The Futility of Violence

You shortsighted libertarians agree with me that initiating violence is wrong, but you still believe it's a good thing to forcibly punish true "bad guys." Well what about this story? Oh wait, don't tell me: This just proves the sentence wasn't harsh enough. If we executed bank robbers, you wouldn't see this type of thing.


  1. Exactly, Bob, exactly!

  2. What? I see a guy who just decided to make himself eligible for welfare.

  3. I guess Bob is trying to argue that a substantial motive for crimes is to be incarcerated?

  4. Aren't there cases where suicidal people engaged the police in order to die? Maybe their punishment shouldn't be death in a nice hail of bullets but being strapped to a comfy hospital bed and force fed?

    We need the punishment not to fit the crime, but the causes of the crime! Or maybe we should waste our time on prevention instead of punishment.

  5. I was discussing something along these lines with Jeremy recently. If he shoots me, it's okay for me to shoot him--in self defense. One is bad and one is good. Doesn't that mean that what we are actually punishing is the "thought crime"? If we were actually punishing the action, we'd punish both people. But we let the second person get away with their crime because the reason for it was different.

  6. Thought crime? Interesting way of putting it. No, you're punishing the intent of the action. In Kantian language, you're punishing them for violating a Categorical Imperative. From a utilitarian perspective, I guess shooting the other guy back does make things worse, unless you're a rule of utilitarian and say the greatest good for the greatest number is that people who shoot people be shot themselves. Which would make sense to me.

  7. "Thought crime? Interesting way of putting it. No, you're punishing the intent of the action."

    Does "intent" exist anywhere outside the mind? Obviously, we aren't punishing pure thoughts--only the thoughts behind certain actions.

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