law and criminality

most people live the unexamined life. most people have no basis for which the things they believe, but have merely a patchwork of ideas mostly handed down from others who have been mythologized as something more than simply human. this is often encountered in a very easily debunked manifestation when people equate obedience to statutory law with virtue.

i often hear people refer to those who have broken some arbitrary law as "criminals". but do they actually believe that breaking laws makes one a criminal? the distressing thing about this idea is the ease of discrediting it. if breaking laws makes one a true criminal, then why don't most people refer to "that criminal, oskar schindler"? he was, of course, a breaker of many laws. one may say, "but he broke unjust laws, so he's not really a criminal". but doesn't this statement show that it isn't breaking the law that makes one a criminal, but something else that truly defines criminality? anyone should be able to recognize this.

then the question becomes, "what does define criminality?". what makes laws "unjust"? ostensibly, the point of law is to protect rights. so, any law that violates rights should rightly be classified as "unjust". but that still doesn't go very far in determining what criminality is, because there is no concrete definition of "rights" at this point. rights can be defined as the entitlement to one's own person or property. using this definition, it becomes clear that virtually all statutory law is unjust, because it violates the entitlement of people to their person or property. you can always identify unjust laws by asking the question, "whose person or property has been violated by the breaking of this law?". if the answer is, "no one's", then the law is unjust.

inevitably, the question of risk arises when one realizes that laws against drunk driving, drug use and others are unjust. i'll address this in the next post.


Anonymous said…
quite interesting post. I would love to follow you on twitter.
zrated said…
i never got into twitter, but i'm on facebook.

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