If Murder Were Legal
True believers in the deity known as “government” often make random, arbitrary, dire predictions about what would happen in the absence of a political ruling class. This is almost always driven by the fear of the unknown, rather than being driven by an objective consideration of human nature.
Consider the following thought experiment as an example: Suppose that tomorrow, the federal and all of the state legislatures in the U.S. repealed all laws against homicide—what would actually happen if murder were “legalized”? (For this discussion, we’ll ignore the fact that a lot of murder is already supposedly “legal,” when it is committed in the name of “law enforcement” and “national defense.”)
It would be easy for people to imagine nationwide pandemonium and chaos, the streets running red with blood—“The Purge”! After all, if people were “allowed” to commit murder…
All “the law” does is threaten to send “law enforcers” after anyone caught committing murder. Obviously that doesn’t prevent all murder from happening. Legislation merely imposes a potential adverse consequence to those who choose to commit murder (if they get caught).
So what would actually happen if tomorrow all murder were “legalized” in the United States?
1 – A lot of decent people would be scared, expecting the worst, and—ironically enough—might immediately become better armed and better prepared to defend themselves from the impending slaughter that they imagine would happen, thus creating more of a deterrent to murder than exists now. (Even most cops will admit that they almost never stop a murder while it’s happening; they only get involved after the victim is dead. So those who today expect “the law” to protect them from murderers are very misguided.)
3 – It is likely that a number of truly nasty people—especially nasty people who have used so-called “authority” to victimize others—would probably be killed. There are a lot of abusers and tyrants who now use “law” as a shield against retribution from their victims. Whether you or I would morally approve of it, it is likely that the number of cops, politicians and tax collectors would drop rather dramatically that day.
5 – But perhaps the most significant change, at least in the long run, wouldn’t even be about pre-meditated, unjustified murder. It would be about resistance to tyranny. As most of my readers already understand, every “law” is a command or demand backed by a threat of deadly force. And many people comply with unjust “laws,” simply because they know what would happen if they got caught disobeying. But if there were no longer a “law” against killing people, many potential victims of state aggression might decide to finally fight back. Very quickly it would become extremely dangerous to be an enforcer of “laws” that try to punish people for victimless “crimes.”
Oddly enough, that means that if tomorrow all “laws” against killing were repealed, yes, there would probably be a short-term spike in violence and murder (some completely unjustified, some probably targeting very nasty people), which would then die down fairly quickly as average people, both individually and collectively, took responsibility for their own safety and defense. After that, murder and aggression—especially murder and aggression committed by agents of the state—would probably drop dramatically.