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Laissez Faire Club author Lysander Spooner wrote a wonderful piece called "Vices Are Not Crimes" in 1875. Spooner pointed out that vices are acts in which someone hurts himself, while crimes constitute harming another person.
If there is no criminal intent, there can be no crime. In the case of vices, "the very essence of crime -- that is, the design to injure the person or property of another -- is wanting," explains Spooner.
"For a government to declare a vice to be a crime," Spooner wrote, "and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things." But for its own purposes, the state has turned nature on its head to feed its criminal justice apparatus. And sadly, ordinary people whose only crime was to make a transaction with another consenting adult rot in jail as tribute to the system.
The old saying among judges is, "Hang 'em high so the voters remember you on Election Day."
Lysander Spooner (more quotes by Lysander Spooner or books by/about Lysander Spooner)
(1808-1887) Political theorist, activist, abolitionist