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“One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing most Mondays at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here.
What is justice? A seemingly subjective concept. For voluntaryists, justice is being made whole when you’ve been aggressed against. What is aggression? For voluntaryists, aggression is an unwanted invasion of a property boundary. What is property? For voluntaryists, property is, at least, one’s body and personal possessions. For many, property is also what one’s body appropriates from a state of nature (movable or immovable), or trades for from other property owners. So in other words, for voluntaryists, justice is having one’s property restored to them after it was taken by aggression. Do the various “Departments of Justice” around the world serve justice? Methinks not.
What They Do Serve
When one finds themselves a victim, of say, assault and battery, they report it to the authorities. The authorities then proceed (hopefully) to investigate the crime and discover “whodunit.” When the perpetrator is arrested, tried, and found guilty, he is then given a prison sentence, say for 5 years. While his liberty is removed from him, he’s nevertheless completely provided for. Housing, food, health-care, all come at the expense of someone else. The criminal completes his sentence and is then set free.
It is hoped that by this time he has learned his lesson; that he won’t commit anymore crimes. I suppose that happens, but ex-convicts often continue their momentarily-suspended life of crime. They may or may not find themselves once more locked away in prison. The victim, on the other hand, is never made whole. He (or she) recovers physically, probably, maybe not, but the episode is forever recorded in his memory. Emotional or psychological trauma usually accompanies crimes of this nature. He gets to spend the next five years healing, and looking forward to the day that his attacker is once more free. Perhaps he’s granted a restraining order barring his attacker coming anywhere near him or his family, but perhaps not. Or perhaps he does, but it’s temporary. And more, as a hard working citizen, he’s forced to pay the very taxes used to fund his attacker’s incarceration, on threat of joining him.
There’re also those “crimes” that don’t have any victims, like tax evasion, running a business without the proper permission from the state, information piracy, et cetera. The authorities prosecute perpetrators of these types of crimes, lock them away, and provide for their every need (except liberty) at the expense of the rest of society.
According to our understanding of justice, does any of the proceeding qualify? Hardly. For a victim to not only remain “broken,” but to suffer further in the form of taxation to pay for the sustenance of his attacker is not justice. The attacker is responsible for making his victim whole. Being locked away for five years leaves him unable to accomplish that. Instead, he gets five years of free living, his victim five years, or more, of suffering.
And as for “criminals” that have not been the cause of anyone becoming un-whole, the “justice” served them is an act of aggression by the state. So not only do Departments of Justice keep real criminals and victims from achieving real justice, they create more injustice through their prosecution of people that have committed non-crimes. To call these entities Departments of “Justice” or anything of the like is a mockery of truth and reason. They are in every way departments of injustice. Their behavior is unjust, their tactics are unjust, their very existence is unjust. Instead of making victims whole, they make more victims.
Departments of Justice do not have a monopoly on creating injustice. Every department of every state creates injustice. The state itself is an injustice. I say this time and time again. The state is merely a better organized and better propagandized mafia, which makes it a worser evil. I don’t know how problems would be solved in a free society, I have some ideas, but I do know that abolishing the injustice that is the state would make everyone a lot better off. I doubt I’ll see that in my lifetime, but so did many who opposed monarchy and slavery. Their actions weren’t made in vain, and neither are mine.