Mises’s Jeffery Tucker argues Bernie Madoff should be freed from prison.
It always makes me mad when I miss the obvious. Jeffery’s keen sense of morals and rational dispassionate logic never ceases to amaze me.
Think about this.
Madoff’s “victims” were willing dupes in an investment scheme they chose to participate in without thoroughly investigating. In a free market, if I can sell an ice cube to an Eskimo, should I be punished for this? Are snake oil salesmen criminals or simply shrewd businessmen? If people want to buy snake oil, is it not their right? Isn’t the ultimate responsibility on the purchaser of the snake oil to investigate the claims of the salesman for themselves? Doesn’t the market automatically punish fraud for us as soon as it is uncovered?
To my reasoning, in a voluntary market, the market can deliver the punishment more rapidly and effectively than government.
Madoff is not a violent criminal. Madoff never took money from someone that didn’t voluntarily give it to him. Madoff did not put a gun to anyones head and force them to invest with him (unlike our criminal government).
The investors that participated in Madoff’s “too good to be true” scheme should have known what they were getting into. If something is too good to be true, it probably is. – like “free” medical care or “free” education.
Tucker rightly points out that now, Madoff IS taking money from me at gunpoint.
By incarcerating this non-violent fraudster, the government is putting a gun to my head to pay for his imprisonment. The government is looting me to pay for this looter. Yet this looter never directly caused harm to me or to anyone one else that didn’t deserve it. The market rightly punished his investors for their stupidity, and it rightly punished Madoff by bankrupting him.
Punishment has already been delivered.
Madoff is now a pauper, totally discredited, and will be viewed with disdain by the markets forever more. Is it really necessary to incarcerate him at my expense?
Madoff’s actions involve a civil matter that should have been entirely dealt with in a civil court, not a criminal court. His crime was being good at relieving stupid people of their money, which isn’t a crime at all in my book.
Tucker comments that the public at large generally felt a sense of righteous indignation toward Madoff. “How dare this man relieve stupid people of their money!” Of course, being mad about his actions is justified; however, anger clouds judgement. Now the public really is being duped by Madoff – at gun point.
Our criminal government, which engages in the largest Ponzi scheme in world history you call Socialist Security, is now looting ME at the point of a gun to pay for Madoff’s medical care, housing, food, clothing, electricity, water, etc.. etc.. etc.. I feel this is something that should be reserved only for those who have caused harm to unwilling victims. To people who have violated the civil rights of others. Willingly giving your money to a snake oil salesman does not constitute a violation of ones civil rights.
I agree with Tucker.
Free Bernie Madoff.