Crime and Punishment in a Free Society

Would a free society be a crime-free society?

Would a free society be a crime-free society? We have good reason to anticipate it.

Don’t accuse me of utopianism. I don’t foresee a future of new human beings who consistently respect the rights of others. Rather, I’m drawing attention to the distinction between crime and tort — between offenses against the state (or society) and offenses against individual persons or their justly held property. We’re so used to this distinction, and the priority of the criminal law over tort law, that most of us don’t realize that things used to be different. At one time, an “offense” that was not an act of force against an individual was not an offense at all.

What happened? In England, the early kings recognized that the administration of justice could be a cash cow. So they grabbed on and never let go. As a result, the emphasis shifted to punishment (fines and imprisonment) and away from restitution (making victims or their heirs as whole as possible).

Liberty-minded people should regret this change. Yet again, the ruling elite exploited the people. It needed wealth to buy war materiel and allegiance, so it took it by force from the laboring masses, and corrupted the justice system in the process.

In The Enterprise of Law, Bruce Benson explains that before the royal preemption, customary law prevailed in England. One feature of this spontaneous order was that

offenses are treated as torts (private wrongs and injuries) rather than crimes (offenses against the state or the “society”). A potential action by one person has to affect someone else before any question of legality can arise; any action that does not, such as what a person does alone or in voluntary cooperation with someone else but in a manner that clearly harms no one, is not likely to become the subject of a rule of conduct under customary law.

Benson also notes that

prosecutorial duties fall to the victim and his reciprocal protection association. Thus, the law provides for restitution to victims arrived at through clearly designed participatory adjudication procedures, in order to both provide incentives to pursue prosecution and to quell victims’ desires for revenge.

In such a system of law, one was not likely to see “offenses” without true victims. Since cooperation through reciprocity is key to the success of customary law, the system is likely to be kept within narrow libertarian-ish limits. (Also relevant is John Hasnas’s paper “Toward a Theory of Empirical Natural Rights” [PDF].)

This arrangement worked out fairly well — until would-be rulers, who needed money to finance wars of conquest and buy loyalty by dispensing tax-funded jobs, discovered that there was gold to be had in the administration of justice.

Anglo-Saxon kings saw the justice process as a source of revenue, and violations of certain laws began to be referred to as violations of the “king’s peace.” Well before the Norman conquest [1066], outlawry began to involve not only liability to be killed with impunity but [quoting historians Frederick Pollack and Frederick Maitland] “forfeiture of goods to the king.”

The idea of the “king’s peace” started small but eventually expanded to all of society. The incentive was obvious. “Violations of the king’s peace required payment to the king,” Benson writes. As customary law was co-opted by the crown, the concept felony, arbitrariness in punishment, and imprisonment came to the administration of “justice.” The people were not pleased with the shifting focus from victims to king and his cronies, so they had to be compelled to cooperate.

For example, royal law imposed coercive rules declaring that the victim was a criminal if he obtained restitution before he brought the offender before a king’s justice where the king could get his profits. This was not a strong enough inducement, so royal law created the crimes of “theftbote,” making it a misdemeanor for a victim to accept the return of stolen property or to make other arrangements with a felon in exchange for an agreement not to prosecute.

Benson sums up

By the end of the reign of Edward I [1307], the basic institutions of government law had been established, and in many instances older custom had been altered or replaced by authoritarian rules to facilitate the transfer of wealth to relatively powerful groups. “Public interest” justifications for a government-dominated legal system and institutions must be viewed as ex postrationalizations rather than as ex ante explanations of their development.

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  • Acosmist||

    I sometimes write silly things on Sunday morning too. Don't worry about it.

  • Ted S.||

    You comment on H&R. Therefore, by definition, you write silly things every day od the week. (This assumes that you comment on a daily basis, of course. And it doesn't say much about my writing either.)

  • Acosmist||

    I don't comment that often, but if I did, you would be right. Certainly this has been a silly comment thread for me. Yet it pales in comparison to the article.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It has always seemed to me that anarcho-capitalism is about getting people to imagine a world without the government.

    If you can get people to think about and argue about what the government is good for (or not), you're halfway to making the real world more libertarian.

    I know there are plenty of anarcho-capitalists out there who are dead serious about what they want to achieve, but even they often talk about anarcho-capitalism in terms of something to strive for.

    Everybody knows we're in no danger of actually getting rid of public prosecutors tomorrow. The question is about what kind of world you want to live in.

  • Seran72||

    I want to live in a world where people who commit murder go to jail.

    If you are asking me to consider a world where they are instead asked to pay restitution, your exercise is DOA.

    History suggests I am in a sizable majority on this.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I want to live in a world where people who commit murder go to jail."

    Whether dealing with murderers appropriately really requires the existence of a government is still a worthy question.

    If the fact is that governments tend to become increasingly more authoritarian in rather predictable ways through their life cycles, and that process is similar throughout history and across all cultures, then contemplating ways to live without government is a legitimate activity for a libertarian.

    "Correction and deterrence may be natural byproducts of a system of restitution, but they are not proper objectives"

    Like I said, I'm not an anarchist, but I can see how locking someone in jail could be a poor substitute for making someone pay for his crime.

  • Seran72||

    As to your first point, I would simply argue that, whatever method is chosen "dealing with murderers appropriately" IS government.

    I agree with POTUS on this (not much else): Government is us. It is what we do to impose peace and orderliness.

    I agree with you about the arch of government becoming more authoritiarian. But that is a function of human nature -- not an independent entity called "the state."

    When I argue for a minimalist government, my arguments are not directed at "the state." They are directed at my friends and neighbors and family who collectively cede more and more of our individual autonomy and responsibility to the collective for reasons that are, however depressing, also predictable.

    I do not think they will find me very convincing if I lead with an argument that we want to stop prosecuting violent crimes and instead start petitioning murderers for restitution.

    FWIW, restitution is a part of most criminal sentences. It just does not get a lot of press. Why not? Because no one, not even the victims, care. What they care about is whether the perpetrator is going to jail.

  • Ken Shultz||

    As to your first point, I would simply argue that, whatever method is chosen "dealing with murderers appropriately" IS government.

    Seems like you're suggesting that anarchy is impossible because it's impossible.

    Just because anarchists have ways of dealing with murderers that don't involve the government, that doesn't mean they aren't anarchists.

    You see that, right?

  • Seran72||

    I am not sure I do.

    And I am not completely sure you accurately characterized what I am saying, i.e., that "anarchy is impossible because it's impossible."

    It would be closer -- I think -- to characterize it as something along the lines of "anarchy, while theoretically possible, does not exist in human societies." In that manner, it is more like unicorns. They are not impossible. They could exist. They simply do not.

    The question I am asking is this. In what meaningful way would the anarchists' "ways of dealing with murderers" not constitute "government?"

    I realize that this, in large part, becomes a semantic debate about what the word "government" means. But I think that discussion is an important one. If you do not define what it means, we cannot decide whether it has been avoided.

  • Sarah||

    Upon reflection, I think it is unnecessarily insulting to use unicorns in the example. I did not intend it that way. I just meant unicorns are a completely pleasant and completely possible thing. Evolution just did not cough them up to us.

    It would probably be less insulting and perhaps a better analogy to say: "It is theoretically possible for humans living in societies to not form governments. It is also theoretically possible for humans living in societies to not form pair bonds."

  • Ken Shultz||

    I agree with you about the arch of government becoming more authoritiarian. But that is a function of human nature

    And how many times have you heard anarchists say that the world may not be ready for anarchy? I think a lot of them would agree with your statement, but they might suggest the ways humanity organizes itself doesn't have to be completely dependent on human nature.

    If there were no police tomorrow, no one would have anything to fear from me. The reasons I don't go around robbing and stealing and contract breaking and raping have nothing to do with the fear of criminal prosecution. And I'm not the only one!

    I think anarchists are looking for a better world and for people to rise above their baser instincts for the hope of a better tomorrow without suffering a government that's bound to go through increasing phases of authoritarianism.

    That's the general direction where I'm headed as a mini-state libertarian, for the time being, too. I don't see any major point of disagreement between libertarians and anarchists. It's mostly just strategy.

    If the government ever gets so small that we have to argue about whether to finally put it out of its misery, we'll have a disagreement with them.

    But we have so far to go before the government ever starts to get a little smaller! Why worry about those differences now?

  • Seran72||

    Well, it is not so much that I think we need to resolve those differences now as that I just thought the article was really bad.

    A couple of commenters have suggested the author was limiting it to property crimes and/or or victimless crimes. Interpreted that way, it does become substantially less problematic.

    FTR, I would not apply the reasoning in this article to anything other than victimless crimes.

  • Free Society||

    Government is us. It is what we do to impose peace and orderliness.

    At best, government is a majority of people deciding on what to have for dinner and making that choice a requirement for those poor sons of bitches who are in the minority. There is no "us" when my membership in that group is brought about by the business end of a gun.

  • Sarah||

    A majority of people dictating what other people eat is definitely government and a bad manifestation of it to boot.

    I am just saying that how societies of people deal with violence and property offenses -- if it involves any imposition of force against resistant individuals -- also falls under the rubric of "government."

    It may or may not be a bad manifestation thereof, but it *is" government.

  • Seran72||

    I should have been more precise. There are categories of crimes where the victims care very much about restitution.

    But for violent crimes, the ones that present the hard cases for anarchists and voluntaryists, the victims and the community tend to be more focused on putting the person in jail. .

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think there is an excellent argument for incapacitating people who cannot be trusted not to be violent against innocent people.

    And he doesn't really address that.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Why not sentence the convicted murderer to, say, twenty years of indentured service to the victim's survivors? Of course, they probably wouldn't want to use it directly. They could sell his slave labor to somebody who thought it was worth something. Something like the Fukushima cleanup crew.

    Shocked by the notion of slavery as a sentence for murder? Then it is obvious that you've never spent any time at all in a prison. An inmate in a US prison is a slave to the State, and he is also confined in an extremely dysfunctional and violent environment.

    Anyway, relatively few inmates are in prison for murder. I'm content that they stay there. Less than half of the prison inmates are there for violent crimes. It's better to focus on a just and humane way to handle the majority who are there for victimless crimes.

  • Seran72||

    What do you propose people do if the murderer does not agree to complete his sentence of servitude?

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  • Seran72||

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever read here.

    "Crime" was not "invented" by "would-be" rulers looking for financing. It was invented by people who killed, raped and robbed -- and the communities who decided how to respond. Pre-state societies were some of the bloodiest, murderingest, rapiest, brutal societies that ever existed.

    In addition to outright thuggery and violence, the more successful (and therefore denser) a society gets, the more people of genuine good faith conflict in ways that are unpredictable, subtle and not self-evidently resolveable.

    Leaving people to resolve those differences on their own often devolved into self-perpetuating cycles of violence. Since ongoing blood feuds were dangerous and inconvenient for other people, their neighbors started imposing resolutions: trials, rules of evidence, presumptions, imprisonment or other punishment, tort restitution, etc..

    Because no amount of "restitution" is sufficient to allow a Jeffrey Dahmer to continue living down the street.

    Blithely assuming that some hypothetical ideal society will conveniently not produce violent predators is contrary to thousands of years of pre-state history. Google "the myth of the savage" and read about how pre-state societies treated each other.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "This is the stupidest thing I have ever read here."

    Have you never read any of Tony's comments?

  • Seran72||

    Lol. No, I almost never comment so I am not even sure who Tony is.

    Although... I have a vague memory of a Tony from the last time I commented, which would have been more than a year ago. Is this the same Tony??? Too funny...

    Just to clarify, that comment was directed at the article itself, not anyone's comment.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I don't think it's stupid, but I do think it should be limited to property crime. Also, even for property offenders, I don't see how you forgo jail entirely

    I'd thought previously of a minimum security jail with a prison factory. The wages split to the victim, prison, and offender. As soon as the victim is paid off, the offender goes free. If the offender doesn't want to work, they get the same time they'd go free working plus some extra time as a FYTW. gesture

  • Sarah||

    In order to call something a property "crime," you have to have a system for deciding that someone owns something. It is not always obvious.

    Some examples: how much, if any, of the water in a creek that runs through your land do you "own?" Can a person "steal" it from you by building upriver and removing any, some, or all of the water? If for fifty years, everyone who lives along the creek has been removing 100 gallons of water per year, in the year of a drought, does everyone get to take their 100 gallons until the creek runs dry or do the downriver people have a proportionate property right to some of the water, even if it means the upriver people have to take less than the 100 gallons they expect?

    Say you bought something, you paid the full price, but before it was delivered to you, another person also bought the same thing and actually took possession of it? One of you has a claim against the seller and the other one gets to own the actual thing. You both want the thing. Who gets it? Does your answer change if the second person knew you had already paid for it?

    Once the system for answering these and a thousand other questions like them is in place, some people will not agree with it. If they are forced to abide by the system for recognizing who owns things and forced to pay restitution for a "crime" against property they do not agree someone else "owns," I would call that "government."

  • MJGreen||

    Richman's argument seems to be that "crime" is defined as offenses against the state, so if you remove the state you cannot have "crime." It's silly and doesn't really accomplish much, but he is not saying there would be no criminals (as we use the word).

    He also completely ignores the possibilities for imprisonment and retribution in an anarchist system. Richman mentions Randy Barnett, who makes space for private prisons and declaring hard criminals outlaws or outcasts when drawing his own picture of an anarchist legal system. I think part of this is the idea that most murderers would be unable to pay sufficient restitution, and so would be secured in a prison until they paid off the debt (another twist: as the "customer," the prisoner could have choice of where to be locked up). You definitely can't just let first-degree murderers walk around town.

    You of course need to deal with the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world, but fortunately very, very few of them ever exist. It'd be ridiculous to structure a system entirely around dealing with those aberrations.

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    Richman's argument seems to be that "crime" is defined as offenses against the state, so if you remove the state you cannot have "crime." It's silly and doesn't really accomplish much, but he is not saying there would be no criminals (as we use the word).

    It's not silly to point out that the modern understanding of crime has little to do with compensating victims and everything to do with enriching the state under the pretense of defending society.

    "Tort" has a specific meaning, and those who are sued for damages aren't referred to as "criminals," a word that's reserved for those who have harmed the state by violating its rules. That's the distinction SR is getting at, and it's a hugely important one.

  • Sarah||

    Btw, I am both Seran72 and Sarah. Not sure how I accomplished that, but they are both me. I will try to reintegrate my split personalities at some point. :-)

  • Sarah||

    I will make an effort to find out about Randy Barnett.

    However, I have numerous questions.

    In what meaningful sense would a private entity with the power to imprison people against their will differ from "government?"

    If the perpetrator can afford to pay the restitution, but does not choose to -- perhaps because he does not believe his conduct should be a crime or because he denies he was the perpetrator -- how do you make him do it? And how does it differ in any meaningful respect from "government?"

    What is the restitutionary value of rape? of child rape? Of a severe beating? Murder? Is the restitutionary value of murder based on the pecuniary loss to the family? If so, then is there no repercussion for murdering a person who is a net cost to his family as opposed to a net pecuniary gain? Is there a flat rate for murdering children since their future pecuniary contributions to their families are highly speculative? Or is there some (non-governmental) proceeding for proving up the exceptional future worth of your particular murdered child?

    You address the issue of what happens if the defendant cannot pay. The far more problematic issue is: what if she is so wealthy that restitution is merely an acceptable cost of enjoying her violent hobbies?

  • Brian||

    Seran72

    Leaving people to resolve those differences on their own often devolved into self-perpetuating cycles of violence. Since ongoing blood feuds were dangerous and inconvenient for other people, their neighbors started imposing resolutions: trials, rules of evidence, presumptions, imprisonment or other punishment, tort restitution, etc..

    I think this presents a problem for your theory. Given your theory, how did society arise in the first place? The only interjection of civility in your theory comes from an external government imposing law. Where did the first one come from? Aliens from another planet?

  • Seran72||

    I would say that the "society" simply existed by virtue of people living in close proximity. The "government" arose from forces within or without that society imposing certain rules on each other. In other words, some forces within the society were running amok and other forces within that same society (or its close neighbors) sought to impose order. When the people in the latter group outnumbered and/or overpowered the people in the former, "government' was born.

  • Seran72||

    My whole point is that government is not (or at least not always) an external force. It can be internal forces acting to impose order on the other members.

  • Brian||

    You seem to be equating order and government. That is, anything beyond a state of complete chaotic nature equals government.

    Is that correct?

  • Sarah||

    I do not think nature is necessarily inherently chaotic. Order can be spontaneously generated, even among humans.

    But when a group of people uses their collective force to impose order on other people who do not voluntarily agree (even if it is only a very small number of them), I would call that "government."

    I agree that outside, external forces sometimes impose undesirable government on people who do not want or need it. However, I also believe that the genesis of government is often from within the society itself when sufficient people decide to impose some rules involuntarily against other people for the purpose of minimizing violence and protecting a system of private property rights necessary for wealth accumulation.

    The issue for me is not convincing people that they ought not do this, which I regard as somewhat akin to arguing they ought not form pair bonds. In fact, I believe government is an inevitable result of parents loving their children. :-)

    The question for me is how to short-circuit the arch of government from that original purpose to the leviathan it seems inevitably to become.

  • Ebriosa||

    I don't always comment on H&R, but when I do, I've been drinking.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Juries are supposed to protect us from the worst aspects of crimes against the state, as well. Our rights are inalienable in that the government cannot rightfully choose to deprive us of them. But then a jury "of our peers" means, specifically, that the jury is not the government.

    Also, in a society where the whole purpose of government is to protect people's rights, depriving someone else of their rights is, in fact, a crime against the state.

    And then there are plenty of situations where crime victims are incapable of bringing suit themselves. Never mind forcing rape victims to pay for their own forensic tests either; what about when children are victims and the parents are the accused? Who prosecutes a murderer if the victim doesn't have any family? What if the victim is mentally incapacitate or insane?

  • General Butt Naked||

    You should watch some Stefan Molyneux vids on the youtube. He goes into the sorts of problems that would be encountered in a stateless society when dealing with justice. He is prone to hand waving at times (like you do in your 4th sentence; I think you're question begging a bit). He'll state, for instance, that with the violence of the state removed people will naturally be more peaceful. That sounds like some "new communist man" malarkey for an-caps to me.

    But for the people that can't afford to bring suit: Wouldn't you assume that there would be people that are willing to pay to have rapists, murderers, etc face justice? Just because the coercion of the state is gone it doesn't mean that people won't still pay for things, voluntarily, that the state now provides. It's one of the most heard arguments from libertarians, that is, that absent the welfare state people will contribute more charitably thus making up the difference.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "But for the people that can't afford to bring suit: Wouldn't you assume that there would be people that are willing to pay to have rapists, murderers, etc face justice?"

    Not in all cases, not if the victim is especially unpopular for some reason.

    Or even worse, what about all the thousands of crime victims that no one ever hears about on an individual basis?

    Libertarians are often willing to stand up for the rights of unpopular people, but that's probably unusual.

    I imagine it would be something like the people who are willing to give to charities that help the homeless. People who victimize droopy-eyed children are likely to be well prosecuted, but a lot of other people are going to be left out in the snow.

    And we haven't even started talking about publicly financed legal defense. Are poor people going to be required to pay for their own defense, too?

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    The most realistic scenario would be ravening hordes of ambulance-chasers who take a sizable cut out of every victim's bounty rather than up-front payments. The rest would exist as well, but the profit motive would align the victim's interests with the bleeding-heart libertarian's.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Who prosecutes? The guy who figures out how to extract value out of a vast industrial army of convict slaves. See above. The violent criminal forfeits the right to his property and the fruit of his future labor until he can make adequate restitution to his victims. That may require more than lifetime. But his crime should not entitle him to free room and board in a dangerous, soul-crushing state institution.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Looks like someone has been watching Stefan Molyneux vids on the youtube.

    Personally, I think shunning would be much more effective than prison for detering/punishing violent crime and making victims whole.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "self-defense and the defense of others"

    That is a major exception to the anti-imprisonment argument, isn't it? Am I missing something? In the case of violent crimes, that's a sign that the offender may reoffend. If he's a recidivist, that's an even stronger hint that the community is in danger from the guy. So why not make him cool his heels in a prison for a while?

    What if a criminal is too poor to afford restitution? Should he be put to hard labor (as Beccaria urged), with his wages going to the victim? Should the rich be exempted from such labor because they can pay?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    NPR is interviewing a guy in the punk band Bad Religion about their Christmas album. They do the classics like O Come O Come, Emmanuel, but they say it's OK because it's all ironic and secular.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Putting out a Christmas album like that is ironic.

    You're not taking them seriously, are you?

    P.S.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMJLCg2YKjk

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Now we have someone from the Association of Police on npr with a 30 point planto avoid wrongful convictions.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Ooh, here's one - a lady on npr says one reason native smrricans were not enslaved was that they were armed.

  • ||

    Uh....the reason they were/were not, depending on where you are talking about and at what time, is that they made awful slaves. Many of them would not work, preferring to just lay down and die.

  • BardMetal||

    They also tended to get diseases a lot.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's complicated but, yeah, my understanding is that the reason the Spanish started importing African slaves into Peru (1520s) was becasue the aboriginals they enslaved to work in their mines were highly susceptible to the diseases the Europeans were carrying.

    Africans had already been exposed to all those diseases, so they made better slaves that way.

    Slavery in Virginia didn't really start until the 1640s, and, by then, I think they were just going with what worked.

    I have no doubt but that if the English colonists had thought the Indians were suitable for slavery, that they would have been enslaved. ...but the Spanish were absolutely enslaving them.

    Before there were colonies in the U.S., though, fishing vessels used to raid Indian villages for slaves and sell on the other side of the Atlantic on their way home. The first Indian the pilgrims met when they got off the Mayflower spoke perfect English.

    He'd been captured, sold into slavery, escaped, worked his way to London, and worked on the docks to pay a fisherman to take him back to his village in Massachusetts. By the time he got back, they were all dead from European diseases.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The first Indian the pilgrims met when they got off the Mayflower spoke perfect English."

    That kind of blew my mind when I first heard about it.

    When the pilgrims got off the Mayflower, the first Indian they met had already been to London. He'd been across the Atlantic before they had.

    That's kinda not the way it was taught to me.

  • KPres||

    Bartolomé de las Casas, O.P. (Seville, c. 1484[1] – Madrid, 18 July 1566), was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians".....

    ....Arriving as one of the first European settlers in the Americas, he participated in, and was eventually compelled to oppose, the atrocities committed against the Native Americans by the Spanish colonists. In 1515, he reformed his views, gave up his Indian slaves and encomienda, and advocated, before King Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, on behalf of rights for the natives. In his early writings, he advocated the use of African slaves instead of Natives in the West-Indian colonies; consequently, criticisms have been leveled at him as being partly responsible for the beginning of the Transatlantic slave trade.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B....._las_Casas

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Ooh, navel gazing. Goody.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    PBS is on the case.

    ALISON STEWART: There was a recession in the early 70s, huge stock market crash in 1987 and jobs were scarce. What makes this situation so different for young Americans, as opposed to those times of other economic hardship?

    VICTORIA STILWELL: Well, the great recession was unprecedented so it took trends that were already in place prior to them and exasperated. So, like you said, we’ve been seeing unemployment for people ages 16 to 24 high – it’s been high, it’s always been higher than the national average, but right now that spread has really widened out.

    So in the last recovery the spread between unemployment for young people and for everyone else was about 5-6 percentage points, now it’s widened out to about 7 percentage points. So we have an unemployment rate for young people that’s double the national average. That’s a problem.

    I think we all know what the solution to this problem is: more regulations, and a higher minimum wage.

  • CatoTheElder||

    More laws that create new crimes and more mandatory minimum sentences will do wonders for unemployment. The incarcerated population now cuts the unemployment rate by two whole percentage points. Obama ought to make failure to subscribe and keep current ObamaCare coverage a felony with a mandatory minimum five-year sentence.

  • Almanian!||

    I blushingly admit I had never - to my recollection - recognized or thought of this distinction before. Now I am. This is why I come to Reason.

    Well, and for the tips on orphan-replacement strategies for my mines...

    Good one, Richman!

    PS "Rich Man...the guy writing for Reason is a "rich man"...haha! That's...funny..."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    VICTORIA STILWELL: So if we have people that have put in all this money into getting an education, who’ve made a real investment in trying to secure better careers and their stuck with a waitressing job or a retail job there’s a lot of implications that come along with that. So they may have student loans that they may not be able to pay off as a result. That increases their probability of being delinquent or defaulting on those loans. They also lower their lifetime earnings potential.

    Center for American Progress did a study on what happens, what are the long-term implications of this and they found that for the one million Americans who are young and were unemployed because of the great recession, we’ve probably lost a collective $20 billion in earnings over the next 10 years.

    Your presumptions are flawed, lady.

    And what this "we've lost a collective $20 billion" nonsense? Are you weeping for all those lost taxes?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    NYT identifies problem.

    Only 11 percent of the jobs in the STEM fields require high-level math, according to Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. But the rest still require skills in critical thinking that most high school students aren’t getting in the long march to calculus.

    Finding ways to make math and science exciting for students who are in the middle of the pack could have a profound effect on their futures, providing them with the skills that will help them get technical jobs in the fields of food science, computer networking or medicine. It would entice many students who are insecure in their own abilities into advanced careers. But it is going to require a fundamentally different approach to teaching these subjects from childhood through high school. Here are a few of the many possible ideas to begin that change.

  • wareagle||

    But it is going to require a fundamentally different approach to teaching these subjects from childhood through high school.

    you mean like actually teaching them shit that is going to be useful in their lives, holding them accountable for their work product, and encouraging them to think instead of the assembly line system of student indoctrination and educrat protectionism? Yeah, that would be fundamentally different.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Reaches deep into the same old bag of tricks for a solution.

    Children of all backgrounds can build a good foundation in math with early exposure to numbers, which should be required in all preschool classes. But less than half of 4-year-olds are enrolled in full-day pre-K programs, and only 70 percent of kindergartners go all day. Although preschool enrollment has increased in recent years, it is still not a high priority in many states and cities, as shown by the cold reception to expansion proposals by President Obama and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio of New York.

    More federally funded preschool will fix everything!

  • SQRLSY One||

    “More federally funded preschool will fix everything!” I agree! Actually, look at sea turtles… They have survived for a hundred million years if not more… And all that they do, is drop their eggs in holes on sandy beaches, and then swim away. Nature / God takes care of their offspring. So why shouldn’t we do the same with ours eggs / babies, drop them off to the sandy beaches of Government Almighty, and swim away? What’s not to love about this set-up? You KNOW darn well, all those teachers & social services people & what-not, they all have PhDs in psychology and child care and expertologist of expertology and so forth, and most of us parents do NOT, so, let the experts do their thing!

  • MJGreen||

    Of course, those extra hours would be spent either 1) dealing with vague, poorly written math questions, or 2) singing songs and not thinking about math at all.

  • CGeary44||

    I haven't thought this all the way through, so I'm probably opening myself to a whole heap of scorn, but I don't agree with punishment, as such, is inappropriate and that an independent third party (government) has no place in doing justice between wrong-doer and wronged. First, if I take something that I have no right to from someone--if I steal it--my victim isn't made whole if I just pay it back, plus interest. My victim was violated by me. I have asserted (not just thought about, but thought and about and actually consciously acted on, which is why punishment isn't just a thought crime) my "right" to willfully violate another's autonomy and sanctity. In other words, I have staked the claim that my rights are greater than others' rights, that I have power over others, which not only harmed my victim, but also harms everyone else, who now has to live in fear of when I'm coming for them. Punishment (and its corollary deterrent), therefore, vindicates the principal that everyone's rights are equal.

    As for the governmental intervention part, I think that is necessary because otherwise it's just a cycle of revenge that forever grows and grows. People (particularly people who hate each other) are hardly likely to agree on who actually "started" the cycle in the first place. So each side will always feel that it has the right to revenge after the other side acted. Government intervention is intended to say "this ends here."

  • OldMexican||

    As for the governmental intervention part, I think that is necessary because otherwise it's just a cycle of revenge that forever grows and grows.


    The current criminal system, managed by a government, is built almost entirely on institutionalized revenge and not compensation. Your argument is flawed.

  • OldMexican||

    Would a free society be a crime-free society?


    No.

    Next question?

    -- Would there be such a thing as "victimless" crimes (crimes against the state or "society", e.g. crimes of thought or violations of arbitrary prohibitions)?

    No.

    Next question?

  • angus||

    Would an army be able to obtain tribute without fear of retribution if it was large enough?

  • Harvard||

    "Would a free society be a crime-free society?"

    I'd like to think there would be far fewer second offenders.

  • Car Scanner||

    "If you can get people to think about and argue about what the government is good for (or not), you're halfway to making the real world more libertarian."
    Good saying.

  • Ron||

    Back when no laws existed Cain killed his brother Abel. No matter how few or many laws you create people will always kill each other.

  • janiferavc088||

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  • SteveKman||

    This is the hardest part of the "world without gov" for anarcho-capitalism to explain. It's so foreign to most and, in order to have a system of restitution there has to be an entity to force people to pay and for those that pose a legitimate danger of violence to others not in self-defense there has to be an some entity instituting the force necessary to eliminate that danger. Isn't that government?

    That is all true where people have actually been wronged so there are victims and true violations of the rights of others. Minarchist-libertarians would say this is why a state is necessary. The anarcho-capitalists will then tell you if you let that entity exist, the nature of power is that it will always eventually trend toward greater and power and greater tyranny. They would also be right.

    Any philosopher must consider that there is no right answer in the sense it may simply be an inevitable cycle of the human condition; no matter what entities that society will allow to use limited force will always form and those entities will always grow in power until they are tyrannical and eventually they will become so tyrannical the masses revolt....repeat.

    The fact is the tyrannical institutions are here and all we can do is strive to eliminate their power. In that an-caps and min-libs must work together instead of fighting over what the ideal state is. Let's get as close to the ideal as we can and then argue where to go once we get to that bridge.

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