Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

Everything used in this book is from public sources. The stuff that's available publicly is far more frightening than a lot of people realize.
McWilliams marshals a vast army of anecdotes, quotes, statistics and assertions to argue that America would be a lot better off if we stopped using the force of law to save each other from drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, suicide and sex in its more exotic flavors.

- New York Times

Peter McWilliams has come up with a "reinvention" of government that would bring us closer to the ideals of the Founding Fathers, increase our personal liberties and save an impressive amount of money in the process.


There's a huge difference between crime and sin - and the government has no business making the former out of the latter. At least, not in America.

—New York Newsday

It might inspire a song if I can match your mix of humor and seriousness. Brilliant!


The forces arrayed against McWilliams are many and powerful, from the legions of the religious right to the political establishment. McWilliams' book brims with facts delivered with a gentle sense of humor and spiced with pithy quotations from sources as diverse as Thomas Jefferson and Joni Mitchell.

—Cleveland Plain Dealer

Here is a controversial book that contains so much logical thought, it is destined to be roundly ignored by policy makers.

—Gannett News Service

Just as bootleggers were forced out of business in 1933 when Prohibition was repealed, making the sale of liquor legal (thus eliminating racketeering), the legalization of drugs would put drug dealers out of business. It would also guarantee government-approved quality, and the tax on drugs would provide an ongoing source of revenue for drug-education programs. An added plus: there would be far less crowding in our prisons due to drug-related crimes. It's something to consider.

Abigail Van Buren

Recently there crossed my desk (delicate way of saying "free") a book sufficiently intriguing that, breaking the habits of a lifetime, I bought another copy. The book is Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do by Peter McWilliams.

—Newhouse News Service

Don't miss the point: In our "free country" over 750,000 people are now in jail for consensual crimes. You should also know that another 2 million are now on parole or probation; over 4 million more will be arrested this year; we will spend $50 billion this year punishing people who have been convicted of consensual crimes; and we will lose $150 billion this year in tax revenue. It's your money. You're paying for it.

Phil Donahue

If you want to stop this madness, you may want to begin by reading Peter McWilliams' book. A highly readable and entertaining work, "Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do."

Hugh Downs

Why don't we reconsider the criminalization of consensual activities by adults? Why is the option considered so far beyond the pale that hundreds of timid elected officials who know all this and privately agree are convinced that to question consensual crimes is political suicide?

—Orange County Register

Using his trademark clear logic and simple language, McWilliams points out that freeing the police, courts and prisons from prosecuting consensual criminals will make available whole armies of fighters against consumer fraud, terrorism, murder and rape.

—Dayton Ohio News

What's the difference between a crime that hurts a fellow citizen and a crime that only hurts the fool who commits it? All the difference in the world, according to Peter McWilliams.

—Rocky Mountain News

In witty, well-researched pages, McWilliams gives a series of compelling arguments to back up his contention that it's morally wrong to prosecute people for victimless crimes against morality.

—Detroit News

One more reason to buy this book is for the boxed quotes on almost every page. One of the greatest collections of funny, hilarious, unusual and trenchant remarks ever.

—Liz Smith

So you have your rapist, your strong-arm robber, your mugger being released early to make room for somebody who took money for sex or smoked dope in what he thought was private, but turned out to be not quite. That doesn't look like much of a trade from here. However much you're repelled by, say, prostitution, wouldn't you rather meet a hooker than a mugger coming down an alley?

—Reno Gazette–Journal

McWilliams is a New York Times best-selling author. Since 1967, he has published more than 30 books. He is a man well acquainted with controversy and shows no fear in rushing in where angels fear to tread. Well-written and fabulously interesting.

—Tulsa World

McWilliams makes a strong argument for the elimination of such crimes, providing a history of consensual crimes and their absurdity. The blend of first-person observation, research, and argument makes for a fine and revealing title.


I don't expect anyone to agree with all of McWilliams' assertions. Even he admits that. But there is one point you should not overlook. What starts with control of narcotics and sexual activity can spread wherever a majority (or powerful minority), often powered by religious zeal, decide it knows what's best for you.

—Philadelphia News Gleaner

How truly revolutionary, libertarian, frightening and funny this book is. Grand in scope and scale. The book is interesting and meticulously researched.

—Little Rock Free Press

Peter McWilliams has written a book for our times—the quintessential book on the subject of consensual crimes. With public sympathy geared toward harsher sentences for those who commit felonies, McWilliams demonstrates the absurdity of prosecuting those guilty of "victimless" crimes.

—Newport News Press

Imposing criminal sanctions on human conduct which is wholly consensual and does not harm another person or his or her property is a misplaced and counterproductive act . . . we violate the premise upon which America was founded.

—New Orleans Times—Picayune

Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do was nominated for the H. L. Mencken Award.

There is no need
to read
this entire book.

While this book is relatively heavy to lift, it isn't heavy reading. It's broken into dozens of short chapters and is more suited to browsing than to reading cover-to-cover.
—Seattle Times

This book is about a single idea—consenting adults should not be put in jail unless they physically harm the person or property of a nonconsenting other.

This idea is explored in the chapter "An Overview." After reading "An Overview," please feel free to skip around, reading what you find interesting, ignoring what you don't. It is my fond hope, of course, that you will eventually find your way to Part V, "What to Do?"

If nothing else, the boxed quotes on each page (the part of the book written by other people) are worth turning the page for. (By the way, the most controversial quote—but an absolutely accurate one—is found in the box on page 9.)

Thank you for reading.

Peter McWilliams

I never hurt nobody but myself and that's nobody business but by own.

This book is dedicated
with deep appreciation to

Steven, Jadwiga, Emily, and Thomas (aka Sushi) Markoff


Michael, Maryanne, Danielle, and Rebecca Hesse

Thank you

It rankles me when somebody tries to force somebody to do something.


The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Country

Peter McWilliams

Prelude Press

8159 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90046

1998 by Prelude Press. All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-931580-58-7

Editor: Jean Sedillos
Research: Chris GeRue
Chart design: Scott Ford, David Goldman
Desktop publishing: Jean Bolt

Perhaps the sentiments
contained in the following pages,
are not yet sufficiently fashionable
to procure them general favor;
a long habit of
not thinking a thing wrong,
gives it a superficial appearance
of being right,
and raises at first
a formidable outcry
in defence of custom.
But the tumult soon subsides.
Common Sense
January 1776


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