Punishment vs. Being Held Responsible

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Which is better?

Which is right?

Punishing people … or holding them responsible for the harms they cause?

Libertarians think (well, this Libertarian thinks) it is enough to hold people responsible for any harms they cause. That punishing them when they have caused no harm to anyone is bizarre, cruel – and most of all, morally indefensible.

Punishment is fundamentally vindictive.

It is about harming the person – either physically or some other way (as by taking his money or depriving him of his liberty).

If the person who is the object of punishment has harmed someone, how does harming him benefit his victim?

And if there is no victim… .

Unless you are a vindictive person, why would you seek to harm someone who hasn’t harmed you – or any other person?

What’s to be gained?law graphic

But he has “broken the law!”

Yes, but where’s the harm in that?

Consider the recent VW scandal. The government imposed billions in fines, forced VW to stop selling cars (those with the “cheating” diesel engines) and demanded that VW buy back – and destroy – hundreds of thousands of already sold cars.

Because VW didn’t comply with the law.

But is there any evidence that actual people have actually been hurt by any of this? I mean, other than the people who own VWs and who work for VW and who own VW stock – all of whom have lost money and some of whom may end up losing their jobs?

Harley Davidson is being punished, too. But – other than having (apparently) violated a law, what is the problem?

Morally, that is?

Too many people have been conditioned to regard illegal as being synonymous with wrong in the moral sense. This is necessary to get them to accept being punished – and (very important,from the government’s point of view) to support others being punished – even when no one’s been harmed.

Most of the laws on the books are of this type. A person is convicted of acting contrary to a statute and is punished. Jaywalking on up.

The law was “violated.” In legalese, this is known as malum prohibitumtorture

But how does one “violate” mere words on a piece of paper? The word seems… awkward. Only flesh and blood human being can be violated in any morally meaningful sense, because you can’t hurt a non-living thing; a piece of paper with words written on it.

It is weird, when you stop to ponder it, that it’s not necessary to even assert that a person’s actions have injured some other person (malum in se, something intrinsically wrong) in order for this thing called “the law” to harm actual flesh and blood human beings.

To gratuitously impose suffering.

This is pretty sick.

The way things are, the complete lack of any evidence that another person has been injured is worthless as a defense.

It ought not to be.

Why on earth should it not be necessary to establish that an actual human being has been harmed in some tangible way before imposing a harm upon an actual human being?

And, why harm them at all?

Why not simply require them to make good the harm they have caused?

That is, why not hold them responsible?

Punishing them doesn’t accomplish this. It only harms the person accused of having caused the harm. It does not make the person who was harmed whole again. leave u alone

And that should be be the object of justice.

First, prove someone’s been harmed, either their person or their property; that they have suffered some loss of value. Having established this – and quantified this – the person responsible is then obligated to make up the loss resulting from his actions. Not others who had nothing to do with it (as, for instance, is often demanded by advocates of “gun control” – who insist that people who haven’t shot anyone be “controlled” as if they had, in fact, shot someone).

Not the driver who hasn’t lost control of his car.

Or the bar owner who isn’t forcing anyone to enter his establishment.

Nor the people who freely decide to do business with another and are each happy with the freely consented to arrangement – even if the arrangement is not in conformity with “the law.”

Certainly not the person who prefers to be left out of other people’s “plans” and only asks to be left alone.

And so on.

Imagine how much simpler life would be – and how much freer we’d all be.

As things are, we each run a gantlet of malum prohibitum laws every day, violating many – and so living under the constant threat of being punished.

But most of us have never harmed anyone. Don’t plan to and probably never will.

Wouldn’t it be something if we knew that so long as we didn’t hurt anyone, we had no worries about men with guns coming after us? arthur

Personally, I have no interest in punishing anyone. I see no point to it – except for the pleasure of making another person suffer. There is a medical term for such a person and it is not the sort of person I’d like to be and hope I am not.

I suspect most people are of the same mind.

You smashed up my car? You owe me what it was worth before it was smashed up. If that means you have to make payments to me for the next 20 years, so be it. But that’s it. I don’t want anyone else’s money – or their freedom.

The fact that you weren’t able to control your car doesn’t mean everyone else can’t, either – and should be punished for not losing control of their car but only for having violated some law.

Punishment is so … medieval.

I think it belongs back in the Dark Ages.

Holding people responsible – that’s the future.

If we are to have one that’s different from the Dark Ages.

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  1. In today’s America, and in many other parts of the world, the process is the punishment. Selective prosecution is a major problem in this country. BLM and Antifa types who have committed crimes are ignored while innocents who defend themselves (but are of the wrong political persuasion) are charged with crimes.
    Being charged with a crime, the indictment, the arraignment and trial are all a part of the punishment. Even if the case is dismissed, the damage, the difficult days, the threat of fines, incarceration and legal bills, and the uncertainty of what comes next are all punishments.
    Observe those who were arrested after the January 6, 2020 demonstrations—those who were purposely let in to the capitol and then arrested, days, weeks, and months after the event.
    Those who are presently incarcerated for the January 6, demonstrations are “special cases”–”political prisoners” who have been identified by their political enemies and prison staff and have been selected for “special treatment”.
    Even if their cases are dismissed, the damage has already been done. The time served, the harassment and brutality can never be “taken back”.
    This also extends to the likes of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is clearly observed on video defending his own life against rioters, who was “put through the legal wringer”–once again, the process being the punishment. Thankfully, he was acquitted by a competently-run legal system (in his case).
    The Memphis couple who were charged with “brandishing weapons” against the BLM and Antifa criminals who broke down a barrier and were trespassing on private property is but another example of selective prosecution. They were indicted on “weapons charges” for merely defending themselves.
    My third and final example of this is the “Satilla Three” who are languishing in prison for defending their lives and neighborhood against Ahmad Arbery, a career criminal who was “casing” construction sites for materials and tools that he could steal. In this case, the “powers that be” went “prosecutor shopping” when the initial prosecutor refused to indict. It took “four tries” before they found a prosecutor who would indict.
    It turns out that Arbery had “doubled back” and threatened the man with the shotgun, pulling on it causing it to fire. You see, Arbery had felt “disrespected”, and in his feral, simian way had to confront the man who had “disrespected” him. Arbery could have run off in any direction, but chose to confront the man with the shotgun. This was a clear case of self-defense, having been video taped as well. The trial was a fiasco, with a weak, incompetent judge, civil-rights hustlers and Arbery family members in the courtroom threatening riots if the “correct” verdict was not rendered. Requests for a change of venue and a sequestered jury were denied. Evidence showing Arbery’s previous criminal activity in the Satilla Shores neighborhood was also suppressed. It would seem that, with all of the legal and procedural misconduct, these three men should have good grounds for a successful appeal.
    Once again, the process is the punishment…something democRATs have been using to their advantage.

  2. I’ve had many instances where SJW type people yell at me for having a stock (but slightly louder) exhaust on one of my cars, telling me they can’t wait for Teslas and self driving cars to take over the road so I’d become obsolete and stop destroying the planet, so I’m sure to the general idiot public that VWs punishment seems just, since it’s “like, you know like, the world we’re like, trying to like, save…you know.”

    • People are taught as children that repeating teacher makes them smart. So that’s what they do all their lives. The talking head on the news said so and they repeat it to be smart. They never look into anything. Never think for themselves. Their opinions are given to them. That works for the majority. Then social enforcement is used to keep everyone else in line.

      • I had a heated conversation the other day with a friend who believes in “climate change” with the fervor of a religious fanatic. Why does he believe? Because he has been told by authority – which he automatically defers to. I asked him some questions, made some factual points… he only became more hysterical about the need to “do something” to prevent “climate change.”

        How do we get off this rock?

        • Once people decide in their hearts something, no amount of facts can dislodge them off of that belief.

          The only way I see this course of America reversing peacefully, is when (not if) Generation Talking Point (the Millennials) fail spectacularly in U.S. society and the U.S. loses it’s prestige as a world power because of them. Then the next generation can look at us at realize how idiotic and brainwashed we are and decide to go another way.

          Then when the lure of “quality” public education wears off and government regulatory agencies either shrink or disintegrate altogether, a new generation can come forth and emerge as a thinking and independent people.

          My opinion as someone how has missed a large part of their U.S. public indoctrination.

          • Unlike the Soviet empire I don’t think the American empire has the capability of ending peacefully. Even with Gorby equal I don’t think the capability is there. The Soviet system apparently had relatively few sociopaths and psychopaths. Perhaps they tended to kill each other. The american system has attracted them, bred them, encouraged their behavior and they infest the system like bedbugs. These people will not let go easily.

            Additionally when the Soviet system collapsed there was opportunity for personal riches. At least for the insiders where the sociopaths and psychopaths were. Their attention was thus channeled into new things instead of holding on to the old. There was little or no reason for them not to peacefully transition into a new system which was better for them. The American system’s collapse will be a fight for the scraps. To hold on to power and wealth.

            • When she goes, she goes, and when she’s gone, she’s gone. Given that the likely cause of the demise will be Socialist Insecurity, et al, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when the checks either stop coming or stop being cashable. Yes, great turmoil.

            • I think you’re absolutely right, and truth be told, I do not personally believe America’s downfall will be a peaceful one. So much so that I already have an exit plan already in place should the need arise.

              • A.J. does it involve a speedboat? If so will you be passing near the Texas coast? Are you cool with a 100 lb. pit bull? I’ve tried to get the b&c to leave for 15 years but she won’t.

                • A little less adrenaline inducing. Exit for me just means an exit from society electronically and monetarily, retreating to my cellar of ammo, food & water storage, medical supplies, physical gold and a doomsday Honda with a stash of spare parts.

                  Oh, and books. Lots and lots of books.

                  • The wife and I discovered cheap books at Goodwill, often first edition hardbacks, and a couple signed. Monday I made a great score, Fight Club on dvd, half price, 99 cents.

                    When I left for college my mother had a new cast iron skillet someone had given her. She so seldomly needed 2 10″ skillets she gave me the new one. I broke it in feeding friends. Had a been a bit smarter I realized I could have gotten a lot of sex with my cookware. Everyone was starved for home cooking and I became adept at doing it well, on the cheap. I picked up an old 6″ cast skillet already seasoned for $2 the week before.

            • I am hopeful but not overly optimistic that a sufficient number of the American masses can be persuaded to transform into logical thinking before the final gigantic crash! (the later it happens, the better chance that it will happen!). I do not know the number of people it would actually take to stop our country’s suicidal trajectory into being the largest chocolate-flavored pile of cow dung that has ever existed in written history, but my hope is that the vast majority of people intelligent enough to lead others will become at least knowledgeable enough about the theory of anti-statism to give it a try when the old system fails.
              If my desired dream never happens, then we will become the same eventual slaves monitored by centrally controlled flying drones which would have accomplished the exact same thing without my desired dream; or else we would still be dead if that is what TPTB desired. I hope that my dream isn’t futile, but it will take many more educators than we now have!

              • Brian, hopeful…..but not optimistic. Don’t think I could put a better spin on it. Back in the middle 60’s I wasn’t too hopeful but by the early 70’s I was sorta optimistic. Then the 80’s came along and I was jaded. The writing on the wall had been done with a router. Uh, ah ha ha, well, you know what they always say. Yep Ronnie, I figured that out, the same bullshit you spouted as guvnah when you wet your drawers cause them darkies read the Constitution and found out they could have guns too. You sorry old asshole……make way for the new Connecticut asshole and his asshole Nazi blowjobbing father and assholes in the making children.

        • Climate change… another subject where Adams (Dilbert creator) idea of irrationality comes into play. I can repeat fifth grade level science to people until I am blue in the face and they still won’t accept they are being scammed. What the official climate scientists are doing violates basic rules of science and they get away with it because they are the authorities on the subject and the conditioning people undergo.

          This basic climate scam has worked on people for at least ten thousand years now. I certainly won’t be able to fight the conditioned irrationality. I should have just been a government scientist. Easy life pushing the lies. No deadlines, no product development problems, no customers, no being ripped off compared to the value I create…. I was so close too. A government lab wanted to hire me but I had already committed to make product in what remained of the free market. Had I started at the government lab at 25 I could probably retire in five to ten years from now. Instead I’ll work until I drop dead.

          Why should I care about humanity when it doesn’t care about itself? When people can’t even be bothered to learn the most simple things not to be scammed? I guess it’s my version of you not going the good republican route.

            • There’s that. But people don’t know that roughly 99% of the manufactured consensus is just social and political. It’s not like the data was examined. When other people ask for the data behind various papers they get blocked. It’s simply not science. Defend the club, go along to get along. That’s what drives it. Go against it and you’ll lose your funding and be socially and professionally isolated. It’s peer review, if your peers don’t like you it doesn’t matter how right your science is.

              Also, the masses love their celebrity scientists. I love when they bring up credentials and Bill Nye. Namely because I crush Bill Nye on credentials. They get a bit meek at that point.

        • eric, he was obviously contributing to the problem. Next time you need to put your finger over your lips and say very softly, shush, you’re just making it worse……and when you leave, walk home…….slowly.

      • “Never think for themselves”
        True education consists of learning to think for oneself. That’s why we do not have an education in the USSA.

  3. Juries still exist and can nullify:

    “The primary function of the independent juror is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from the tyrannical abuses of power by government.”


    • But people have been sent to prison for knowing this…
      And for trying to inform others of it.

      Part of the problem is the dumbing down and “race to the bottom.” If intelligent people had a chance to make a real LIFE for themselves, instead of being shunted into being “productive” for other, there’d be far less issue. We could live and create and die without fear, worry, or sorrow (speaking generally, life always has setbacks, but it wouldn’t be a rigged game from the start.)
      Like the Matrix (first film), but it’s hard to compete when people are only interested in monetizing us…
      We produce, others get rich, we get shit on.
      And the idiots around us don’t mind.

      FTW. Not, “For the win.”

      • Of course, if you want to get out of jury duty, all you need to do is make suggestive comments (don’t get too specific) about ‘jury nullification’ during vois dir.

      • “But people have been sent to prison for knowing this… And for trying to inform others of it.”

        Inaction accomplishes nothing.

        Edward Snowden has informed others – and understood the consequences – he is courageous.

        • Understood, Liberty.
          The difference between having the capacity to reveal such information, and being an outsider who is too outspoken for his own good…
          I’d like to do what I can, accepting the consequences, and root out those psychophants who want to sell us out (E.G., the jury nullification cases have involved jurors ratting out other jurors – but violating THAT rule, that those proceedings are private, which IS crime – that was given a pass. Whereas those who informed the jurors of their right and duty to judge the law as well the crime, that person went to prison for “obstruction of justice.” I suppose because the prosecutor didn’t get his “win”?)

          Shooting them works out better in the long run.
          Such is the price.

          “Equilibrium” was a good allegory there.
          Showed the problem in a few ways, made a good analogy to our modern political system.
          in “Equilibrium,” humanity was drugged into an emotionless (mostly) state. The Rebellion tried to preserve art, literature, etc.; the creations that made people “feel.”
          So, long story short, one of their enforcers misses a drug dose, and then starts to recover his human emotions. When he goes to confront the top politico, he finds out that that individual ALSO is off the meds, and for that matter, lives in a place of opulence and wealth. (Think Stalinist Russia. Who had the wealth, and how the rest lived.)

          Pigs, humans, what’s the difference?
          I vote “raze the farm.”
          but then, I’m something of a product of the psychopathic tendencies they have…

  4. http://www.angelfire.com/pro/lewiscs/humanitarian.html
    CS Lewis goes into the problems and where we have drifted. It used to be “just deserts”. Now it is social engineering or worse.

    One place many Libertarians go off the deep end is they don’t consider Slander or Libel (or blackmail or other things) wrong or damaging because “Rothbard is a God and his Ethics is holy writ”. VWs have lost value because of a loss of reputation capital which is not considered “property” in the Rothbardian sense.

    I’ve also analyzed this before and elsewhere – enforcement should be REactive, not PROactive, however I will note credible threats suffice. We ought to be taxed based on the actual damages pollution causes – then VWs could simply set their emissions and decide the economics of clean v.s. pristine based on actual prices, not edicts. Most of the evils of both bad laws and enforcement are pro-active, pre-(real)-crime. Drugs, speeding, etc. Well, you might have had an accident or done something wrong.

    How do you hold suicide bombers responsible? 15 years ago a dozen people drove planes into buildings or the ground. Or when someone is “high” they aren’t thinking straight, so aren’t responsible, no more than an infant or someone senile, albeit temporarily. Putting yourself into such a state isn’t criminal, however it should be actionable by depriving you of rights which you are not competent to exercise.

    As someone else noted, there are highly dangerous things. If I want to experiment with WMD infectious agents in my kitchen, I might be forced to take proper precautions. If someone is dying and will be dead in 3 months, the threat of life in prison is meaningless even if it would “hold them responsible”.

    Liberty is hard. Too many libertarians wish to try to reduce it to the NAP (which according to Kinsella doesn’t mean what you think it means). Or perhaps it isn’t that hard, but the answer is not in an abstract rule or set of rules, but part 2 of the summary: Love your neighbor as yourself. Instead of trying to figure out what initiation, force, aggression, etc. means, just ask what the person you are going to act toward would think of it. Near universal carry also tends to bring this result. No DROs, or complex system. Don’t violate my idea of the NAP and I won’t shoot you.

    • Hi TZ,

      Indeed – these are all excellent questions. I wrestle with many of them myself (including intellectual property, which I do consider a form of property as it is the product of an individual’s talent and work and would not exist if the individual had not created it; he therefore has a right to it).

      I tend to agree with you in re slander/libel as well. If a person deliberately tarnishes another person’s reputation with false information then he has deprived him of value and owes an equivalent debt to the person slandered/libeled.

      And: Obviously, you can’t hold a suicide bomber responsible. Sometimes, liberty – and respect for the rights of the individual – requires accepting risk and loss.

    • “We ought to be taxed based on the actual damages pollution causes”
      The chief problem with that idea is that tax money goes to the gunvermin, and they have neither been harmed, nor will they reimburse those who have been harmed. It’s just another form of (wait for it) punishment.

    • TZ,
      ” We ought to be taxed based on the actual damages pollution causes – then VWs could simply set their emissions and decide the economics of clean v.s. pristine based on actual prices, not edicts. ”

      It’s a nice idea, and I agree with the theory, but the execution is impossible.
      Because clean loses to cheap every time. For example, Eric has issues getting the gelt to keep the place running! And he’s providing a quality product, with no waste, per se, on a shoestring budget….
      A company which pollutes – including real pollution, a la EPA in Colorado river, turned the river orange and poisoned it?
      How do you go after that for damages, when the company has comparatively infinite resources? (Which is why I use the EPA as the example.) Gov’t is the same thing… Except you also need PERMISSION to sue them for the damages they create.

      But if you can dodge a $500 cost? That means the product is cheaper in cost, and therefore people buy more.
      Eventually, that decays to the point the product is cheaper in the sense of lower quality – cutting corners has other costs – but by then you have a reputation, and people keep buying it from familiarity, until you can’t sell them crap any more… Can’t even give it away.

      But look what happens to those who made the decisions: golden parachutes and they repeat the process elsewhere. (Carly Fiorina, for example.)

      Not sure how to solve this problem. It would be different if we could acknowledge that a problem like poisoned water was best affected by threat of violence, E.G., someone’s going to get pissed off and kill you – but then, The People want to hold the shooter accountable – when they didn’t hold the CEO accountable.
      Funny, that. We seem to hate on people who DO more than those who can point to others and say, “They did it!”
      Yes, we know YOU didn’t get your hands dirty.
      Tom and Jerry did it… THEY put the waste in the hole.
      On Management orders of “do it or you’re fired.”
      Tom and Jerry have families to support… And if they get blackballed, they have families – who don’t eat.
      It’s not just that they can’t run the America’s Cup this year (Larry Ellison?)…
      Or run a remote-control birth control chip experiment in India (Bill Gates).
      Or buy a yacht…

      But if we hold the Execs responsible that way, the people who actually made the decision based on people’s lives vs. a chunk of money… those executives win either way, most of the time. Even Bernie Madoff ended up in good condition, financially… His family got screwed, his son committed suicide, and the “shareholders” got swindled.
      And he’s in prison.

      Doesn’t pay anyone back.
      If the birth control “malfunctions” (I’d wager it was intentional…), and women were sterilized (or it just never got turned off.?) – who would extract payment? Libertarians talk about various agencies and employing people to pursue such, but look at what happens WRT Clinton… the FBI won’t even touch her. Congress won’t touch The Magic Negro. They didn’t touch Bush, barely touched Mr. Clinton.
      And once you have armed groups to “enforce” agreements, who would also need to freelance at those who are psychopaths or who are powerful… Then what?
      Same deal in reverse, you need another agency to keep them “honest” – and they eventually realize it’s more profitable to simply demand payment from people around them. Warlords…

      A Clinton/Gates/Soros/Etc who doesn’t play by the rules becomes untouchable (exactly as the are now.)

      Sometimes you need someone who will watch the watchers. Through a scoped rifle…
      And they won’t all be honest, but it’s a risk, I think, that must be accepted. It’s not a lunatic shooting at whomever, it’s a pest control service, managing the rabid wolf that’s eating your sheep.

      If you have another idea, I’m listening, but…
      “Ain’t no brand loyalty 2 cents off can’t overcome.”

    • Goddamnit TZ,

      “Putting yourself into such a state isn’t criminal, however it should be actionable by depriving you of rights which you are not competent to exercise.”

      Well in your case, I think the flogging should continue until someone else’s moral improves. 🙂

      If a guy like Steve Fossett wants to eat peyote and fly his plane. Or gets a crazy fucking idea like flying a balloon around the world, who gets to deprive him of his rights?

      Now I can’t remember if he made it around the world in a balloon, bit they did find parts of his plane scattered around peyote country. They may have even found a few tiny pieces of him as well. I don’t remember if the DNA tests we’re conclusive.

      As far as I can tell, only law he ATTEMPTED to break was the one that says no two things can occupy the same space at the same time.

      Most every modern convenience was proposed and/or produced by people who are/were bat shit crazy.

      The difference is only the types of money a person holds.

      TZ, I think ideas like yours are laudable if only for the fact that those ideas like the one I quoted above motivate people with access to fuck me money.

      People who only have access to fuck you money are busy trying to discover new ways to deprive other people of their rights.

    • Call me overly simplistic, but I don’t think there is one answer to everything, not even 42. Just the very fact that we are sentient beings means that circumstances are always changing, therefore there is no concrete solution to all our problems (compare the WMD virus home tinkerer vs. a garage monkey flashing the ECU in their car, different situations).

      So all I can say is that communities need to be active, not passive, and that has been what I think the downfall of the U.S. has been. Too many people want to live their lives and have other take care of things for them, so they turn over control for the boring things like laws and regulations, and now there’s tyrannical regulations for everything because only the greedy or stupid end up in politics.

      So in a nutshell, teach people to think and the world will be a better place.

    • I disagree with your post for a number of reasons TZ! Please provide a link to a single libertarian who has labeled Rothbard as being God!
      Rothbard was a prolific writer who was an early key thinker in modern small L libertarian philosophy, so of course he had covered most of the bases. This fact has not stopped libertarians from taking issue with a number of his beliefs. He died long before the Internet reached puberty, so it is impossible for us to know how his views may have changed once good search engines became available. His early sources of knowledge came from obscure hard copy books that he sought and studied.
      Libel and slander, along with abortion and other topics, are contentious topics among libertarian debaters. This is why I advocate the voluntary creation of communities consisting of like-minded individuals in the next era. (if we are allowed to survive until then)
      You state that “We should be taxed…”. Your statement implies that individual freedom must be forcefully banned in favor of a ruler that you approve of! It also implies that the 10,000+ years of the failure of statism which has been tried in every conceivable flavor by more than 100 countries will somehow suddenly work if you were in charge!
      You then have the gall to state that “Liberty is hard” after presenting nothing but non-liberty solutions.
      Anarchism has a limited but definite history of individual human liberty while having a horrible history for control freaks like you appear to be! Anarchists just lived their lives without wanting someone paid at taxpayer expense to record how their day to day lives took place. This is the cause of a lack of heavily covered and detailed written history about anarchist societies. An anarchist country would be an oxymoron.

  5. Hi, Eric,
    I need to nit-pic here. Can’t help it, it’s my job (literally, QA).

    You stated:
    “But how does one “violate” mere words on a piece of paper? The word seems… awkward. Only flesh and blood human being can be violated in any morally meaningful sense, because you can’t hurt a non-living thing; a piece of paper with words written on it.”

    The issue here is, we can say the same about the Constitution, and The Shrub’s comment, “it’s just a piece of GD paper!” The Gov’t has broken the law, but none of us have been physically injured (yet, of course.)
    That we WILL be damaged specifically, in the future… Goes without saying. But I was thinking while reading this, it should be mirrored onto Lew Rockwell. There, it might benefit from some more discussion of this point, and how WE, the PEOPLE, CAN prohibit our ersatz leaders from behaving in actions which ARE, in fact, merely malum prohibitum conduct. E.G., creating nerve gas, on the understanding that… “Well, other governments will do it, we need to be ready!”
    Other governments tried to take over the world, and committed genocide on their own people…. (Which is why we have the second amendment, to enable us to prevent such behavior. I think the founders knew how stupid the common man was, which is why they did NOT write up a Democracy, but a Republic. While Rockwell readers might know this – the common man doesn’t know how to tell time on an analog clock any more. The bar has been set at, “Don’t wet yourself. At least not in public.” And everyone is living down to that level, which is why we HAVE malum prohibitum in the first place.)

    Not sure though how to point out the difference between Das Boot doing something illegal (which is so often also immoral – Tuskegee, Vietnam, Gulf War, Sumter, Tonkin, Maine, 1929, etc, etc, etc; I include the event and the subsequent actions taken, such as devastating mismanagement following the 29 crash; the Maine was probably not sabotage, but an ammo problem, and it seems they knew that then, but used it as support for war; etc.) Das Boot has legions of loyal followers who will hide the issues, mask the problems, even take the blame and die for Das Boot.
    For a person who acts badly, there is far less room to maneuver and hide.
    It is dependent, though, on a high moral framework. (Which is why the malum prohibitum for US is so ridiculous.) Moral people will shoulder their responsibilities. They must be mature, and moral, or they will be unable to do business, receive no recognition… They will essentially be treated as children, and relegated to lower roles in society – rightly so. You don’t want a person with a 65 IQ running the show, for a reason! You don’t make this person CEO of Exxon, PERIOD, full stop. The individual is deemed mentally unfit…. And thus treated like a child, respected for what they CAN do – E.G., don’t pee yourself in public…
    We are all presumed to be willful, nasty children, who must be controlled. Those who are moral are presumed to be sinful; those who follow the law, presumed to be criminals.
    What outcome do you expect?
    If you’ll do the time either way, people will do the crime – at least get the benefits, since you’ll pay the costs anyway.

    It would be possible also to draw a parallel to plenty of other sources and examples, but Jack Welch is a favorite, since he’s big in business and leadership training…. When called in to rescue a company, he’d start off by firing the management/leadership. That was where the culture was created, that’s where the problems are incubating, that’s why the rest of the tree is rotting – so remove the rotten stuff and preserve the tree.
    Most companies will churn the Indians, cull the Indians – but never question their basic assumptions (Such as, “one person can wear many hats” = one position with 3+ people’s responsibilities. No one understands – willful ignorance on their part – that making everyone a generalist dilutes the potential of each person, and makes far more churn and emotional stress for each worker. Also dilutes roles, making everyone accountable for everything – high stress environment. Results in delegation of responsibility and centralization of power – which is a contradiction, because if you are responsible for X, Y, Z, but then need someone ELSE to enforce the actions that resolve X, Y, Z – It’s like making the FISH responsible for biting the bait.
    Average Man is demanding Gov’t be responsible for limiting FedGovCo…
    when it’s up to us.

    Second point:
    “Nor the people who freely decide to do business with another and are each happy with the freely consented to arrangement – even if the arrangement is not in conformity with “the law.” ”

    Might be better phrased as:
    Nor the people who freely decide to do business with one another and are each happy with the freely consented to arrangement…

    I think it’s slightly clearer with that addition.

  6. “What gets measured gets done.” The battle cry of the bureaucrat.

    I like the video, but I really wish you’d get a tripod or other mount for the camera. It gets a little shaky sometimes. Wouldn’t need to be all that sturdy since you could strap it down to the passenger seat (in the gap between the head rest and the top of the seat) or clamp it to a handy spot in the vehicle.

    • I am currently using a go-pro for my ‘dash’ camera. The mount is a large U shape pipe holder that I straightened out one end leaving this right angled bracket (but with a generous radius) and then original flange to which the camera is mounted. I dipped it in tool-dip to coat it. I slip it under the passenger side headrest. Works quite well without dealing with clamps or anything. For one of my cars I had to put a piece of styrofoam in an old sock and slip that over the end to get it to hold properly. (head rest had too much of a gap in the lowest position). It can be jittery at times depending on the road surface.

      • Brent, is go-pro cheaper than a dash cam? I looked at some dual dash cams a while back, seems like they were fairly expensive.

        • Most dash cams are cheaper than the go-pro. But I wanted something I could use on my bicycle as well. The go-pro was cheaper than buying two cameras. There are now knockoff go-pros that are comparable with cheaper dash cams.

          • I looked a couple that were about $100+ with the highest FPS dvr mode and 64 MB sd cards with auto-wreck recording and auto on-off, both said they were the best at getting license numbers. Hell, I’ll just start keeping a list of plate numbers I know are narcs. Spread them around, let the world know.

    • Funny thing is, the measurement is an end in and of itself to the bureaucrat.
      My boss spends a LOT of time measuring. Which means I spend a lot of time measuring (which is why I’m so prolific today. I hate measuring for the sake of measuring, and combing through these details for 12 hours is a nuisance at best, and spitefully accepted, but since I could fix it all by throwing people out windows…? Of course, the rot is near the root here – the bigwigs are on the second floor. I need to get them to the 35th floor to make it count…)

      Anyway – yeah, we can measure how much time we “spent” on things.
      But no one CARES. They make a report, and make lots of mewling noises, but… Don’t fix the REAL problems.
      Eight will get the analogy… It’s checking the straps on the trailer for the 15th time, because someone forgot to bring the CAB…. And you’re waiting with a “Delivery Due By” stamp, and waiting for someone to deliver the cab so you can hitch up and get going, but the bureaucrats insist you measure the tire pressure, length of straps, tension of straps, weight of truck (seriously?!), and measure every component of the flatbed…
      And they’ll ding YOU for not having the cab, which you’re not allowed to order, but ARE responsible for….

      BTW, did anyone notice I hate and despise bureaucrats…?

  7. Great article! I get the impression that most people in positions of power and authority actually do want to punish people, to ‘teach them a lesson’. You see it in schools with the silly numbers of suspensions. You definitely see it in the vindictiveness of cops. It’s not good enough any longer to make things right – someone must be punished. It’s kind of sick.

    It’s the emotional component that is difficult to reconcile, though. I know from experience I can be calm about someone wrecking my car. On the other hand, were someone to hurt my kids, I’m not totally sure I wouldn’t want to punish them.

    • Thanks, Yeti!

      How’d you like the video part? I’m thinking about doing “quasi-podcasts” along these lines as a regular thing…

      • I like it! You kind of threw me at first – I thought it was the Pacifica review with a bad link! You should definitely do more of this. You could even have guests join you on the ride!

        You did bring up an interesting point toward the end about pollution. My newer cars are, as you say, really clean. My Triumph, not remotely. But where do classic cars fall among the worst pollution sources? Lawn mowers, industrial equipment, etc. all pollute to some degree, but is there an actual problem?

        • Hi Yeti,

          I would wager that the number of cars built before 1985 or so (prior to EFI and three-way cats) still in regular use is so small that regardless of their emissions, the effect on air quality/people’s health is nil.

          I still expect “action” to be taken at some point, though.

          Clovers will argue such cars are “dirty” (and, of course, “unsafe”) and use these arguments to impose either heavy, punitive taxes or pass laws that de facto render such cars unusable, as by requiring them to meet current/modern exhaust emissions/safety requirements in order to be allowed on “public” roads.

    • “Punishing them doesn’t accomplish this. It only harms the person accused of having caused the harm. It does not make the person who was harmed whole again.”
      Actually, it harms the rest of us too, because we have to pay for all the cops, courts, prosecutors, prisons, county jails, public defenders, ad nauseum.

      • It’s this 19th century idea that people can be reformed through punishment. By now it would be considered a failed experiment and abandoned except it very much empowered government and people built their way of life, their rackets around it. Now it cannot be gotten rid of and they keep making more crimes to keep the prisons full. The public is scammed coming and going. First by the criminals then by the government.

        I never understood how putting someone in prison helped the victim other than emotionally for revenge or preventing them from doing it again for X amount of time. Then I see these people who commit financial crimes who if you considered their time in club fed a job to ‘earn’ what they stole it’s damn good salary. Of course it’s best to be a bankster where you just pay the fedgov a cut and no prison time. Here’s 5% of the 4 billion we made… cost of doing business. Public sees the 200 million dollar ‘fine’ and is happy justice was served. It’s the sort of irrational con games that we are all supposed to play in this society.

        And maybe the dilbert creator is right that this what we have to do to be happy and successful but I just can’t get myself to play these games. I see no happiness from them, quite the opposite actually.

        • “idea that people can be reformed through punishment”
          Exactly! Where do you think the words ‘reformatory’ (for juveniles) and ‘penitentiary’ (for adults) came from?
          To be penitent – to regret one’s actions. Well yeah, locking them up would tend to do that, but so what? Wouldn’t double restitution – giving the victim back his own, plus an equal amount – do that too? And benefit the victim to boot?

          • Part of the problem is, we have those who have nothing, either by choice or by issues. (Working poor, for example, or the truly indigent, or disabled.)
            What would be the system whereby they could make restitution?

            Instead, of course, we have an asinine system where Gov’t gets goodies and power, while the victims get nothing – double-shafting, if you will. And we get to pay for that “privilege.”

            • Hi Jean,

              They could work it off – literally. There is a way for just about anyone not a cripple. And cripples aren’t going to be causing much harm to anyone.

              • Think of the scooters and chairs they have – damages can and do occur. 😉
                We’d have to prevent people from gaming that system, of course – think of how handicapped placards are handed out like candy. Or, for more extreme example – there are parents who cripple their children in some places, because they “earn” more begging as cripples. (Cut off an arm, more money. Etc.)
                People are still somewhat venal, and that must be considered, too. 😉

              • “They could work it off – literally.”
                This is where ‘slavery’ (oooh, that nasty word!) becomes legitimate – to enforce repayment of a debt, Whether a traditionally thought of debt, something that you ‘borrowed,’ or something you owe the victim of your crime.

                • Hi Phillip,

                  An indenture is ok with me. You agree to work for “x” period of time in return for “x.” Or, to make restitution, if that is your choice or you have no other way to pay what you owe.

                  This, therefore, is rather different from slavery. A slave is owned – but owes his master nothing.

                • People are perfectly fine with debt serfdom. They think it’s very natural that medical care and college should be enormously expensive. They think nothing of bidding up housing on debt. Sure there’s no “slavery” any more but if you want to live everything is done to make you indentured.

                  Then we have the central banks with ZIRP and NIRP to mop up those of us hold out savers, minimalists, cash based people, willing to live beneath our means types. The attacks on desert dwellers and mountain men. You have to pay to be on the grid, that will be $100,000. Nobody is to escape this bondage. Everyone is to be forced into debt.

                  Then there are the taxes.

                  Slavery hasn’t gone away. The form of bondage has changed. It’s more efficient now. Effectively the owners still get and control our productivity and that’s everything that’s important about slavery. Financial chains are just as good as, no better than iron ones.

                  • Right – the 13th Amendment didn’t abolish slavery – it abolished private (non-gunvermin) slavery. But now we also have bankster slavery.

                • That’s one of my issues, too.
                  That the concept of “paying off the debt to society” has come to mean going to prison, which is better than the last few “vacations” I’ve had… (OK, sort of, they get better facilities, but I didn’t have to worry about getting shived.)

                  There’s obviously no “payment” by them; the inmates are getting a better “education” there – in crime and criminal thought. By all means, let’s group the violent and antisocial * into one large pen where they can learn to be even more violent, paranoid, impulsive, and antisocial…

                  *: I’m running with the preconception most have.
                  I recognize there are a lot of people who aren’t violent or antisocial (Potheads for example) , but it underscores the actual point: they WILL BE antisocial and maybe even paranoid and violent when released… It’s a survival mechanism, one I know all too well. People fear me, I project anger, hatred, hostility, and I don’t WANT to – but it became the only way to keep from being attacked. Like PTSD… Turn into a wild beast, have a Hulk moment, and people won’t come close… Cuts both ways.

                  To get back to topic: Funny how forced labor as restitution is illegal, but forced labor for the prison-industrial complex is perfectly OK…

                  • The problem with the idea of “paying off the debt to society” is that no one owes a debt to society. They may owe a debt to their victim(s), but not to society, because society has not been harmed. It can’t be, because it’s an artificial concept. Like ‘the public good.’
                    One of my pet peeves with the just-us system is that the persecuting [sic] attorney always refers to himself as representing either ‘the people’ or ‘the state.’ Neither of which is the victim of the crime in question.

                    • Bingo.
                      No disagreement at all.
                      The way my father explained it to me as a kid, it was that some things were too big for an individual to handle, so you had a “society” handle it.
                      Somehow, he never made the jump to understand that power collected and centralized is in itself an invitation to abuse.

                      This coming from a man who believed a long
                      engagement was “an occasion to sin.”

    • ” I get the impression that most people in positions of power and authority actually do want to punish people” Which makes me want to punish them – but only for the harm they’ve caused, most of which cannot be ‘repaid.’

  8. “If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”

    – Louis D. Brandeis

    “It isn’t wrong because it’s illegal; it’s illegal because it’s wrong.”

    – adapted from Mark Steyn


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