Monday, November 10, 2008

The Problem of Evil part III

David D. Friedman wrote a poem called “Anarchy is not Chaos,” the final verse of which reads,

Now law and order, on the other hand
The state provides us for the public good;
That's why there's instant justice on demand
And safety in every neighborhood.

Even removed from its context, the absurdity of this verse is obvious to every person living in this country now. A study done in 1999 by the Hearst Corporation showed that,

81% agree that politics influences court decisions; 56% feel that most juries are not representative of the community; 68% do not agree that it is affordable to bring a case to court and 87% feel that having a lawyer contributes a lot to the cost of going to court; only 10% felt that courts in their communities handled cases in an excellent manner with 20% feeling that criminal and family cases are handled in a poor manner and 30% feeling that juvenile cases are handled in a poor manner; and 44% felt that judges were out of touch with what was going on in their community.

Obviously, citizens of this great nation feel little faith in the system of justice they are presented with now. They feel that the system of “blind” justice which we are currently being afforded by our leaders is politically corrupt, out of touch, and ineffective. Under a stateless society, justice would be purchased on the open market, just like anything else. Systems of justice which were viewed as corrupt and ineffective would soon find themselves out of business. Judges whose decisions were seen by the public as unfair or innapropriate would no longer be hired to arbitrate. There are already examples of this kind of justice system elsewhere in the world.

Another solution to this kind of problem would be Dispute Resolution Organizations. Dispute Resolution Organizations, or DROs, would oversee contract agreements between parties and arbitrate any disputes over those contracts. For instance, if one person contracts to provide labor for another, they would submit their contract to a DRO for ratification. Implicit in the terms of the contract may be clauses dealing with early termination of the employment, such as forfeiture of monies or property.

What's more, the DRO needn't resort to violence to enforce the terms of the contract, they could simply record the offenders failure to abide by his contractually agreed upon obligations, making it impossible for him to engage in future contract action until and unless he abides by any outstanding arbitration. Ebay already uses a similar system of reporting on their website. Users who do business in an honest and positive manner increase their reputation, and by extension their business, while those who are dishonest or fail to meet customer expectations get a lower reputation and lose customers as a result. A more detailed explanation of how DROs can handle civil disputes can be read here.

But DROs can also be used to resolve criminal action. Individuals could insure themselves against criminal action with their own DROs. Anyone who became the victim of criminal behavior would appeal to their DRO for satisfaction. Having done so, their DRO would contract with private investigation in order to determine the identity of the perpetrator. Once they identified the criminal, they would contact his DRO and inform them that he was suspected of criminal activity and that they would be pursuing prosecution.

If the prosecution was successful, his DRO would immediately contact the offender's banking institution and recommend freezing any assets held by the offender in order to pay for the prosecution as well as compensate his victim.

You see, our current criminal justice system is retributive in nature. At some point, we began to equate evil action with time out. Certain crimes call for a specified amount of time locked in a box. No effort is made to compensate the victim, or to return him to the state he was in prior to the crime. Instead, the criminal is punished for what he did to society as a whole, and the victim must find some measure of satisfaction in the suffering inflicted on the offender. Under a compensatory system of justice, the criminal is required to make reparations for his behavior directly to the offended parties, the victim is made whole again, and the criminal is made responsible instead of made to suffer.

If the crime were of a non-violent nature, and satisfaction could be achieved through financial reparations, then monetary compensation may be sufficient. The offender would be considered a high future risk, resulting in higher insurance fees and fewer opportunities to contract with others, but even these costs may be mitigated over time if he shows a real intention to reform his behavior.

If however, the crime was of a violent nature, and financial reparations were insufficient to make satisfaction, then his DRO could give him two alternatives. Either he could agree to a period of therapy and education while he worked to support the costs of his own rehabilitation, after which time he could return to society, or he could be blacklisted. No one would contract with him. He could be denied all services, including energy and water. Since the roads would be privately owned, he couldn't even leave his own home because people would deny him access to their property. If anyone chose to do business with him, they would be aiding a convicted and unrepentant offender and could be similarly blacklisted. With no food, water, or energy, and no way to leave to get resources, the offender wouldn't last long on his own.

But what of false accusations? A false accusation can be as damaging as the crime it alleges. Under a compensatory system of justice, false accusations would be resolved by the DRO of the accused counter suing the accuser. Once adjudicated, the falsely accused party would be compensated by the seized assets of the accuser. You can learn more about how DROs can address criminal behavior by reading Caging The Devils: The Stateless Society and Violent Crime.

It can be seen that the voluntary society has the ability to address civil and criminal justice in a far fairer and more reasonable fashion than our current system. It can help to prevent crime before it is committed by educating the youth more effectively, and decreasing the environmental factors which can contribute to psychopathic behavior. It can reduce poverty and increase opportunity. It allows for non violent arbitration of disputes and eliminates violent activity related to vice crimes. The small amount of remaining crimes which may occur can be effectively investigated, prosecuted, and resolved.

In the beginning, we established that the fear of crime was rooted in our fear of mortality. We are still mortal. But we can face it as free people. We need not let our fear prevent us from acting in our best interest. The state is oppressive and cruel. Behind its every action is the specter of the very violence we fear. We must allow reason to rule our passions. We must be willing to explore freedom as an alternative to subjugation. We must still face death, but we need not fear it. Seasons don't fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun or the rain.

We can be like they are.

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