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genepool
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Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Apr 9th, 2017 at 1:24am
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This question is hard to answer if you see laws as justice system or anything.

Imagine if someone is a dictator. Say dictators criminalize opposition. Why? There is no way to see this as justice or moral in anyway. The dictator is simply maximizing his interests.

However, selfish interests alone do not seem to explain criminalization of victim less crime.

Imagine if you have the power to choose 2 outcome that mainly affect others.

In outcome A, Bob got $1 million. In outcome B, Bob got nothing.

Which one will you choose?

If you're Bob, the choice is obvious. Pick. A. What about if you are enemies of Bob or not related to Bob?

You are far more likely to pick B.

Why?

    Envy. Relative happiness is what people seek. Not absolute happiness. So, if something helps others far more than you, you would reject. This alone explains all prohibition of porn and prostitution in all the world. Porn and prostitution simply benefit beautiful women far more from the ugly. That alone gives enough incentive for most ugly women to oppose prostitution.
    Capability to bargain. Why should I pick outcome A for free? Shouldn't I negotiate with Bob and ask for $500k first? Why should Microsoft allow people to copy their product for free? Shouldn't they ask for money first?

In general, when all else are the same, people tend to pick the worse for others.

Now let's consider things that are prohibited.

Drugs, prostitution, income.

All those have something in common. They have high economic value.

Under libertarianism, there is only one legitimate way to gain control of something economically valuable. Namely producing it or buying it. However, that's not the case in politic. People are simply able to control others. It's how democracy works.

In other words, the real reason why victimless crime is prohibited is not because it's so bad that many feel the need to protect those from harming themselves.

To the opposite. Most victimless crime is prohibited because it's too good. That under free market acts that are prohibited by victimless crime are acts that will dominate market mechanism replacing government acts.

I will give you an example. Say you hire illegal immigrants or smuggle foreign cars. Who is the victim? Not the illegal immigrant. Not you. We have no trouble pointing the victim. The victim is your fellow citizens that lost their jobs because you don't need them. You have better offers. And they criminalize that so you are more useful to them instead.

The same way, prostitution is far more efficient than marriage. Many sugar babies can get richer guys if women are free to write contracts. Is it good for those young women to pick richer guys? Well, if they can choose they choose.

Most drugs are saver and beneficial for the users. LSD helps people get nobel prizes. XTC can help cure depression. DMT can make people see the gods. Okay, may be not. But shouldn't be worse than delusional religions most people believe in. ISIS warriors fight better under meth. LSD also help programmers write better codes. It's good. It's too good. And that's why it's illegal.
  
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merkelstan
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #1 - Apr 10th, 2017 at 12:09pm
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If we hold a loose definition of 'victim' then many "crimes" (acts) are not victimless.

Spending my time on the Forum might not be the thing that I can do that creates most value: in that case responding to your post victimizes society and can be declared a crime.

Smoking might create victims among the other people in my insurance pool.

Repairing my own dishwasher victimizes the repairmen.

So we need to be very careful and specific about what we call a 'victim'.  Suffering some disadvantage is not sufficient.


  

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Jeff
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #2 - Apr 10th, 2017 at 4:47pm
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merkelstan wrote on Apr 10th, 2017 at 12:09pm:
If we hold a loose definition of 'victim' then many "crimes" (acts) are not victimless.



I'm convinced I am a "victim" of my skin color. I'm more or less "white", which makes me a de facto privileged oppressor of everyone else, so everyone else is supposed to automatically hate me for being a privileged oppressor... And many of them do, which makes me more paranoid than I already naturally am, so I buy guns and hunker down, thinking I might have to shoot people who come to kill me...

This obviously destroys my quality of life...

I'm obviously victimized by being white, and I want compensation! Cheesy
  
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The Opposition
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #3 - Apr 10th, 2017 at 10:58pm
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genepool wrote on Apr 9th, 2017 at 1:24am:
To the opposite. Most victimless crime is prohibited because it's too good.


There is a Law of Nature that whatever is too good - produces too much too easily - will be parasitised.

It ought to be an economic law as well. If someone can grow marijuana for the cost of one hundred calories of effort and sell it for enough money to buy one million calories of food, someone with power will either prohibit him from doing this (so he will be forced into working for someone else), or make him a slave.

When all that extra energy exists, someone is going to exploit it.

merkelstan wrote on Apr 10th, 2017 at 12:09pm:
If we hold a loose definition of 'victim' then many "crimes" (acts) are not victimless.

Spending my time on the Forum might not be the thing that I can do that creates most value: in that case responding to your post victimizes society and can be declared a crime.

Smoking might create victims among the other people in my insurance pool.

Repairing my own dishwasher victimizes the repairmen.

So we need to be very careful and specific about what we call a 'victim'.  Suffering some disadvantage is not sufficient.


I have my doubts about the smoking thing. If there exists a way for others not to be responsible for the smoker's medical bills, sure, suffering only. Not enough for a crime.

But when the smoker exploits force to allow others who would prefer not, to be responsible for his care, I think that's a bit of bad form.
  

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ahhell
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #4 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 11:41am
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Smuggling takes money out of the tax coffers, so the government has an interest in chasing down smugglers.  Many victimless crimes are just a way to raise revenue.  Speeding tickets, asset forfeiture, etc.

Lots of folks think drugs victimize the user.  Some folks just don't like others having a good time.  None of those folks will admit that enforcing prohibition laws victimizes far more people than the substances and acts that have been prohibited. 
  
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stevea
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #5 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 4:36pm
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>> You are far more likely to pick B.
No, I'm not.  Bob having an extra million to spend (assuming I'm not paying for it) is good for me.
  ...
>>In general, when all else are the same, people tend to pick the worse for others.
Certainly some ppl are envious in this way - but primarily socialists & progressives IMO.


>>Now let's consider things that are prohibited.
>>
>>Drugs, prostitution, income.
>>
>>All those have something in common. They have high economic value.

Your reasoning is backwards.   Prostitution & illegal drugs have high market value precisely b/c they are illegal and one must a pay a premium for black-market goods to compensate for the costs of doing business..   When they outlawed alcohol the price rose too.

Totally unclear why you include "income" here; it's clearly NOT prohibited.

>>Under libertarianism, there is only one legitimate way to gain control of something economically >>valuable. Namely producing it or buying it.
Homesteading & discovery aside.

>>In other words, the real reason why victimless crime is prohibited is not because itinl's so bad that many >>feel the need to protect those from harming themselves.

Right.  The traditional religious believe they are preventing (inferior sinners) from sin.  The Progressive Do-gooder believes they are preventing (inferior) people from harming themselves.  Claiming to know what is best for others is core problem for both.

>>To the opposite. Most victimless crime is prohibited because it's too good. [...]

Nonsense.  Prostitution, recreational drugs, gambling have been legalized in some jurisdictions and it has no such destabilizing effect.

>>I will give you an example. Say you hire illegal immigrants or smuggle foreign cars. ...
>>The victim is your fellow citizens that lost their jobs because you don't need them. You have better
>> offers.  And they criminalize that so you are more useful to them instead.

Importing cars is legal (tho' there maybe a tariff).   Importing people can creates all sorts of direct social burden on communities w/in the current social structure - so they rationally have some say in the matter.  This argument fails.

>>The same way, prostitution is far more efficient than marriage.
You can't measure efficiency of values like pleasure since it's entirely subjective.

>>Many sugar babies can get richer guys if women are free to write contracts.
True, but this isn't entirely unlawful.  Look at the trophy-wives of athletes for example.  Only the direct quid pro quo of sex acts for cash is disallowed and not in all jurisdictions. 

>>Most drugs are saver and beneficial for the users.
False, but irrelevant.  Ppl should be free to do stupid things, IMO.


No - these sorts of things are frowned upon and sometimes criminalized b/c of traditional social values and progressive do-gooderism, not b/c they are too-good for the individual.
  
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Jeff
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #6 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 4:59pm
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ahhell wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 11:41am:
Smuggling takes money out of the tax coffers, so the government has an interest in chasing down smugglers.  Many victimless crimes are just a way to raise revenue.  Speeding tickets, asset forfeiture, etc.

Lots of folks think drugs victimize the user.  Some folks just don't like others having a good time.  None of those folks will admit that enforcing prohibition laws victimizes far more people than the substances and acts that have been prohibited. 

Yes. Prosecuting victimless crimes steals incredible amounts of wealth from innocent people, and frequently ruins their lives too.

I think it's the idea of America described by the "general Welfare" clause... Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
  
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Jeff
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #7 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 5:01pm
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stevea wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 4:36pm:
No, I'm not.  Bob having an extra million to spend (assuming I'm not paying for it) is good for me.


You're Bob's main squeeze or what? Why is he spending his millions on you and not me? Cry
  
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stevea
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #8 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 9:02pm
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Jeff wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 5:01pm:
You're Bob's main squeeze or what?


Maybe for the right price ;^) You got a problem w/ that, Libertarian ?

Maybe Bob's a good customer of mine - and spends more.  Maybe Bob is a decent guy and drops a few extra nickels into the local parks or HS or charity. Maybe he can fund his retirement instead of living on the dole I pay for.  Maybe he hires my deadbeat cousin.

Main point - it doesn't hurt me, so unless Bob is some anti-social psychopath, why shouldn't I wish him well ?

--

Corollary - I'm genuinely glad that places like China and India have pulled so many out of dire poverty (into more tolerable poverty).  I hope/wish that economic miracle could be replicated in Africa.  It doesn't bother me at all that Sweden's per capita GDP is a notch above the U S average (similar to Minnesota, somewhere between Nebraska & Washington.  How does their success harm me ?  Instead it creates new opportunities for everyone to succeed.
  
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The Opposition
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Re: Why are they laws against victimless crime?
Reply #9 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 9:23pm
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stevea wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 4:36pm:
No, I'm not.  Bob having an extra million to spend (assuming I'm not paying for it) is good for me.


It does also devalue your money, though.

To me it depends heavily upon where it's coming from and how he got it, even if it didn't come out of someone else's pocket.

I want Bob to get it "legitimately" here meaning he contributed something for it. Even if he won the lottery, his windfall represents the contributions of many.

I want him to have a million horses. Horses are useful. Horses get devalued? Good for everyone. Same with pieces of cheese, sets of tweezers, bottles of hair dye, buckets of soda, or apples.

But money is where Gene's relative value really comes in, if you catch my drift here.
  

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