There seems to be a misconception by the general public that laws are actually capable of solving problems.
Let us clear this up right now – laws are, by definition, incapable of actually solving any problem.
No law ever created in the history of mankind has solved the underlying problem it was created to address.
Murder laws do not solve the problem of murder.
Rape laws do not solve the problem of rape.
Robbery laws do not solve the problem of theft.
Fraud laws do not solve the problem of fraud.
Financial regulations do not solve the problems of cronyism, moral hazard, counterfeiting, or wealth disproportionately being moved into the hands of politically connected industrialists/financiers.
By and large, most laws don’t even reduce the problems they were created to address; they generally make the problems in society larger than they would have been otherwise; they transfer problems from one area of society to another.
Let us take the most extreme example of murder laws and look at their effects. When a person is murdered, our current laws prevent the victim’s family from extracting revenge on their own. Vigilantism is prohibited by law. The State says IT ALONE shall be the dispenser of “justice.” – But what justice is given to the surviving family members?
Are the victim’s family members given compensation for their loss? No, they are not.
Are the victim’s family members made to pay for the “punishment” of the murderer by having a gun stuck in their face by an IRS agent? Yes, indeed they are.
Are the victim’s family members allowed to chose a form of punishment that most appropriately compensates them for their loss? No, they are not.
Are the victim’s family members allowed to keep the profits of the murderer that the State generates from his labor in the prison workhouse? No, they are not.
Are the victim’s family members forced to pay for the murderers attorney fees if the murderer uses a public defender? Yes, indeed they are.
Do police have any financial incentive actually solve the murder in the first place? No, they do not. In fact, on average about 35-40% of murders go unsolved every year. Of course, it is the victim’s families who pay these police detectives salaries. A rich family is more certain to at least figure out who did it because they can hire private investigators to solve their murder instead of relying on the State’s incompetence for justice.
In addition to looking at all of these visible effects, we must also consider the unseen effects that occur because of the way our system of justice is structured. Money is violently looted from the victims of crime in order for the State to administer “justice” on their behalf.
As more crime is committed against innocent victims by murders, thieves, and looters – the State is necessarily forced to increase the amount of thieving and looting it engages in so that it may apprehend and punish offenders on behalf of their victims. In our system of “justice,” violence against the innocent necessarily begets more violence against the innocent.
We see a classic transference of problems and very little justice. Consider that as the State violently loots from the working people, the marginal benefits of engaging in productive peaceful behavior diminish. If the State violently expropriates 40% of the common man’s wealth through taxation, it will induce more people to seek monetary gain through illegal means. The illegal means may take the form of robbery, dealing in black market goods, or simply lying about their income.
Today, the most common alternative illegal source of tax free income is for people to engage in the sale of illicit drugs. Either as a supplementary or primary means of income. Since the sale of these illicit drugs is violently prohibited by the State, the market participants create their own justice system to protect their goods.
Most homicides in America are related in someway to the violent prohibition of drugs. Gangs, drug cartels, and other violent black market organizations are a direct outgrowth of the violent prohibition on the sale of narcotics. The gangs and cartels ARE A SYSTEM OF PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION created and maintained by the black market. As perverse as it sounds, gangs and cartels are necessarily no different than police departments and criminal court systems in terms of the functions they serve.
Individual actors collude in gangs in order to acquire the protection of their person and property that the civil society refuses to accord them. Drug related murders are not generally an outcome of people robbing to fund a drug habit; they are almost always the actions of a gang enforcing its brand of property rights within the black market. Gangs generally murder people over property or personal disputes, not because their members are trying to fund drug habits.
So here we see the cycle of violence laid bare. The State creates violence by violently prohibiting voluntary transactions. As the violence created by the State intensifies, the State violently loots ever more in order to prevent and punish the violent offenders it created in the first place. As the State increases its looting of the innocent, the innocent turn more and more to the black market and other illegal behavior to fund their lifestyles.
In all of this, not one single social problem is ultimately solved. Poverty is not eradicated, drug use is not wiped out, murder is not prevented, and real justice is NEVER administered.
Because laws are completely incapable of solving the underlying problem they were created to address, just laws necessarily can ONLY PUNISH, NEVER PREVENT, CRIME. For example, if in order to prevent murder, the State were to lock everyone in rubber rooms, the act of locking people in rubber rooms without warrant is itself a crime. Any law that attempts to prevent crime necessarily destroys liberty, and is therefore itself a crime. Thus, we must have an extremely clear definition of what constitutes “a crime.”
Nature makes the definition of a crime quite simple. We all learn it in kindergarten. It is wrong to cause harm to another person or damage/steal their property. That is the extent of what nature says constitutes “a crime.” All laws must necessarily reflect this if real justice and peace is to ever be achieved in society.
Because this axiom is necessarily true, all crimes MUST have a clearly defined victim that can stand before society and articulate the exact nature of damages they incurred. If no one was harmed and no property was damaged or stolen, then we can necessarily say that no crime was committed and no one is in need of any punishment.
It is literally impossible to have a peaceful and just society if the instruments of peace and justice within that society are themselves predicated on the violent expropriation of wealth from the innocent.
The question we must ask ourselves is this – is there a way to ensure people and property are protected that does not rely on destroying property rights in the process of offering this protection?
Is there a voluntary way to ensure justice is administered, in a just fashion, that does not rely the victim being victimized twice?
I believe such a way does exist, but the form it may take is something ONLY VOLUNTARY MARKETS may determine. It is as impossible to determine all of the potential forms this proposed system of justice may take as it is impossible to tell what technology humanity may have invented through the free markets in the year 2100.
While it is not possible know, without the use of markets to weed out the bad systems from the good, what the absolute best system of justice may be; we do know that the current system is a monopoly that is predicated on violence itself.
Philosopher and economist Hans Hoppe has put forth one proposal on what a market based system of justice might look like: