Perry E. Metzger (perry@piermont.com)
Sat, 21 Jun 1997 12:56:50 -0400 (EDT)

I don't believe in jail or execution. Why? Because I don't believe in
the notion of State enforced criminal law -- being an anarchist who
doesn't believe in the benefits of the State, this should be an
obvious stance.

What *do* I believe in? Torts. I don't see why there should be any
real distinction between what happens if you break a contract, break
a piece of my personal property, or break my leg -- I should sue you
for damages, and get restitution. This is essentially a return to the
early legal systems much of Europe had, before kings discovered that
declaring certain offenses to be violations of the *KING'S* peace and
not torts was a way to earn a buck by collecting the fines for the
crown instead of for the victim.

In the context of a tort based legal system, "jail" and "execution"
become meaningless concepts. The issue is restitution, pure and
simple. This might, of course, effectively result in most murderers
being effectively enslaved for decades or even their entire lives
making restitution to their victims, but I see nothing inherently
wrong with that. If you cause damage, you have an obligation to make
good on it. Damage is a matter between victim and tort feasor.

For others who influenced my viewpoint, see Friedman's "The Machinery
of Freedom" and Benson's "The Enterprise of Law".