I’ve been thinking about victimless crime a lot lately, mostly thanks to Free Talk Live. A victimless crime is breaking a law in which you cannot identify an individual that has suffered damage. Most commonly these are things such as traffic laws, but also includes things like public drunkenness, and prohibited drug use. This is a deep topic with extensive arguments for both sides. I will tell you right now I am beginning to lean toward the idea that there is no such thing as a victimless crime, that is to say, it is not a crime if there is no victim. Let me try to explain my logic.
No Victim. No Crime.
A prime and controversial example of a victimless crime is marijuana use. I do not smoke marijuana, or endorse it’s use, and I think using marijuana or any other mind altering substance is a very bad idea. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical of the government to say smoking a plant in your basement is illegal, but sitting in your basement and drinking a 5th of whiskey is just fine? Both are victimless, yet they are very different in the eyes of the law. I know a lot of people have a problem with the idea of decriminalizing marijuana, but prohibition has not stopped a generally peaceful group of people from smoking pot. Prohibition of alcohol gave us the mob, prohibition of drugs has given us drug cartels. Now, there will be instances where smoking marijuana and other drugs in your basement isn’t a victimless crime, same as drinking. If your drug (and I count alcohol in the drug category) use causes you to neglect your children, it is no longer a victimless crime. If your drug use causes you to physically hurt another person it is obviously not a victimless crime. If you steal from somebody to buy your drugs it is no longer a victimless crime. Even at that point you should not be charged with being intoxicated or for posession of a controlled substance, but you should be charged with child abuse, assault, and theft respectively. I think you can apply this logic to all victimless crimes. Even running a red light is victimless until you cause an accident. Do you think the majority of people stop at a red light because it’s the law or because it’s the smart thing to do? How many people are even caught in the act of these victimless crimes? How much safer would we be if the police weren’t sitting in the median stopping people from driving their vehicle too fast and were able to focus on catching violent criminals who have harmed people?
The Solution. Personal Responsibility.
Abolishment of the nanny state and personal responsibility is the only way we can get back to a truly free society. It’s my responsibility to make sure my actions do not harm another person, and it is my responsibility to pay a heavy consequence if my actions do harm another person. It is also my personal responsibility to teach my children why we don’t do things, such as drive through a red light. If parents teach their children the ‘why’ of the things we aren’t suppose to do we shouldn’t need the laws that are supposed to keep us safe from each other. If I teach my children why drugs are bad for them, the state shouldn’t have to intervene. Parents aren’t teaching their children like they used to, and the state obviously can’t do it.
There are really just two things I want people to think about in this area of victimless crime.
1) If I want to be free to do the things I want to do, other people have to be free to do the things they want to do too. If I oppress and take away other people’s freedoms because it doesn’t align with my personal beliefs (or even the majority of people’s personal beliefs), I can only expect they will do the same to me.
2) Most importantly, has making things illegal ever brought anybody into a relationship with Jesus Christ? If anything, Christians trying to make people live right through legislation has driven people away from Christianity. We have to remember following the law, being good, and being moral does not save you. Jesus never just told sinners to stop sinning. He forgave them, and changed their life and at that point they stopped sinning.