Readers aware that I, and Dmitry Orlov, have been chronicling America's rapid decline ask me, "where did it all begin?" To answer that question would require a massive history such as Jacques Bazun's . All I can do for you is to show you recent evidence from our time.
Let's begin an occasional series on the subject with asset forfeiture. Asset forfeiture was one of those tactics that Sir Thomas More warned against in the play, "A Man for All Seasons." Cutting down a protective feature of law in order to better chase after devils exposes the innocent to injustice along with the guilty. The devil was the Mafia. Asset forfeiture originated as a way to prevent gangsters from using their ill-gotten gains to hire better lawyers to defend them than the US Justice Department could hire to prosecute them. In effect, gangsters were denied the use of their money in their defense. This was the beginning of an unconstitutional assault on private property and due process, but the judiciary, desiring that the Mafia be imprisoned, ignored their constitutional responsibility. The judges joined in the chase after devils.
A next step was to go further in the "war on drugs" and confiscate the property of those suspected of drug crimes. The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act of 1984 declared forfeitable all real property, including any right, title or interest in anything associated in any way with the commission of a drug crime.
As I have stressed and as legal scholars formerly stressed, the law unfolds to the limit of its logic. Innocent people have had their cars confiscated because they picked up a hitch-hiker who was in possession of drugs discovered in a police stop. Federal agents have confiscated real estate on the grounds of which they conducted a "drug sting." As one of the participants in the sting committed a crime, the property chosen for the sting can be confiscated on the grounds that the property "facilitated a drug crime." Multimillionaire Donald Scott was shot dead by police in his home on his 200-acre estate in Malibu, California, because of a conspiracy to seize Mr. Scott's home on the theory that there was "probable cause" to think that the heir to a vast European chemical and cosmetic fortune was growing marijuana somewhere on his estate (The Tyranny of Good Intentions, pp. 117-120).