Lanterns: No Victim? No Crime!


No Victim? No Crime!

“No Victim, No Crime” is a concept that used to be known and practiced throughout our nation. It is a simple, yet highly moral way the law was constructed in our country. This idea supports the idea of limited government and liberty. As we move away from this ideal, we see the results— the growth of the police state. More people are being arrested for actions which have not infringed on the rights of others. The common sense idea of what constitutes a crime has been radically redefined and people’s inability to evaluate if they are law breakers with it. It is time we get back to basic principles and stop supporting tyranny.

The easy to understand the concept of “No Victim, No Crime” originates from the idea of personal ownership and rights. You own your body, your life, and your property. Only when someone infringes on those items, have your rights been violated, and we define that as a crime. Someone injuring you in some way is an offense against the body. Someone kidnapping you or restricting your activities is a crime against your life. Someone damaging or stealing your property is an attack on the fruits of your labor and an attack against your property. This should be the extent of crimes in America and used to be the standard.

Today, we have numerous “laws” on the books which take a preemptory stance on the commission of a crime. Think of texting and driving. Is it a good idea? Probably not. Is it infringing on another’s rights? No. Can it lead to someone losing control of their vehicle and hurting someone else or damaging their property? Yes. But it is only potential. Nothing has occurred yet. This line of “logic” would also make driving while angry a crime, eating while driving a crime, and putting on makeup while driving a crime among others. All of those activities can be distracting and cause accidents. The term used is “distracted driving” in most of the laws passed and will in the future encompass more activities than just texting and driving. Count on it.

This is the way oppression occurs. An idea to protect the people spirals out of control and reduces our freedoms while allowing government to grow and become more intrusive. It is the rule of (un)intended consequences.

These laws are touted as safety measures that may indeed be good ideas but should not be law. The idea we use the force of the state to encroach on someone’s life when they have not violated anyone else's rights is dangerous and morally reprehensible. It was Benjamin Franklin who stated, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." The situations concerning preemptory laws such as these are exactly to what he was referring.

Another field where this becomes apparent is in drug laws. People using drugs hurt no one else nor infringe on another’s rights. Is drug use good for humans? Sometimes. Should people take drugs for recreational purposes? Probably not.

Who owns your body? You do, and if someone can tell you not to take drugs that means that they have control over you, and you are no longer free. If two people make a voluntary transaction involving drugs, how has that infringed on anyone’s rights? It has not.

To be clear, if someone on drugs gets into a car accident, or they steal from you to feed their habit, then they have violated your rights and deserve punishment, exactly like the person who was not on drugs who committed the same acts should be punished. It is the actions that infringe on rights we need to identify and punish.

These laws fuel the police state we see today. According to the US Department of Justice statistics from 2015, possession of drugs represents 51.9% of the people locked up in federal jails. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, over 20% of the more than 2 million people locked up in jails across the nation are there for drug offenses. Why is this relevant? Many prisons today are privately run and make money on occupancy. Just like a hotel or motel, the more people they have in them, the more money they make. Lobbying efforts to make more laws to jail more people is a driving force and is counter to a free society. Add to that the unconstitutional asset forfeiture laws we have which allow police to profit from your arrest, and it becomes clearer why there is a conflict of interest.

James Madison said, “It will be of little avail that the laws are made by man of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” Allowing our lawmakers to create laws that have no basis in our common law makes it almost impossible for a person not to be a criminal. In a Wall Street Journal story, it reported on a book which stated the average American commits three felonies a day. In his book “3 Felonies a Day,” Harvey Silvergate says that this is true. He may be a little over the top in his analysis, but it does spotlight a truth of our society. Most people, if not the entirety of the population, have no idea what the extent of the law is. Our lives are not a movie and “Minority Report” should not be a motive for new laws.

Injustice has entered our legal system, and it must be stamped out. If no one’s rights were violated, then a crime was not committed. To think otherwise is allowing others to enforce their will upon you. The American public must wake up and fight for the principles of liberty and self-ownership. These are the foundation upon which our nation was built. To allow these principles to be violated allows the gross injustice more Americans are experiencing every day. “No Victim, No Crime” is the right way to live. It is equal in its enforcement, eliminates opinions from becoming law, and is indeed the most moral way to construct laws.

I write mostly about the Constitution and the founding principles of this country. I was told and agree with that some basic truths which support the ideas of our founding are missing from our lexicon and need to be talked about. If you are interested in the Constitution and the Ideals it espouses, Join me at Constitutional Cappuccino where I expose people to the truths we the people used to know and which made us the freest and most prosperous nation ever to grace the face of this Earth.

Written by Frank Caprio

2 Responses

Another excellent piece, Frank.

Thank you very much!

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