Ross Ulbricht is a political prisoner. At age 28, he was taken from the library in San Francisco where he was working at his computer and placed behind impenetrable concrete walls for the rest of his life. His “crime”? Running an honest website.
Ross’ website, the “Silk Road,” had items for sale you could purchase with bitcoins. People used the site to buy recreational drugs: Pot, magic mushrooms, LSD, cocaine, MDMA — stuff people buy and sell every day to their friends in college.
Now, instead of visiting a shady dorm room and getting ripped off with untested bunk cocaine cut with laxative, you could buy online from hundreds of reputable dealers with products of lab-tested and verified quality, each with hundreds of reviews from satisfied customers. You know what you are getting, and it gets delivered right to your door, totally privately.
They did not sell weapons. They did not allow child porn. The site was very clear about that. It was for harm reduction. A place for people to get recreational drugs to enjoy safely and responsibly. Like everybody does.
But the government only wants you enjoying alcohol. Responsible for 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year in the United States alone, the government has no problem with alcohol producers running advertisements during the Super Bowl, selling their products in pharmacies like CVS, and every corner store and general store from Walmart to your local bodega. That’s fine.
But pot? Oooh, no. Mushrooms? Forget it! LSD? LIFE IN PRISON!
Though these drugs are responsible for 0 deaths a year in the whole world, the penalties for possessing and selling them will ruin your life.
Ross was not charged with selling drugs. The people who sold drugs on his site got 2 years, 5 years, 10 years tops. Oh, no. He ran the site. And even though the site was completely honest, deceived no one, defrauded no one, and operated to the benefit of all, Ross had to be made an example of. And so they did.
Though he was arrested in San Francisco, he was brought to Federal Court in New York City. There was a show trial. He couldn’t even put on a defense. Peaceful protestors holding signs outside the courthouse were threatened with arrest. They treated this website operator in his 20s like he was a mafia kingpin. They kept insinuating that he hired a hitman to murder his competition — although that was a lie, and they knew it. There was no evidence, and that charge was dropped after trial. The whole thing was just to smear his name and get the public against a young man who gave the world a place to safely buy recreational drugs.
That threatens the government. They don’t want you using mind expanding drugs. They don’t want you seeing reality from a different perspective. They want you numb and in your little box, brainwashed by television and too scared to share an opinion that differs even the slightest bit from the mainstream narrative. Recreational drugs are a threat to power. People start to question it when they take psychedlics for the first time and think, “The government tried to keep me from this??”
Those of you who have followed in the Beatles’ footsteps know what I am talking about.
For some, that is all you will need to know to understand the injustice of Ross’ caging. The theft of his freedom and his life from him, his family and friends, and the millions of people who would have benefitted from his continuing to run the Silk Road.
For the rest of you who are still skeptical (and I hope that you are!) there is a new documentary that details each unbelievable event from the beginning. It is called “Railroaded” and is free online here. I urge you to watch it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
He’s right. We are all connected. Ross is not alone in prison. We are all in prison with him. We have to do something from our position of relative freedom to bring him home safely. We have protested, we have made documentaries, we have written to congressmen, signed petitions, blasted Twitter campaigns, appealed to higher courts, and done just about everything we can think of to take this issue outside of our small circle of Libertarians.
The country may not yet be philosophically prepared to embrace total human freedom of choice and therefore the end of all drug prohibition. But they can recognize an injustice when they see one, and all that is good and right inside of us screams out that the wronged be righted and the innocent man set free.
Ross is an innocent man. He harmed no one. He is one of us. He is smart and he makes the world a better place with his creative and entrepreneurial endeavors. Not only do we want him out, we need him out. There is no other option. If he dies in there, then what chance have we at liberty in our lifetime? This is a battle we must fight to the end, and we must win it. Not for his sake. For our own. His release is a test of our own abilities — to persuade, to understand, to challenge and bring out the best in ourselves to do more than we thought possible.
And it is for that reason that I have organized this auction to Bring Ross Home. In February of this year, people at Liberty Forum in New Hampshire held an impromptu auction that raised $6,000 in one night for Ross’ family to use to bring him home. Money can be used to bring more attention to their online petition so the White House sees that millions of people want to bring Ross home. Money can make Ross Ulbricht a household name. Money can rewrite the history that so wrongly painted him as a villain in the mainstream media. Money can purchase more eyeballs to see the injustice done to him so that we can end it.