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Mises Daily: Monday, July 23, 2007 by

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[This article originally appeared in Liberty Watch magazine.]

Sitting in a room full of well-educated Americans, I was dumbfounded by the unanimous outrage toward Paris Hilton. They were actually cheering the fact that the judge was sending her back to jail, after the sheriff had sent her home because of her illness.

Even Democratic presidential hopeful, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, thrust himself into the Hilton limelight, telling the judge in a letter: "Early release from prison sends the message that drunk driving is acceptable, but we are also concerned that the early release of any drunk driver — high profile or not — poses a risk to the general public."

This whole crazy media circus derives from Ms. Hilton's weakness for spirits combined with her eagerness to operate a vehicle. Hilton, 26, pleaded no contest in January to reckless driving stemming from a Sept. 7 arrest in Hollywood. Police at the scene said she appeared intoxicated and failed a field sobriety test, blowing a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent, the minimum level at which an adult driver is in violation of the law. She didn't hurt anybody, but still was sentenced to 36 months probation, alcohol education and $1,500 in fines.

At the time that the .08 percent standard was put into law in 2000 by Bill Clinton, the National Restaurant Association argued correctly that the standard was absurdly low. Reportedly, more than 20 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States are caused by drunk drivers; however, the average Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of fatally injured drivers is 0.17, with almost half of these having a BAC of 0.20 or higher.

Ms. Hilton can't weigh 100 pounds. If she has more than one drink an hour, she's defined as legally drunk. Convicting her because the alcohol content of her blood was .08 rather than .079, is what is criminal. Besides, we must take the police department's word on this. Drunk driving laws are arbitrary, capricious and contingent on the judgment of cops and cop technicians. "Indeed, without the government's 'Breathalyzer,' there is no way to tell for sure if we are breaking the law," notes Lew Rockwell.

But while boobus Americanus cheers the imprisonment of a young Hollywood socialite, that same public turns a blind eye and deaf ear to the idea of proposing that America should murder millions of innocent people in Iran if that government develops a nuclear program.

During the early June Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, nine of the 10 candidates supported making a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran, a country of 75 million people, which has not declared war on the United States, and has no nuclear weapons.

"Part of the premise of talking to Iran has to be that they have to know very clearly that it is unacceptable to the United States that they have nuclear power," Rudy Giuliani said in response to a Wolf Blitzer question. "I think it could be done with conventional weapons, but you can't rule out anything and you shouldn't take any option off the table."

When Blitzer asked Duncan Hunter, "If it came down to a pre-emptive U.S. strike against Iran's nuclear facility, if necessary would you authorize as president the use of tactical nuclear weapons?" Hunter replied, "I would authorize the use of tactical nuclear weapons if there was no other way to pre-empt those particular centrifuges."

Mitt Romney said he wouldn't take options off the table either, and none of the other candidates voiced opposition. Except, of course, Congressman Ron Paul. When asked later in the debate: "What is the most pressing moral issue in the United States right now?" Paul seized the opportunity to express his outrage at his fellow candidates' position: "I think it is the acceptance just recently that we now promote pre-emptive war. I do not believe that's part of the American tradition. And now, tonight, we hear that we're not even willing to remove from the table a pre-emptive nuclear strike against a country that has done no harm to us directly and is no threat to our national security!"

But average folks aren't buzzing about bombing Iran back to the Stone Age, the first use of nuclear weapons in war since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They have more important things to worry about, like how much time will Paris Hilton do behind bars.

The world would be a much safer place if Giuliani and those other eight "bomb Iran" candidates were behind bars, and police stopped harassing Paris Hilton and her girlfriends in Hollywood.