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An error in logic: stating that laws don't prevent crime

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posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 08:44 AM
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When discussing topics that deal with law and justice, I see many people from the anti-law crowd making their case using the "laws do not prevent crime (LDNPC)" argument. They then inevitably refer to statistics and studies confirming that there is no causal relationship between having laws in place and preventing crimes from happening. I see this type of argument pushed forth quite regularly and it should be addressed.

The argument is problematic because it purposely misrepresents what laws are actually there to do. Laws do not exist to prevent crime, they are there to deter crime. People who promote the LDNPC argument also claim that the numbers of crimes committed do not correlate with the severity of the punishment of the law. This is an obvious error in understanding basic human psychology.

To give an example, consider the crime of theft. Let's imagine two countries with similar poverty levels and socioeconomic outlooks were to create laws banning theft. Country A makes the punishment for theft 20 hours of community service while country B makes the punishment for theft 20 years in prison. In which country do you think more thefts will occur?

Laws don't prevent people from committing crimes. Crimes will be committed for a multitude of reasons and motivations despite what laws happen to be in place. What harsh laws will do is encourage the average person to think twice before committing a crime if their punishment for doing so is set to be severe. In the end, this will decrease the number of crimes being committed, and the deterrent nature of laws has been successful.




posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 08:54 AM
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Laws do not prevent or deter crime. Is the enforcing of the law that supposed to do that job.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:00 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

This is the same logic use to push the three strikes laws in states like California. Except that in practice it just ends up over-staffing our prisons instead.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:09 AM
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While i can agree with your reasoning in the scenarios you have presented, i can just as easily disprove your claim that more laws prevent more crime by simply saying, "more laws makes more criminals".

Using examples like theft, assault, and murder, make it an appealing argument because nobody likes those things, and we want an appropriate punishment administered when those laws are broken.

but what about crimes like drug possesion and prostitution? These laws have put millions of non violent people on the wrong side of the law. In a very real sense, making more criminals.

An argument could be made that when society has too many laws, everyone becomes a criminal.




a reply to: Dark Ghost



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:13 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

I would neither like to live in society with no laws or one with too many laws. The key is balance. I agree with the last point you made, it is very true.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:22 AM
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I would like to bring in an argument often said by the religious against the non-religious:
"How could you be a good man if you don't fear eternal damnation?"

A lot of people are selfish a**holes and laws we're put in place because of those morons. Whenever a moron does something stupid, a law is decreed and of course this law will limit individuals to a line that's before how far that moron went in doing that stupid thing. Many laws seem stupid but it's because someone was stupid enough to not have common sense.

On another note, taken literally, the phrase "laws don't prevent crime" doesn't make that much sense as crimes can't be commited if there are no laws in place. People that drank alcohol before and some even while driving before laws defending it we're not breaking the law. But of course, a minority just had to abuse of this prviledge and now we got steep laws against it.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:28 AM
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originally posted by: Woodcarver
An argument could be made that when society has too many laws, everyone becomes a criminal.


This is what I find scary about the metadata that for example the NSA keeps on every single person they can. Sure, some will say that they have nothing to fear because they aren't doing anything illegal but what if a new decreed law is put in place and is allowed to look back 20 years to prosecute criminals?

I'm sure that many normal everyday things that people do today might one day become illegal.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:36 AM
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Yeah, the laws are the rules.

Sticking to the rules is enforced by agreed upon action of punishment. But a lot of the laws we live by are some what easy to abide by, the simple LOGIC that you shouldn't do what you would not want done to you. Stealing and murder being the really obvious ones here, since people fail in logic the punishments are there to demonstrate negatives that the individual does not or can not understand.

A lot of problems arise when crimes are compared with their impact and punishments.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:55 AM
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Somehow I was in the wrong post. Apologies.
edit on 30-4-2015 by jjkenobi because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 09:58 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Private Pyle, if there is one thing in this world that I hate, it is an unlocked footlocker! You know that don't you?

Private Pyle: Sir, yes, sir.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: If it wasn't for d***heads like you, there wouldn't be any thievery in this world, would there?

Private Pyle: Sir, no, sir.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 10:31 AM
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When law enforcement disappears because of civil war, a natural disaster or somesuch, looting and anarchy often come pretty quickly...



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 10:58 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

It is not laws that deter crime, it is punishment.

If punishment can only be lawfully executed by law enforcement, only law enforcement can provide a deterrent.

If laws allow everybody to punish crime, much greater criminal deterrence is observed.
edit on 30-4-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 12:32 PM
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originally posted by: Abednego
Laws do not prevent or deter crime. Is the enforcing of the law that supposed to do that job.


Symantics.

Without laws, there's nothing to enforce. Without enforcement, laws mean nothing.

Both have to exist and be in effect to be relevant, and right now, too many pointless laws seem to be enforced, while other laws that should be enforced are ignored.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 04:46 PM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost


Please cite the support for your, 'law and punishment' are needed to enforce standards in a community.

What I have found in my research, is that effective means to control a population's actions is social controls. The more egregious acts may require isolation when self-control is not possible.

Like CEOs, Hedge Fund D-bags, crazed cops and oother socially impaired sorts.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 08:36 AM
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originally posted by: largo
Please cite the support for your, 'law and punishment' are needed to enforce standards in a community.

I indeed, shall, right after you cite where I made that argument.


What I have found in my research, is that effective means to control a population's actions is social controls. The more egregious acts may require isolation when self-control is not possible.

Many laws like murder and theft are not considered socially acceptable behaviour, yet they still occur in abundance in certain countries.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 08:54 AM
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This whole OP is a false dichotomy and a great example of how little we comprehend the Law.

Laws are not there to deter crime or punish crime. In fact in a sense the laws are not there.

Most of the things we consider illegal are perfectly lawful.

What is law is the underlying principle that is codified. Murder is not wrong because we have written it on paper, we have written it in paper because we know it to be wrong.

The problem is that we have long since disregarded the law in favor of a legal system in which we are bound by social contracts.

In law a person makes a claim. You stole my car. You hit me with a bat.
In contracts you are presented with charges.

When you are arrested for a lawful activity, ie 'driving' without the kings permission, selling a cigarette, you are accepting a service that you will be charged for. Once you understand the charges, guilt or innocence is pretty much a misnomer. More like full price or discount.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 08:59 AM
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originally posted by: SlapMonkey

originally posted by: Abednego
Laws do not prevent or deter crime. Is the enforcing of the law that supposed to do that job.


Symantics.

Without laws, there's nothing to enforce. Without enforcement, laws mean nothing.

Both have to exist and be in effect to be relevant, and right now, too many pointless laws seem to be enforced, while other laws that should be enforced are ignored.


Wrong. You do not need old papers or votes to make a claim against someone. You only need them when you want to codify behavior that does not infringe on anyone else.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 10:37 AM
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originally posted by: ISawItFirst
What is law is the underlying principle that is codified. Murder is not wrong because we have written it on paper, we have written it in paper because we know it to be wrong.

What exactly makes a behaviour "known to be wrong", though? Where is the source or reference that such a belief stems from?



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 10:46 AM
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originally posted by: Dark Ghost

originally posted by: ISawItFirst
What is law is the underlying principle that is codified. Murder is not wrong because we have written it on paper, we have written it in paper because we know it to be wrong.

What exactly makes a behaviour "known to be wrong", though? Where is the source or reference that such a belief stems from?


That another person can claim an injury. It is quite simple. This stems from the basis of civilized society.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 10:54 AM
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originally posted by: ISawItFirst
That another person can claim an injury. It is quite simple. This stems from the basis of civilized society.

Does injury include emotional distress and mental anguish, or strictly physical injury?



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