Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Have philosophical discussions about politics, law, and government.
Featured Article: Definition of Freedom - What Freedom Means to Me

Which best describes your view?

I support criminalization of unhealthy or self-harmful activities--such as but not limited to cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and gambling--even when they are consensual.
3
19%
I support the legalization of all victimless/consensual activities by adults including marijuana use, gambling, alcohol consumption, prostitution, etc.
13
81%
 
Total votes : 16

Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » May 16th, 2011, 8:57 pm

Many if not most of the most popular discussions in the politics section of this forum are devoted to whether or not one supports or opposes the criminalization or legalization of victimless activities, which when illegal are commonly called victimless crimes or consensual crimes. Basically, these are activities in which all of the participants are adults legitimately consenting to the activity.

From my experience, the common rationals for advocating the criminalization of consensual activities are (1) that the activity is self-harmful to some or all of the participants, i.e. dangerous or unhealthy, (2) that legalization is tantamount to a state declaration of approval (which I think was effectively refuted in Pjkeeley's thread Legality and approval, (3) that the activity is "immoral" and "immoral" activities "should" be illegal, whatever that means, or (4) that the activity if legal is a gateway or social catalyst towards other more dangerous or harmful activities.

In contrast, I and other advocates of the legalization of the victimless/consensual activity tend to make parallel arguments for the legalization for each specific activity in its corresponding debate. In my opinions, the main arguments for legalizing these activities are as follows:

(A) Criminalization of the allegedly self-harmful/unhealthy activity exacerbates the problems caused by it rather than stopping the activity from occurring by pushing the activity underground, eliminating the possibility of regulation, and causing violent career criminals to be the ringleaders, dealers, pushers and profiteers of the activity rather than legitimate, relatively non-violent businesses. The most common example given is the effects of the historical prohibition of alcohol in the United States.

(B) Criminalization is expensive. And the money could be put towards other allegedly more desirable causes. An example of this argument can be seen in my thread Fund Poverty Alleviation and Tax-Cuts by Legalizing Drugs.

(C) The criminalization of a victimless/consensual crime diverts law enforcement resources away from violent, non-consensual crimes such as rape, murder, robbery and vandalism. Some common specific aspects of this argument are prison overcrowding.

(D) Legalization of an activity means the activity can be taxed.

(E) Legalization can actually enable us to prevent the activity from occurring more effectively. In addition to taxation acting as a deterrent, some of the reasons an activity can be prevented more when it is legal are as follows: When an activity is illegal, addicts and users in need of help will be harder to reach and more hesitant to seek out or accept help because of fear of legal repercussions. Rehab facilities and other campaigns to stop the activity may not be possible or may not function fully because the activity is illegal and not reporting illegal activity generally makes one an accomplice. For example, if my neighbor tells me he has a gambling addiction and wants my advice because he plays poker every night and gambling is illegal then technically I may be committing a crime if I do not call the police on my neighbor--meaning either he wouldn't really have told me or if he did I would be unable to legally help in the way I would if it was legal.

(F) There are also moral arguments made, but not by me, that essentially say it is "immoral" to limit someone's freedom or in other words that people have a natural "right" to do the activity without government interference.

For examples of the activities and the debates that correspond to them, consider all these threads each about a victimless/consensual activity that is or has been illegal in many places: prostitution, homosexual civil unions, marijuana, alcohol, all drugs, paying employees poorly or choosing to work for low pay, and gambling.

I didn't create this thread to debate any of those specifically, particularly since there is already an individual thread for each one of those. Rather I created this thread to discuss all of them and the overall category of activities of which they are a part. Considering that the arguments in each one seem parallel to one another, it seems that each debate about each particular activity is simply an example or an instance of an underlying overall disagreement about whether or not you think legalization of such activities in general is preferable or not to criminalization. Putting any specific activity aside, I want to know if in general do you support criminalizing unhealthy/dangerous but victimless/consensual activities? Or do you agree with the arguments for legalization above, which allegedly apply to each instance of an unhealthy/dangerous but victimless/consensual activity? Remember cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana, gambling etc. are each only an example of such an activity, so I am not asking how you feel about any one of those specifically. The arguments that I have listed for legalizing or criminalizing them are the same and apply to the whole set, and I want to know which set of arguments you agree with.

Note: I wrote "macro-criminalization" because I am talking about criminalization at the state or national level. I think it is a whole other issue when a small town or condo community or household bans something on its own premises as that is more of an issue of basic property rights rather than the nature of the thing being banned.
Online Philosophy Club - Please tell me how to improve this website!

Check it out: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often thought?
User avatar
Scott
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4206 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: January 20th, 2007, 6:24 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic

Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes



Become a member for less ads

Already a member? Login
 

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#2  Postby Wooden shoe » December 18th, 2011, 6:23 pm

Hello Scott.

Legalize it and in effect it becomes easier to control it.
The war on drugs has not worked because the people do not agree with it, and drug use has increased because of that.
You would think that something was learned with prohibition, but sadly nothing was.
I have never seen the need for myself to get involved in any of these activities, so either way has little affect on me.

Regards, John.
We experience today through the lens of all our yesterdays
Wooden shoe
 
Posts: 1549 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: March 6th, 2011, 12:25 am
Location: Dryden ON Canada

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#3  Postby Xris » December 18th, 2011, 6:38 pm

I do not like entering the argument with examples of how criminalizing a particular activity can cause more damage and have catastrophic consequences but the drug enforcement is a prime example. We do not have to agree with all these activities or assist in their advance. I can not condemn nor give them my blessing, they simple need my understanding.
Xris
 
Posts: 5981 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: December 27th, 2010, 11:37 am
Location: Cornwall UK

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#4  Postby A Poster He or I » December 24th, 2011, 2:13 pm

There is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that criminalizing vices creates organized corruption on massive scales and, most importantly, does not stem the vice. So let's legalize drugs, trying a regulated approach first to see if that works. It will likely be socially chaotic at first, but in the long run should reduce criminal activity. Prostitution is a little trickier, as it creates pimping to go along with it. I feel pimping should not be legalized, but how to keep it at bay while legalizing prostitution per se, I have no ideas.
A Poster He or I
 
Posts: 1102 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: March 18th, 2011, 4:57 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Anaximander

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#5  Postby Jellymeat » December 24th, 2011, 3:30 pm

If it is something that people are going to do consentually, making it illegal will not stop them. Instead, it only removes the surface supply from the market and drives up demand for those willing to buy through other means for a higher price. This is where crime actually starts to pay. What also pays is the fighting of said crime as seen with the prison industrial complex in the United States which is a predatorial vampire-structure on the nations taxpayers.
Jellymeat
 
Posts: 63 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: June 15th, 2011, 6:18 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#6  Postby Invictus_88 » December 24th, 2011, 4:30 pm

Well then, that's a fairly unequivocal poll result so far!
Invictus_88
 
Posts: 597 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: September 5th, 2007, 4:25 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#7  Postby Jellymeat » December 25th, 2011, 3:53 am

Well then, that's a fairly unequivocal poll result so far!


And so, if legislating against acts that are otherwise made with mutual consent is wrong, could it be said that the only legitimate and moral type of legislation is that which protects people from the imposition of non-consentual situations?
Jellymeat
 
Posts: 63 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: June 15th, 2011, 6:18 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#8  Postby Invictus_88 » December 25th, 2011, 7:49 am

Is taxation consensual?
Invictus_88
 
Posts: 597 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: September 5th, 2007, 4:25 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#9  Postby Jellymeat » December 25th, 2011, 8:43 am

Is taxation consensual?


If you face charges or prison time for not paying taxes, which is the case, then it is not.
Jellymeat
 
Posts: 63 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: June 15th, 2011, 6:18 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#10  Postby Invictus_88 » December 25th, 2011, 10:38 am

So if government loses the right to impose taxes, how can it afford to secure, ensure, and protect the liberties of the people?
Invictus_88
 
Posts: 597 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: September 5th, 2007, 4:25 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#11  Postby Existence » December 25th, 2011, 11:27 am

Scott wrote:
Putting any specific activity aside, I want to know if in general do you support criminalizing unhealthy/dangerous but victimless/consensual activities? Or do you agree with the arguments for legalization above, which allegedly apply to each instance of an unhealthy/dangerous but victimless/consensual activity?

I would need more information to adequately address this question. Are you asking that victimless/consensual activities be legalized without restraint? An example of restraint would be age. There are more than enough young adults who would like to be able to use drugs without being arrested for committing a crime. At what point is one able to determine when an activity of consensual participants is victimless? Should I assume the legal definition of age of consent when addressing this question? And if so, does this legal definition of consent negate the question?
Existence
 
Posts: 155 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: January 27th, 2011, 1:01 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#12  Postby Jellymeat » December 25th, 2011, 4:11 pm

So if government loses the right to impose taxes, how can it afford to secure, ensure, and protect the liberties of the people?


Any such organization better ensure that it does a stellar job at such things or people simply won't pay for it. If it does, I for one would be happy to send them a cheque.
Jellymeat
 
Posts: 63 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: June 15th, 2011, 6:18 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#13  Postby PaulNZ » December 25th, 2011, 4:26 pm

Some of these examples, in particular the drug taking proposition, have roll on effects beyond those effects on the individual drug taker. The legalizing of drug taking would demand of the state regulation, quality control, accountability, a taxation framework, education, increased costs to health to name but a few, all of which will cost lots of money. If this cost is simply passed on to the consumer by way of tax, would this not drive up the price beyond the commodity's worth and simply fuel a black market in drugs? Legalising drugs therefore (as an example) might not change anything? Another point is that the type of people involved in the manufacture and sale of drugs are hardly likely to take up cross stitch, or buy a cafe somewhere in the event of illegal drugs suddenly being made legal. They would simply move onto a new synthetic drug, not available through official outlets, and continue doing what they do best, gnawing at the edge of the fabric of our society.

?
User avatar
PaulNZ
 
Posts: 597 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: January 27th, 2011, 3:56 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Marcus Aurelius

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#14  Postby Jellymeat » December 25th, 2011, 6:08 pm

The legalizing of drug taking


I'm not sure if it's my own personal bias, but talking about "legalizing" an issue as a kind of affirmative action seems strange, I think it helps to look at it in terms of something like "un-illegalizing". If someone is taking drugs, locking them in a cage is the authoritative action. NOT locking them in a cage is a neutral position. It would be like if there was a law that required you to jump up and down and clap your hands every time someone said your name. Removing that law is not putting another kind of law: having a normal response to your name, in it's place.

would demand of the state regulation, quality control, accountability, a taxation framework,


I don't think the state needs to be demanded of this. I'm sure it will demand it though.

education,


Shouldn't this be an imperative whether it is illegal or not? "Don't do x because y", is better than "Don't do x because I said so".

increased costs to health


Why?

Another point is that the type of people involved in the manufacture and sale of drugs are hardly likely to take up cross stitch, or buy a cafe somewhere in the event of illegal drugs suddenly being made legal. They would simply move onto a new synthetic drug, not available through official outlets, and continue doing what they do best, gnawing at the edge of the fabric of our society.


If it's legal, and not available through official outlets (whatever you mean by that), it is because there is no demand for it.
Jellymeat
 
Posts: 63 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: June 15th, 2011, 6:18 am

Re: Macro-Criminalization of Consensual Crimes

Post Number:#15  Postby PaulNZ » December 25th, 2011, 6:19 pm

Illegal recreational drugs come with health problems for prople who are not used to taking the drug, or are long term users of a particular drug. Health problems are a demonstable facet of most (all really) drug use/abuse and as such has a direct cost to the state. Freely available recreational drugs with associated health issues from use such as cannabis, herion, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, BZP, GHB, morphine, morphine sulphate etc etc etc will place strain on the the health system and the cost of health care will rise as a consequence.

Look at how alcohol is tolerated yet it causes health and social issues, billions of dollars every year, tobacco as well for that matter. If we open pandora's box up completely, where do you see that taking us?

Reality often differs from the ideal and I think this is one of those occasions.
User avatar
PaulNZ
 
Posts: 597 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: January 27th, 2011, 3:56 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Marcus Aurelius

Next

Return to Philosophy of Politics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Philosophy Trophies

Most Active Members
by posts made in lasts 30 days

Avatar Member Name Recent Posts
Greta 162
Fooloso4 116
Renee 107
Ormond 97
Felix 90

Last updated January 6, 2017, 6:28 pm EST

Most Active Book of the Month Participants
by book of the month posts

Avatar Member Name BOTM Posts
Scott 147
Spectrum 23
Belinda 23
whitetrshsoldier 20
Josefina1110 19
Last updated January 6, 2017, 6:28 pm EST