“Do not encroach against others or their property.”
The above principle is a simple one, yet it’s the basis for all criminal law. In turn, criminal law is the basis for Common Law, the legal system for English-speaking peoples and much of the rest of the world.
The idea is a simple one: If party A aggresses against party B, party B is entitled under the law to restitution or compensation, to be paid by party A to party B.
Well, that seems straightforward enough. But at some point along the way, two fundamental changes have been made that don’t reflect the original principle.
First, convicted offenders started to be ordered by the court to pay the court as punishment. Of course, the offense was not against the court, but the government of the day wanted to get in on the action. Surely, if a crime against a given party had been committed, the state was entitled to dip its beak, so to speak.
Over time, fines payable to the state became the norm. And for those who couldn’t pay the state, jail time.
Along the way, another extension to the concept came into use: victimless crimes. Increasingly, laws were passed by governments to make actions unlawful when there was no harm to an individual or his property whatever.
To wit: Recently, the State of Michigan passed law HB4474, against “hate crime” – any perceived slight against another person, verbal or otherwise. The law recognizes such disparate slurs as those critical of gender identity, religion, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or even affiliation with a group. Incredibly, the law extends as far as the outlawing of unacceptable pronouns.
The punishment is imprisonment of up to two years, a fine of $5,000, or both.
Clearly, this is a victimless crime, since no physical damage has taken place. And, to exacerbate the lack of logic, the fine is to be paid to the state, not the “injured party.”
Of course, any sensible person would be shaking his head in wonder at such a development. When added to so many other changes in law that appear to be both ludicrous and often contrary to morality, he might understandably comment, “They’ve gone mad.”
But when governments that are already habitually overreaching appear to be going mad, it’s a good idea to step back and calmly examine whether there might not be a method in the madness.
On the surface, quite a few governments – most notably First World governments – have been passing a plethora of laws for which there is no victim, but for which the government is the recipient of damages.
As if coincidentally, these same governments have been going in precisely the opposite direction with regard to crimes in which there most definitely is a victim.
Let’s have a look at a few of those.
· Looting of stores and other places of business
Under the claim that the prisons are too full, governments have been determining that theft or looting that amounts to less than a given dollar amount is not prosecutable, essentially legalizing the crime of looting.
· Destruction of property, due to rioting
Rioters are habitually arrested, only to be released without being charged. Owners of the property that the rioters have burned or otherwise destroyed are no longer entitled to restitution or compensation, as they once would have been.
· Decriminalisation of people taking up residence on public property
Tents may be pitched on sidewalks and in front of stores, discouraging residents from frequenting stores, destroying businesses.
Concurrently, the homeless are assisted by the State in drug dependency.
· Loss of bodily rights
Laws that call for forced vaccinations are blanket laws that allow a government the authority to control whatever goes into the body, whether medical or nutritional.
· Systematic elimination of parental rights
Parental rights are being removed from parents to allow school authorities and medical professionals to dictate what they wish to physically do to children, free from prosecution.
In addition, pedophilia is in the process of becoming decriminalised.
· Civil Asset Forfeiture
Police and other authorities have, since 2008, been legally allowed to stop people on foot or in a vehicle, or to conduct warrantless raids on homes. If evidence is found that suggests the possibility of a crime, the authorities may seize any and all assets that they find, regardless of whether or not the assets may be connected to the possible crime.
The authorities are not obligated to ever bring charges against the individual, making it impossible for him to be granted a hearing. This allows the authorities to permanently hold the assets taken, or to dispose of them, the proceeds to be absorbed by the authority in question.
The above are only a sampling. The reader will have others to add to the list.
So, if we assume that the changes that are taking place are not madness, nor a collection of random but illogical changes in how Law is applied, what we begin to see here is, indeed, a method, in what appears on the surface to be madness.
What we’re seeing is that the original concept of law – that of protecting the individual from encroachment against himself or his property - is being eliminated.
On the other hand, laws that are victimless and laws that provide punishment by the state and call for penalties to be awarded to the state, are very much on the rise.
What we have here is a growing trend, if we follow it to its logical conclusion, that will result in laws that benefit the state being the only laws.
Let’s put that another way: The individual has no rights. Only the state has rights. In the future, the only crimes will be crimes against the state.
Let that last sentence sink in for a bit.
Historically, freedom is lost when a nation becomes complacent enough to give it up willingly. Much of the First World is precisely at that tipping point now. The question is whether those peoples who once enjoyed liberty will now push their heads in the sand and pretend that the most basic freedoms are not now being lost.
“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.” – Socrates