Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wan to Overthrow the Government in South Carolina? Not Without a License...

Under the state's "Subversive Activities Registration Act," passed last year and now officially on the books, "every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States ... shall register with the Secretary of State."

Yep, you have to register to overthrow the state. And it costs you 5 bucks.

There's lots of questions surrounding this law, the most obvious being "aren't there already laws against overthrowing our government?" But other more pertinent questions also arise, such as, will this law be used against right wing militias that advocate overthrowing the government, or is it just another way to harass vaguely Muslim-looking people? SPOILER ALERT: I think it's the latter.

In reality, this is one of those classic double punishment laws. Many states, for instance, require you to register all money you made from illegal drug sales with the IRS so they can be taxed. Of course no one does this -- no one is really expected to do it -- it's just a way to charge someone arrested on drug crimes with another crime so you can put them away longer. This is called "being tough on crime" or, more simply, "being really fucking retarded."

In any event, I'm hoping for a follow up soon to see who all has registered their intention to overthrow the government. Because certainly any group looking to do that wouldn't dare violate a law requiring them to register their intentions...

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