Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 595, November 14, 2010

"The secession of the individual from the state"

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

The death sentence is about revenge, not justice. The only "justice" involved is making sure you got the right guy. I have nothing against revenge. I am of the opinion that it is better to seek justice than revenge, but sometimes this is not possible. Then you get revenge and it's a good thing.

The question is, when and how did the state arrogate the right to get revenge? Not just the death sentence, but all other revenge. We keep hearing the expression that a criminal completing a sentence has paid his debt to society. I'm sorry, a thief didn't steal from society, he stole from me. He owes me a debt, cash plus interest equal to what he took from me. That's justice. If I slap him around a little as a warning not to try to steal from me again that is "punishment" and revenge. If he's smart he'll apply this "lesson" to how he acts towards others before he forces someone to cripple or kill him in self defense.

Justice is compensation, revenge is collecting payment on a debt that can not be repaid. That compensation is due the victim is reflected in civil suits.

However we have a huge "justice" system that is designed to collect compensation and revenge for the state (AKA "the Commonwealth", "the People of..", Society", "the Crown" in Canada and Great Britain). How did an injury to me or people for who I am an agent become an injury to the State? Note I did not ask "When did I appoint the State my agent to collect my debts and avenge unpayable debts for me?" I am asking when did the State become the aggrieved party in a crime, the one who gets compensation or revenge?

And I keep getting the same answer. When kings were the masters of all and the rest of us were slaves murder, robbery, assault, rape all damaged the kings' property, and it was the kings who were due compensation and revenge, not the actual victims.

We don't have Kings anymore in the USA, we do have State, local and Federal Governments. As long as we're stuck with the damn things, perhaps it's time to make it clear that people as individuals, not people collectively, Society, The state, whatever are the victims of crimes and the ones due compensation and revenge, not the state.

If someone murders (kills in the act of committing a crime or to deny the victim their rights) a kinsman or close enough friend I want revenge. I want them dead. The problem is that the way things are now the state isn't collecting this revenge for the murdered persons kin and friends, it is collecting the debt for itself.

I'm not sure that I like this at all.


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