L.A. Liberty

A Libertarian in Leftywood

The Right to Lie to the Cops →

In practice, “obstruction of justice” and “giving false information” are almost always themselves victimless crimes. Bill Anderson and Candice Jackson call these types of offenses “derivative crimes" – offenses contrived out of thin air, used by the state to railroad people whose actual offenses cannot be proven. This trick was used to oppress the ethically innocent Martha Stewart, but even when it is used against a real creep, like Scooter Libby, it is far too dangerous a tool to trust in the hands of the state. No government should be able to jail someone merely for the act of being dishonest with it.

When the right to lie to the state is trampled, the ripples of injustice shake the whole system. Often, police don’t even have a strong case against someone, not even enough to search or arrest him. And so they start probing. They start asking questions, hoping the subject trips up, contradicts himself, and can be caught in a deception. Then this is used as the probable cause on which an arrest and threat of conviction ultimately rely. This is a good reason to avoid talking to police altogether. But it is also a reason to oppose the very doctrine that telling a fib to a cop should in any way, all by itself, be considered any worse than fibbing to anyone else. If someone tells a white lie to a neighbor because he thinks he’s being asked something that is none of the guy’s business, we can criticize this as a minor sin, but it should not be any worse when the police are involved. Deceiving one’s acquaintances can lead to a tangled web of awkwardness and more prevarications. But deceiving an officer should not, in itself, lead to warrantless searches, arrests, and prison time.

There is another principle in play here. No one owes the police anything. Perhaps in very unusual cases it makes ethical sense to cooperate. Surely there are prudential reasons from time to time. But the police are out to round people up, most of them overall non-violent people, and throw them in cages. To do their business, police, like prosecutors, lie through their teeth. It is standard practice. They are trained to do it. Whereas you could make a strong case that as tax recipients and supposed public servants, police should be held to a standard that forbids dishonesty, there should be no legal obligation on the part of the common person to come clean with the state.

The fact that the state gets away lying to the people – about its successes and failures, its intentions in domestic policy, the rationale behind its foreign policy, the strength and content of its evidence in criminal cases – while it makes it a crime for common people to misrepresent themselves to the government is another example of the ultimate double standard that defines the state as what it is. 

rationaldrugs:

A [Brief] History of Presidential Crimes

Hayekian Anarchism →

hyena-in-pantaloons:

laliberty:

Should law be provided centrally by the state or by some other means? Even relatively staunch advocates of competition such as Friedrich Hayek [believed] that the state must provide law centrally. This article asks whether Hayek’s theories about competition and the use of knowledge in society should lead one to support centrally provided law enforcement or competition in law. In writing about economics, Hayek famously described the competitive process of the market as a “discovery process.” In writing about law, Hayek coincidentally referred to the role of the judge under the common law as “discovering” the law in the expectations and conventions of people in a given society. We argue that this consistent usage was more than a mere semantic coincidence—that the two concepts of discovery are remarkably similar in Hayek’s thought and that his idea of economic discovery influenced his later ideas about legal discovery. Moreover, once this conceptual similarity is recognized, certain conclusions logically follow: namely, that just as economic discovery requires the competitive process of the market to provide information and feedback to correct errors, competition in the provision of legal services is essential to the judicial discovery in law. In fact, the English common law, from which Hayek drew his model of legal discovery, was itself a model of polycentric and competing sources of law throughout much of its history. We conclude that for the same reasons that made Hayek a champion of market competition over central planning of the economy, he should have also supported competition in legal services over monopolistic provision by the state—in short, Hayek should have been an anarchist.

Solid paper. Recommended reading.

What does competition between governments mean? Competition in the use of force. What does that mean? War.

That’s not an example of a free market, unless you consider World Wars I and II to be great examples of laissez-faire.

I would agree with your general idea that governments and free markets are nothing alike, but theoretically the individual states have competing governments today without currently being at war. The varied governments of the world compete for resources, citizens, workers, businesses, investors, and tax-payers - a process in and of itself that is not tantamount to war (and in many ways is an alternative to war - as Bastiat said,  ”When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”). But more to the point: this paper discusses competition in law and legal services, not necessarily competition between governments. In fact, the summary above does not even mention the word.

Am I misunderstanding your post?

(Source: laliberty)

Hayekian Anarchism →

Should law be provided centrally by the state or by some other means? Even relatively staunch advocates of competition such as Friedrich Hayek [believed] that the state must provide law centrally. This article asks whether Hayek’s theories about competition and the use of knowledge in society should lead one to support centrally provided law enforcement or competition in law. In writing about economics, Hayek famously described the competitive process of the market as a “discovery process.” In writing about law, Hayek coincidentally referred to the role of the judge under the common law as “discovering” the law in the expectations and conventions of people in a given society. We argue that this consistent usage was more than a mere semantic coincidence—that the two concepts of discovery are remarkably similar in Hayek’s thought and that his idea of economic discovery influenced his later ideas about legal discovery. Moreover, once this conceptual similarity is recognized, certain conclusions logically follow: namely, that just as economic discovery requires the competitive process of the market to provide information and feedback to correct errors, competition in the provision of legal services is essential to the judicial discovery in law. In fact, the English common law, from which Hayek drew his model of legal discovery, was itself a model of polycentric and competing sources of law throughout much of its history. We conclude that for the same reasons that made Hayek a champion of market competition over central planning of the economy, he should have also supported competition in legal services over monopolistic provision by the state—in short, Hayek should have been an anarchist.

Solid paper. Recommended reading.

Obey the (Natural) Law →

Tax Day approaches, and I’ve been thinking of all the ways government bullies us, demanding we do – and not do – things — or else.

Napolitano: Injustice System →

Congress believes it doesn’t have to satisfy anybody. Its only recognized restraint is whatever it can get away with.

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