Martha Stewart
C/O FPC Alderson
Glen Ray Road, Box B
Alderson, WV 24910

Dear Martha:

I couldn’t think of a better way to mark my birthday (today) than writing you a letter of support and encouragement.

I will begin by stating that you do not belong in prison — not even one that is, as you describe, “like a college campus” — that you should not have had to answer any questions put to you by the emissaries of non-objective regulatory law regarding your private actions and affairs. No American should need to answer to the government for any of his non-coercive actions; no American should need to account to it for actions taken to preserve one’s life or property, least of all when one’s life or property are jeopardized or destroyed by the arbitrary and whimsical pronouncements of a government agency such as the FDA. No American should be punished for acting in his rational self-interest.

The FDA should not even exist, nor the SEC. You did not initiate force against anyone, nor did you attempt to defraud anyone, by selling your stock in ImClone. Whether you sold it or held onto it, would not have affected the plummeting value of that stock held by other investors. Your ordering it sold did not precipitate its drop in value. That entire sequence of events was caused by the capricious FDA announcement.

Finally, your pillorying in public, your trial, and your subsequent sentencing have not recouped for those other investors a single penny of their lost investments. The news media that gleefully reported your arrest, trial and sentencing neglected to report that aspect of this disgraceful campaign to “knock you down to size.” What good was accomplished by it? You must then ask yourself: Where is the justice in any of it?

The answer is: There is no justice in it, nor was any intended. You are a spectacular achiever, having created something of value from nothing, whereas your righteously gloating persecutors create nothing but consume everything of value, if not first destroy it. The juror who boasted publicly that the guilty verdict of your having “lied” to a government functionary was a “victory for the little guy,” is representative of the species of nonentity that your prosecutors purport to act in the name of. That “cause,” however, is simply a rationalization to disguise their core motive: a hatred of anyone who rises far above the Sargasso Sea of mediocrity, of which they are as much a part of as that juror. There are legions of such people in American life. One can ignore them, or not even be aware of them.

The difference here is that these particular nonentities held arbitrary power over your life, and hold it over anyone else who creates values.

There were two news items today that are related to your imprisonment. The first is ironic, which is that Islamic prisoners of war are being released by our government, many of whom are rejoining terrorist groups and gangs waging war against our military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, ultimately, against this country. And there you are, condemned to waste a portion of your valuable time and life for not having attacked, killed, or beheaded anyone! You are being punished for contributing to the happiness of uncounted numbers of your customers; those prisoners of war are freed to destroy and kill again. You must think there is something wrong with a moral code that would permit such cruelty.

The second item concerned Tony Martin, a Briton who was convicted of murder in the death of one of two burglars he shot in his country home. He was, incredibly, found guilty of “illegal” or “gratuitous” self-defense, and recently completed five years in prison on a reduced sentence. Another irony is that he shared his cell with a convicted burglar!

And everyone thought that the Gulag collapsed with the Soviet Union!

Political prisoners incarcerated with genuine criminals! An acquaintance of mine claimed that this could not happen in America. But, it did. To you.

You, however, were charged with and found guilty of self-interest. So was Bill Gates, and Leona Helmsley, and countless others who ran afoul of the myriad laws of the looters, the powerful, and the envious, for the crime of successfully, literally minding your own business, for presuming that laws existed to protect your rights, not violate them. One must wonder what your persecutors think when they read the words from the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims every man’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Either those words mean nothing at all to them, or they represent a menace to all those who sought and celebrated your conviction.

I am a writer completing a series of novels that dramatize the causes of the American Revolution (“Sparrowhawk“), together with the birth of the American sense of independence in individuals like yourself. Sadly, that sense of independence is fading in Americans (but not so rapidly that the series isn’t doing well in sales!). However, more and more, when I watch the news in the mornings and evenings, only to see smug, plastic news anchors reporting on how well you are adjusting to a prison regime, I console myself by retreating to the 18th century and the stories of heroic men who refused to kowtow to tyranny, to recreating a time when it was heroes who set the terms for living, not the privileged, the powerful, the corrupt, or the mediocre.

I hope that when you emerge from your unjust imprisonment it is with a serene resolve to call for your persecutors to account for their actions.

For once, I would like to see these parasites given the third degree by their moral betters! I am hoping that this letter will help you reach that resolve, or at least give you the assurance that there are those of us — many of us — who have always been on your side.

Edward Cline

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Edward Cline

Edward Cline

Edward Cline is a novelist who has written on the revolutionary war period. He is author of the Sparrowhawk series of novels set in England and Virginia in the Revolutionary period, the detective novel First Prize, the suspense novel Whisper the Guns, and of numerous published articles, book reviews and essays.

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