Sunday, April 30, 2006

Crime and Punishment

Stefan Molyneux :

If society literally swarms with evil people, then those evil people will surely overwhelm the state, the police, and the military, and prey upon legally disarmed citizens to their hearts content. If, however, there are very few evil people, then we surely do not need a state to protect us from such a tiny problem. In other words, if there are a lot of evil people, we cannot have a state - and if there are few evil people, then we do not need a state.
Murray Rothbard, from The Ethics of Liberty, an excerpt from chapter 13:
The first point is that the emphasis in punishment must be not on paying one’s debt to “society,” whatever that may mean, but in paying one’s “debt” to the victim. Certainly, the initial part of that debt is restitution. This works clearly in cases of theft. If A has stolen $15,000 from B, then the first, or initial, part of A’s punishment must be to restore that $15,000 to the hands of B (plus damages, judicial and police costs, and interest foregone). Suppose that, as in most cases, the thief has already spent the money. In that case, the first step of proper libertarian punishment is to force the thief to work, and to allocate the ensuing income to the victim until the victim has been repaid. The ideal situation, then, puts the criminal frankly into a state of enslavement to his victim, the criminal continuing in that condition of just slavery until he has redressed the grievance of the man he has wronged.

We must note that the emphasis of restitution-punishment is diametrically opposite to the current practice of punishment. What happens nowadays is the following absurdity: A steals $15,000 from B. The government tracks down, tries, and convicts A, all at the expense of B, as one of the numerous taxpayers victimized in this process. Then, the government, instead of forcing A to repay B or to work at forced labor until that debt is paid, forces B, the victim, to pay taxes to support the criminal in prison for ten or twenty years’ time. Where in the world is the justice here? The victim not only loses his money, but pays more money besides for the dubious thrill of catching, convicting, and then supporting the criminal; and the criminal is still enslaved, but not to the good purpose of recompensing his victim.

1 Comment:

Honey Pot said...

Now that makes sense to me. I often thought of that. A parent can't forcibly ground their rebelliious teenager to their bedroom, unless they want to risk being charged with assault. A police officer on the other hand, can handcuff them, and throw them in the back of a cruiser. Knock them to the ground, or even shoot them if they try to flee. There is something sort of screwy abuot this.