RE: law enforcement for profit

From: Billy Brown (
Date: Sat May 06 2000 - 11:56:14 MDT

Zero Powers wrote:
> Its not that I don't believe there are such things as victimless crimes
> (sodomy between consenting adults comes to mind), but when you think about
> the ultimate effect of many so-called victimless crimes, you begin to see
> that society itself is the victim many times.
> In the more likely scenario where some form of public insurance is needed
> supplement your medical care, the victims of your "victimless" crime are
> you, (2) those who care about you, and (3) taxpayers like me who are
> for your expensive medical care.

Zero, you've just hit upon one of the main reasons why thoughtful
libertarians are often so adamant about insisting that there be no public
welfare system whatsoever, no matter what.

Once you make the costs of individual decisions public, instead of insisting
that they be borne by said individual decision-makers, the kind of thinking
you outlined above starts to seem reasonable. But look where it leads:

The next logical step is to decide that since the public bears the costs of
these private decisions, it is entitled to dictate which choice is made. The
anti-smoking crowd is pushing this idea with considerable success at the
moment, but the same logic would apply to any risky behavior - smoking,
heavy drinking, doing drugs, scuba diving, skiing, recreational aviation,
you name it.

So, we end up having endless public debates about whether skiing is more
dangerous that scuba diving, whether snowboarding should be banned, and what
regulatory approval should be required for owners of paint ball guns. But
wait, what about purely financial risk?

After all, if I loose all my money in pork belly futures, the public will
have to support me in my old age. So, by the same logic, we need to regulate
every aspect of investment. We need to make sure that companies don't do
anything too risky in the marketplace, so that their employees don't end up
on welfare. We rules to make sure college graduates can get jobs, and that
families don't have more children than they can feed.

Ultimately, there is no end to the number of things that need watching. The
regulatory system will spread gradually, but inexorably, into every aspect
of life, until in the end an individual's every action is governed in minute
detail by laws backed by the threat of force. Not only has freedom been
lost, but the generations who grow up under such a rule won't understand how
such a thing as freedom could even be possible.

Billy Brown

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