Constant Surveillance Systems Will Fight Crime, While Stripping Our Civil Liberties

I want you to imagine for a moment that the police have created a new security monitoring system that makes it impossible for anyone to commit any crime, and get away with it. The minute you commit a crime every detail is immediately transmitted to the police, and they have nearly unlimited resources to deal with you.

Go 5 over the speed limit?  You’re going to get fined. Light off a firecracker in the wrong place?  You’re going to get fined. Drop a cigarette butt on the beach? You’re going to get fined. Forget to buckle up? You’re going to get fined. Buy something from out of state on the internet and fail to report the sales tax? You’re going to get fined. Download something on the internet that’s copyrighted? You’re going to face either a civil suit or potential criminal charges of theft. Post something that’s copyrighted on the internet? You’re going to get fined. Sell or purchase any kind of illicit drug? You’re going to jail. Drink underage, sell or purchase liquor for underage people. You’re going to jail. Drink and drive just a micro-fraction over the legal limit? You’re going to jail. Don’t get your dog licensed immediately? You’re getting fined. Change lanes without signaling? You’re getting fined. Roll through a stop sign? You’re getting fined.

The new system simply makes it impossible for you to do anything that it's illegal, and get away with it. Since most people believe laws are good and necessary, I assume most people would be excited to live under such conditions. If a person says they aren’t interested in living under such conditions, yet they still believe in democracy and the legal system, then it must be because they want to get away with committing crimes.

Of course, people like myself question the legitimacy of crimes that don’t have a victim, so I wouldn’t want to live under such a system because I think the vast majority of so-called “crimes” aren’t actually crimes at all. But you’ll never hear a statist say that’s the reason why they don’t like the idea of living under such a system. They will come up with all sorts of excuses why they wouldn’t like the system, but they will never admit that the crimes people are being charged with aren’t really crimes at all.

To the typical statist, questioning the legitimacy of a crime is like questioning the legitimacy of democracy. Clearly democracy is legitimate, right? Clearly the majority has the right to impose its will upon the minority, right? Don’t think too much.

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Michael Suede

Michael Suede is an Austrian economist and author who holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin. Michael's articles have appeared in numerous economics publications. Michael is also one of the few economists who is well versed in the economics of voluntary crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. Michael is a veteran of the US Navy and an advocate of voluntarism. Michael authorizes the use of all his content under Public Domain copyright. Any organization or individual may freely republish, edit, modify and distribute Michael's works without restrictions.

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