VICES ARE NOT CRIMES – A VINDICATION OF MORAL LIBERTY

Picture 29In recent years, Americans have been burdened with an historic expansion in government control. Further, the proliferation of fees, regulations, bans, czars, bureaucracies, mandates and programs are increasingly justified by the desire to control vice (in the government’s eyes), which violates citizens’ unalienable self-ownership, rather than to deter crime, to protect citizens’ self-ownership. Whether it involves controlled substances, mandatory helmets, how large a soda someone is allowed to buy, whether trans-fats will be banished or a host of other uninvited impositions, government has increasingly been transformed into a nanny-state bully.

This externally-enforced “self-control” justifies reconsidering Lysander Spooner. Spooner laid out why our natural right of self-ownership, combined with the right to enter into voluntary arrangements with other self-owners, made government coercion of peaceful people illegitimate. Further, that moral principle is not in any way vitiated because someone with political power considers others’ choices to be vices. Since we are now accelerating away from that ethical standard, we need to rediscover his vision, which he spelled out in his 1875 Vices Are Not Crimes; A Vindication of Moral Liberty. A spoonful of Spooner’s insight would help government abuses go down.

Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another…In vices, the very essence of crime–that is, the design to injure the person or property of another–is wanting.

Unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be…no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as the right of one man to the control of his own person and property…

[I]f these questions…are not to be left free and open for experiment by all, each person is deprived of the highest of all his rights as a human being, to wit: his right to inquire, investigate, reason, try experiments, judge, and ascertain for himself, what is, to him, virtue, and what is, to him, vice…If this great right is not to be left free and open to all, then each man’s whole right, as a reasoning human being, to “liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” is denied him.

[W]hat man, or what body of men, has the right to say, in regard to any particular action, or course of action, “We have tried this experiment, and determined every question involved in it…not only for ourselves, but for all others? And, as to all those who are weaker than we, we will coerce them to act in obedience to our conclusion?…there are none such. The men who really do say it…are therefore to be resisted instantly, and to the last extent…

[A] government, formed by voluntary association, would never have been thought of, if the object proposed had been the punishment of all vices…nobody…would voluntarily submit to it. But a government, formed by voluntary association, for the punishment of all crimes is a reasonable matter; because everybody wants protection for himself against all crimes by others…

It is a natural impossibility that a government should have a right to punish men for their vices; because it is impossible that a government should have any rights, except such as the individuals composing it had previously had, as individuals. They could not delegate to a government any rights which they did not themselves possess…

[N]obody but a fool or an impostor pretends that he, as an individual, has a right to punish other men for their vices. But…everybody has a natural right…to defend his own person and property against aggressors…And government has no rightful existence, except in so far as it embodies, and is limited by, this natural right of individuals…It is only those who claim that government has some rightful power, which no individual or individuals ever did, or could, delegate to it, that claim that government has any rightful power to punish vices.

[T]o punish men for their vices…is a sheer and utter absurdity for any government claiming to derive its power wholly from the grant of the governed… because it would be granting away their own right to seek their own happiness…

[E]verybody wishes to be protected, in his person and property, against the aggressions of other men. But nobody wishes to be protected…against himself… He only wishes to promote his own happiness, and to be his own judge as to what will promote, and does promote, his own happiness.

The object aimed at in the punishment of crimes is to secure, to each and every man alike, the fullest liberty he possibly can have–consistently with the equal rights of others–to pursue his own happiness, under the guidance of his own judgment, and by the use of his own property…the object aimed at in the punishment of vices is to deprive every man of his natural right and liberty to pursue his own happiness, under the guidance of his own judgment, and by the use of his own property.

[S]o long as [people] are sane, they must be permitted to control themselves and their property…each man’s life is his own…

Certainly no man, who is compos mentis, holds his right to the disposal and use of his own property by any such worthless tenure as that which would authorize any or all of his neighbors…to interfere, and forbid him to make any expenditures, except such as they might think would not tend to poverty, and would not tend to ever bring him to them as a supplicant for their charity.

[I]t is only the poverty, ignorance, and consequent weakness of the many that enable the combined and organized few to acquire and maintain such arbitrary power over them.

In an era when anything someone can characterize as a vice is considered sufficient warrant for eviscerating individual sovereignty, reawakening to Spooner’s vision is crucial. Murray Rothbard recognized it as “a great bulwark against the State’s eternal invasion of rights.” Coerced obedience cannot be derived from our natural rights or our Constitution. But coercing obedience is more than a vice of our government; it is a denial of our fitness for the Declaration of Independence’s central premise and a violation of its central purpose.

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5 thoughts on “VICES ARE NOT CRIMES – A VINDICATION OF MORAL LIBERTY

  1. Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    This amendment is used to protect the citizenry from any expansion of governmental power because of the limited nature of the Bill of Rights. Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution, the Ninth Amendment was added to supplement those already mentioned. The amendment protects many rights implied in a universal civil code, and those that are linked to other rights already declared. It protects these personal liberties from state and federal infringement.

  2. OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13163/reference-manual-on-scientific-evidence-third-edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”

    OSHA SAFE LEVELS

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  3. Judge doesnt accept statistical studies as proof of LC causation!

    It was McTear V Imperial Tobacco. Here is the URL for both my summary and the Judge’s ‘opinion’ (aka ‘decision’):

    http://boltonsmokersclub.wordpress.com/the-mctear-case-the-analysis/

    (2.14) Prof Sir Richard Doll, Mr Gareth Davies (CEO of ITL). Prof James Friend and
    Prof Gerad Hastings gave oral evidence at a meeting of the Health Committee in
    2000. This event was brought up during the present action as putative evidence that
    ITL had admitted that smoking caused various diseases. Although this section is quite
    long and detailed, I think that we can miss it out. Essentially, for various reasons, Doll
    said that ITL admitted it, but Davies said that ITL had only agreed that smoking might
    cause diseases, but ITL did not know. ITL did not contest the public health messages.
    (2.62) ITL then had the chance to tell the Judge about what it did when the suspicion
    arose of a connection between lung cancer and smoking. Researchers had attempted
    to cause lung cancer in animals from tobacco smoke, without success. It was right,
    therefore, for ITL to ‘withhold judgement’ as to whether or not tobacco smoke caused
    lung cancer.

    [9.10] In any event, the pursuer has failed to prove individual causation.
    Epidemiology cannot be used to establish causation in any individual case, and the
    use of statistics applicable to the general population to determine the likelihood of
    causation in an individual is fallacious. Given that there are possible causes of lung
    cancer other than cigarette smoking, and given that lung cancer can occur in a nonsmoker,
    it is not possible to determine in any individual case whether but for an
    individual’s cigarette smoking he probably would not have contracted lung cancer
    (paras.[6.172] to [6.185]).
    [9.11] In any event there was no lack of reasonable care on the part of ITL at any
    point at which Mr McTear consumed their products, and the pursuer’s negligence
    case fails. There is no breach of a duty of care on the part of a manufacturer, if a
    consumer of the manufacturer’s product is harmed by the product, but the consumer
    knew of the product’s potential for causing harm prior to consumption of it. The
    individual is well enough served if he is given such information as a normally
    intelligent person would include in his assessment of how he wishes to conduct his
    life, thus putting him in the position of making an informed choice (paras.[7.167] to
    [7.181]).

  4. JOINT STATEMENT ON THE RE-ASSESSMENT OF THE TOXICOLOGICAL TESTING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS”
    7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
    November 2004.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20090412022844/http://cot.food.gov.uk/pdfs/cotstatementtobacco0409?hc_location=ufi

    “5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

    In other words … our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can’t even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact … we don’t even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

    The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

  5. harleyrider 1978,

    ~man, I SO apologize for not replying sooner – crimany! A month. I blame it on Goddess who posts for me. My web connection is SO messed-up, I don’t want to get on line. Being on dial-up even prevents me from posting to my own blog 😦

    Anyway . . . Very interesting comments, thank you for sharing.

    This Vice article has always been a favorite of mine. The Ninth Article in the Bill of Rights I especially look to as of recent times, as a ‘safety net’ so to speak. Perhaps as to (re-define) common law and bring it into our ‘every day’ influence. I’d love to go with the Ninth, and take it as far as I’d have to. I have one case just filed. Another one that I’m the only one who is a part of – the City of Eureka v the People (this has to do with CalPers –MILLIONS being extorted to pay Corporate GoverNut employees pensions), and four more to file real soon.

    People don’t know when their rights are being violated –we’ve been programmed to (television cop and court shows, aware of others all around us bowing down and bending over –for too many decades) acquiesce to the Master/Slave profile – we can’t know something that we don’t know –has not been learned.

    Again, my apologies for not (at least) trying to get to comments.

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