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Abolish all victimless crimes

Comment 2nd July 2010

Many, probably most (in terms of prosecutions) crimes do not actually hurt anyone. They were introduced to control moral behaviour (e.g. laws against pornography homophobia, racism etc) or to try to prevent dangerous behaviour by keeping everyone down to a 'lowest common denominator' of behaviour (e.g. speed limits enforced by machines, drink driving enforced by breathalysers). These criminalise and persecute everyone for behaviour that actually harms no-one, and never will except in the remote outer limits where other laws would apply anyway.

Why does this matter?

The entire population is criminalised by 'preventative' or 'behavioural' laws involving no actual harm to others. This is unacceptable in an advanced society, and it replaces personal responsibility by a bewildering framework of blunt legal instruments. 

As an example, committing a racially or homophobically motivated assault is a crime, acting like someone who might, or would like to, commit such an assault is not. Offending others, as opposed to hurting or harming them, should not be a legal offence. The people themselves develop codes for dealing with offensive behaviour, as indeed Britain did until relatively recently.

Huge amounts of bureaucracy and police and court time is wasted on harassing the law-abiding majority in inappropriate and Orwellian ways. Billions could be saved, and the people set free.

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