back in the day,” I’m always half insulted to see very fine establishment types – people whose livelihoods rest on uncritical obedience – trying to align themselves with nonconformists they would have hurried away from back in that day.

Obedience was not cool back in the ’60s and ’70s. In fact, it was derided. Here’s a Beatles lyric that was sung as a condemnation:

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ted. And if his mother said, “Ted, be good,” he would.

Notwithstanding that I have a strong preference for well-behaved children, I think you get my point.

So when I saw some footage from the very presitigious Kennedy Center Honors, celebrating bluesman Buddy Guy, I recoiled. Here’s a still from it:


Here’s what went through my mind:

How would these suits and gowns have treated Buddy when he was working days as a janitor at Louisiana State University back in the 1950s? Or when he was performing in a lot of very unpretty clubs on the West Side of Chicago in the late ’50s?

Where were these very successful Herberts in the 1960s, when he was playing any juke joint he could to make ends meet? How many would have shown up at his club on Chicago’s East 43rd Street in the 1970s?

And how many of these people, I wondered (and you may too), would have sympathy for poor bluesmen if virtue signaling wasn’t involved?

Now, for just one more example, here’s another group of Herberts, at the same august event, honoring Led Zeppelin:


I’d love to see this group confronted with the boys of Led Zeppelin in, say, 1973. That would be a spectacle.

Worse than the 1950s

The 1950s are remembered as a time of abject conformity, and in some ways that was true. But today is actually worse. And the reason for it is simple:

Today’s conformity, every bit as bad as the 1950s, drapes itself in the garments of past radicals.

The tie-dyed, pot-smoking radicals of the 1960s are no longer any threat to the Herberts of the world. Mainly, they’ve been tamed and brought into the machine. But they did revolutionize the music scene, and by doing so, they taught advertisers how to abuse a youth culture. Because of that, images of past rebels became (and remain) commercially important.

That’s why our modern Herberts turn out to honor people they might have jailed back in the day.

The proof of this is to be found in examining how these people have treated today’s radicals, people like Ross Ulbricht and Julian Assange. And the verdict is stark: They have mercilessly abused them.

But my point today is not condemnation, even if it is deserved. Rather, I’d simply like the Herberts to go back to things they’re good at.

Herberts are great at fitting in, presenting proper appearances, and keeping up with the Joneses. They should stick to their strengths and leave radicalism to people who know how to do it.

And so, here’s what I’d like to tell the Herberts:

If your mother never yelled at you for tie-dying clothes in her sink… if you weren’t asked to leave “proper occasions”… if you didn’t habitually look out for cops… you really shouldn’t make a show of celebrating radicals. It’s glaringly obvious you’re not like them. We may be polite about it, but we’re not fooled.

* * * * *

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  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

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Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)


* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

Jury Nullification and Why Ross Ulbricht’s Prosecutors Are Trying to Evade It

There is a basic principle that underlies any honest attempt at good governance:

Anyone given power over others must be subject to more scrutiny, and must be given less benefit of the doubt.

Judging from their complaints, nearly everyone in modern America feels that things are out of control, and the rampant violation of this principle has to be among the biggest reasons.

The man who lives quietly on 4th Street is entitled to his privacy, but the actions of a policeman authorized to use violence must be scrutinized. Likewise the prosecutor who can ruin lives with the stroke of a pen.

Power may never be given the benefit of the doubt by a free people; it must be suspect at all times. Anything less leads to tyranny.

Jury Nullification: The Embodiment of This Principle

Jury nullification occurs when a jury decides that a defendant shouldn’t go to jail, regardless of what the law says. Here’s how it embodies the principle we started with:

By nullifying a law, people who don’t coerce others stop the excesses of those who do.

This is a very old practice and one that is explicitly recognized in US law.

The problem with nullification is that law enforcers—people who use force on others—don’t like it. In fact, they’ve worked hard to prevent jurors from knowing about it. And in the Ulbricht trial, they’re trying very hard to make sure the jurors never find out about it. These prosecutors recently filed a motion to make sure that Ulbricht’s attorneys never mention the subject.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I should explain why jury nullification has remained part of US law, even though it’s generally hated by prosecutors, judges, policemen, and politicians. That reason is simple: it was of massive importance to the American revolutionary generation and it couldn’t be kept out of the founding legal decisions.

Here are a few examples:

In the winter of 1768-‘69, John Hancock was tried for smuggling… a “crime” of which he was clearly guilty. But Hancock had a brilliant young lawyer by the name of John Adams, who bypassed the facts of the case and questioned the constitutionality of the statute (referring to the Massachusetts Constitution, of course). In other words, Adams went directly for nullification. The prosecutor dropped the case, knowing that the jury approved of Hancock and would nullify his law.

In November of 1734, a printer named John Peter Zenger was arrested for seditious libel against his majesty’s government. Freedom of the press was not the law at that time. But Zenger didn’t stop—he continued to inform people about the actions of their British rulers. As a result, he was brought to trial in 1735. At the end of the trial, the judge ordered the jury to uphold the law and convict Zenger. But jury disregarded the judge’s instructions and found him not guilty… and kept hearing the truth from him.

In February of 1794, the Supreme Court of the brand new US government presided over a case called Georgia vs. Brailsford. In his instructions to the jury, the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Jay, told the jury that they were entitled to judge both the facts of the case and the law, saying, “[Y]ou have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.”

Subsequent US judges have tried to cut back on jury nullification, but about the best they’ve done is to forbid defense attorneys from mentioning the subject. That’s not trivial, of course, because if a jury knows nothing about nullification, they’ll probably be far too intimidated to defy a sitting judge. The Fully Informed Jury Association has been fighting for years to inform people about this.

Prosecutors, especially federal prosecutors, exercise a tremendous amount of coercion, and they do it with nearly unlimited funds.

Prosecutors frequently convict 98% or 99% of their targets. That number is fully unobtainable in any kind of fair fight… and as anyone who has been prosecuted will tell you, facing off against these guys bears no resemblance to a fair fight.

Back to the Ulbricht Trial

As mentioned above, Ross Ulbricht’s prosecutors don’t want his jurors to know anything about this. After all, millions of peaceful people have been imprisoned (and subsequently impoverished) by their beloved drug war, and all of those people have families.

So if you get a juror whose brother had his life ruined by selling a few ounces of pot to a friend, and if this person learns anything about nullification, he or she may very well refuse to convict.

It will be interesting to see how the judge (Katherine Forrest) rules on this. She has issued brave rulings in the past, particularly in the case of Hedges v. Obama, stopping the indefinite detention of suspects under the National Defense Authorization Act. Judge Forrest did the right thing then, and she may do the right thing again.

A few other facts about the case:

  • The prosecutors, in their dread of nullification, are trying to suppress all of Ross’ opinions on politics, justice, and more or less everything. A passage from their motion reads:

    [T]he defendant should be prohibited from raising any arguments or presenting any evidence regarding the defendant’s purported political views—including but not limited to views concerning the propriety of U.S. or international drug laws… or anything else meant to convince the jury that the defendant’s conduct should be excused, even if criminal, for any reason.

    No right to defend oneself, Inspector Javert?

  • The prosecutors want to tell the jury that Ross Ulbricht ordered multiple murders, even though they dropped those charges. If this sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. They obviously can’t prove this, but they still want to prejudice the jury by telling them horror stories. And the stories would be troubling.
  • The defense isn’t allowed to know the names of the prosecution’s witnesses. Why? Well, because Mr. Ulbricht likes to order murders, of course! (Yes, I know, it gets crazy: they won’t even try to prove that he did this, yet they get to cripple his defense with it.)
  • This case is crucial for the freedom of the Internet. It involves something called “transferred intent.” In practice, transferred intent makes an Internet site liable for what a bad guy does there. If, for example, two thugs discuss criminal strategies on your site, it’s also your fault, and you can go to jail. Crazy? Of course! But how often does that stop “the law”? Friends of the state like AT&T and Google won’t have to worry about this (large donations to politicians have their uses), but plebeian website operators would be placed in serious jeopardy.
  • The power behind this prosecution is Chuck Schumer, the senior Senator from New York. I have no inside information on the case, but I’ve been around the legal system much of my life: please believe me that it is far from pure. I’d bet that Schumer has his fingers all over this trial; it’s his turf, after all, and he’s been pushing this from the beginning.

I suppose I should add that my personal experience with judges has been good, with just a few exceptions. My experience with juries has been fairly good as well. Still, I know of some nasty things that have gone on in the US legal system, and almost any experienced trial lawyer can tell you nasty stories.

In the End…

In the end, power always corrupts. And that is precisely why power must never be given the benefit of the doubt. People who don’t use power must be able to stop those who do.

Power loves just one thing: more power. If unchecked, it naturally evolves into self-righteous tyranny. (And these days it’s not only unchecked, but glorified. See your local TV listings!)

Jury nullification is a last line of defense. Enforcing the ignorance of this protection would be a grave error.

Paul Rosenberg

This article was originally published by Casey Research.

An Update on Ross Ulbricht, Allegedly the Dread Pirate Roberts

Ross Ulbricht

In 1998, Virginia Postrel wrote a book called The Future and Its Enemies. I’d be hard-pressed to find a better description for the current legal battle between the young man pictured above and the US government. That young man is Ross Ulbricht, and he seems to have been the agent of the future who created the Silk Road free market.

I say “seems to,” because the people who are saying so are the US government, which has a checkered record as regards truth-telling. (And that’s being kind.) But circumstances seem to agree that Ross was the famed Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) of Silk Road. So, while I have no special knowledge on this subject, I’ll presume for the moment that the allegation is true, and that Ross really was DPR.

The Flamboyant Accusation that Vanished

When Ross was arrested last fall, the FBI immediately publicized accusations that Ross was hiring hit men and had paid them to kill people. Millions of people heard this, and, understandably, thought it was a bad thing.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to court: Those charges vanished. In the final New York indictment, no such charges were included. The murder-for-hire allegation is now an “uncharged crime.” It is mentioned in the indictment, but it is not a formal charge and (conveniently) requires no proof.

So, did Ross really do all the very, very bad things the FBI reported through its ever-friendly news corps? I don’t know, but according to their initial story, they should have had clear and unmitigated evidence. Something doesn’t fit here, and I’ve learned not to give “law enforcement” the benefit of the doubt.

And if you haven’t heard about those charges being dropped, I suggest that you withdraw any trust you’ve had in the news corps.

The Pioneering Silk Road

Silk Road was a true free market. And since free markets are illegal these days (no matter how much political types pretend otherwise), it is no surprise that the first people to use it were selling illegal goods, in this case, drugs. If you’re already on the bad side of the law, you have nothing more to lose by using an “illegal” market.

Interestingly enough, what appears to have been the most popular product on Silk Road was marijuana, which is now being legalized in state after state.

And even in the cases of harder drugs, such as cocaine and Ecstasy (products that I personally wouldn’t recommend), are the drugs the biggest problem here? Or is it kids being forced to buy them from violent drug dealers on ghetto street corners? Silk Road gave people the opportunity to buy through rated vendors, safely. Was that so terrible? People on every continent used Silk Road and received excellent service.

What people don’t understand – and what I’ve picked up from several DPR quotes that people passed to me – is that this was never about drugs; it was about free minds and free markets. THAT is the future I’m talking about. Drugs are merely a side issue. If governments stopped their “war” on drugs, prices would fall and violent thugs would no longer be getting rich on them… and Silk Road would have been selling other things.

Evidently the lessons of Prohibition don’t matter nearly as much as state propaganda.

What Now?

Today, Ross sits in a jail cell in New York. (There are different charges pending against him in Maryland.) And a criminal defense is not cheap, especially when the prosecution can simply dip their hand into a stream of tax dollars and finance their legal games.

This case may matter as a legal precedent, and some people are donating to the Ross Ulbricht Legal Defense Fund for that reason. But I don’t think that’s the primary reason we should be giving.

Those of us who really care about justice and truth and liberty stand on a mutual frontier. The sad fact is that the more you care about morality, life, and goodness, the more of a threat you become to those in power. I won’t take time to explain that today, but you’ve probably had some experience with it already.

Out here on the frontier, we have to look after each other. As Saul of Tarsus once said in a similar situation,

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.

That’s what it’s like to stand on a frontier, proclaiming a new truth that threatens immoral powers. And that’s why we must help each other.

If you believe that Ross was DPR, or if you believe he created a truly free market, or if you believe that he put himself at risk to further truth and liberty, you must help him now.

If you can’t do something big, then do something small. But don’t sit on your hands, make excuses, and do nothing. There’s no one out here on the frontier but us. We have to look out for each other.


Here’s the Free Ross website that (I believe) is run by his parents:


Here’s the Bitcoin address for donations:


If you want to send a check, make it to the Ross Ulbricht Legal Defense Fund and mail it to:

The Ulbricht Family
P.O. Box 163602
Austin, TX 78716

If you want to send Ross a letter, his address is:

P.O. BOX 329002

Paul Rosenberg