Criminalizing Non-Violent Behaviour?

Over at Rad Geek People's Daily, Rad Geek Writes:

'Of course, the main thing to say here is really that “maintaining our [sic] culture” is not a good enough reason for criminalizing nonviolent people. If your culture can only be maintained at the point of a gun, then your culture sucks, and the sooner you stop “maintaining” it on the backs of harmless pot-smokers, the better.'

Now, I agree with Rad Geek, that Grabar is a bit whacked on pot (the topic, not the drug), but the above argument isn’t going to wash, because:

1) To maintain property rights involves “criminalizing non-violent people”, otherwise I’m able to very peacefully and non-violently wander into your house and get a nice sandwich and beer from your fridge. That’s not violent. What’s violent is when you try to throw me out. Now, that may be an OK use of violence against a non-violent person, but don’t pretend it isn’t criminalizing non-violent behavior!

2) If pot smoking would destroy our culture, then that would be a damned good reason to criminalize it. Humans aren’t humans without a culture, and those living in one have a right to defend it (but not, of course, an unlimited right to do so), since it is central to their lives and identities.


  1. My reply is over at the RGPD. I'd cross-post it here, but unfortunately it runs up against the character limit for your comments section.a

  2. Gene, WTF? I'm reading some weird articles from you, at the same time I've started to re-read your Economics for Real People. Were you replaced by aliens or something?

    I have been sorely disappointed when Vin Suprynowicz called for nuking Irak in the aftermath of 9/11. That was the first libertarian-turned-war-hawk I have known (and cared about - I really liked his writings before). Please don't join that rank.

  3. Yes, anyone who thinks that people should preserve their cultures is a "war hawk."

    People learn and grow, Marcel.

  4. Please grant me a tiny bit of respect and don't use cliches. I like the concrete stuff. Are you saying that you consider yourself to have grown, now that you switched from libertarian to republican? (Maybe I'm reading stuff incorrectly, but this is how it looks to me.)

    Dammit... I wrote and deleted stuff here several times. You don't know me from Jack, I'm just someone who loved your book and thought you were a libertarian. I guess I was wrong.

  5. Will you grant me a tiny bit of respect, Marcel? Will you, perhaps, acknowledge the questioning the dogmas of libertarianism does not make one a "republican" (don't really know if you meant the small 'r'), and will you at least admit the possibility that, if I have spent the last 8 years since I wrote EFRP continually thinking about, reading, and writing philosophy, history, social science, and so on (which I have), that perhaps any differences between what I said then and what I said now are due to my having learned something rather than my having been "replaced by aliens"?

    Respect is a two-way street, you know.

  6. Absolutely. This is why I'm asking - but I don't know how to ask without getting the "I don't owe you an explanation" answer. So please, by all means - why do you seem to veer away to the right? Do you have a new book? Articles?

    I do respect you enormously. I am, however, very freaked out.

  7. Well, Marcel, in terms of this topic, is there something you don't understand about what I said? Is there something you'd like me to defend further? If so, just let me know.

    And, in fact, I don't "owe" anyone answers, but I'm happy to try to answer whatever puzzle you have. "We live and learn" IS an answer, but if you want more specifics, ask!

  8. Well... I thought it was clear (and it was, in fact, what Charles had already commented on). How can you get from libertarianism to criminalizing people's smoking habits? What on Earth is a culture and how can it justify a violation of the non-aggression principle?

    If people's culture is threatened by niggers looking at white girls, or filthy Jews living among good honest German people, does it mean it's ok to criminalize that too? If not, what is the difference?

  9. scineram7:01 AM

    How could Hoppe get from marxism to anarchocapitalism?

    And those are different, very much.

  10. Marcel, I didn't recommend people's criminalizing people's smoking habits. I said IF pot smoking really was destroying a culture, then the people in that culture would be justified in banning it.

    "What on Earth is a culture?"

    If you don't know what a culture is, Marcel, we are going to have a very hard time conversing.

    "and how can it justify a violation of the non-aggression principle?"

    If something destroys a culture, that's pretty aggressive, isn't it?

    Look at Charles' thread for an example I gave.

  11. Well, I thought I did know what a culture is, in which case my example (eerily similar to JOR's) stands. The Nazis' culture justified killing Jews.

    Definitely not seeing libertarianism anymore.

  12. scineram10:45 AM

    What nazi culture?

  13. So, Marcel, your principles of discussion are:

    1) In examining an argument, the thing to look for is not whether it is sound or not, but whether one is "seeing liberatiranism" in it or not.
    2) If not, the person is probably a Nazi Jew-killer!

    I'm so glad I've spent my time here trying to respond to your "sincere" attempt to understand what I'm talking about.

  14. My intention was to find out whether you were still a libertarian or not. I concluded that you were not.

    I most specifically did NOT call you a Nazi Jew-killer, that's an emotional non-response on your part. I said that your argument that culture justifies criminalizing behavior can be equally used by Nazis criminalizing Judaism.

    For some reason, you believe that I'm starting from a position of "Gene is wrong", despite what I said. As has been argued before, it would be helpful if, when arguing, one started from an "innocent until proven guilty" position - assume that I mean what I say.

    To recap, I have simply asked: how can you justify criminalizing behavior under a libertarian non-aggression principle? You responded - if I understood correctly - that the principle is trumped by defending one's culture. I found that argument to be flawed, and I exemplified why by means of an analogy.

    Where exactly am I wrong?

  15. Right, Marcel, and to you, "wrong" means "not a liberatarian" (as you judge one).

    You didn't come here to find out what I'm thinking, you came to find out whether I would confirm your own beliefs or not. If not... "bad guy"!

  16. And again... woosh. An emotional non-argument. This is ridiculous.

    Are you saying that you ARE a libertarian? I have asked this several times, I believe. If not, then that's fine - you're not the only non-libertarian out there.

    But if you claim to be one, I asked how you reconcile two different positions - the non-aggression principle and the "let's criminalize people who disagree with the majority" idea you seem to support.

    To this, you're only offering emotional sound-bites.

    So... back to my initial post. WTF?

  17. "Are you saying that you ARE a libertarian? I have asked this several times, I believe."

    You may believe that, but you'd be wrong -- I just looked back through the thread, and you have not asked me this once. But now that you have asked... I think such ideological labels are just blinders on one's ability to think about politics.

    As far as the "NAP" is concerned, one of my points has been that it's vacuous -- anyone at all can claim they are follow the NAP, as log as they get to define aggression and non-aggression as they like. WHich is exactly what some libertarians do -- posit very contentious definitions of aggression and non-aggression, and then use those definitions to taunt anyone they decide isn't "pure" enough -- "Ooooh, so you're in favour of AGGRESSION, are you?"

    Believe me, a Marxist thinks he follows the "NAP" just as much as a libertarian does. This is a principle in the same sense that "You should do things that are good and not do things that are evil" is a principle.

  18. You know, Marcel, you came to my blog, and, when I gave you a short response at first, you got all weepy and asked to be treated with a little respect. Then, once you lured me into taking your request seriously, you've just acted like a complete asswipe. For instance, when I say it would have ben OK for the Weimar Republic to ban the Nazi Party in 1930, you claim I'm in favour of "criminalizing anyone who doesn't agree with the majority"! Yes, Marcel, stopping people who are preaching violent hatred against Jews is just the same as criminalizing having a different taste in socks than most.

    Is it fun to act like a jerk?



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