Monday, 18 November 2013

Decriminalization and Relegalization

"The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be." -Laozi


As the total body of laws expand, selective interpretation of laws can be used against anyone. As surveillance infrastructure expands around the world, and into the future, becoming truly invisible is increasingly impossible.

A proper response, I believe, is not to double down on prosecuting nonviolent criminal offenses, but repeal bodies of law that are increasingly troublesome to enforce. Dr. David Brin suggested something similar with the US tax code. The problem with centuries of legalism is that only lawyers (and those that can successful hire lawyers) can successfully navigate the system.

Examples can be found in places from removing traffic signs (and reducing accidents) to countries stepping back from the drug war (or treating addictions as medical issues rather than criminal ones). Even weapons laws could be repealed (or at least made simplified), as socio-economic factors contributing to crime and attention-seeking spree murders could be more easily handled.

Smaller countries, such as Iceland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Singapore, may be able to do this much faster. In the US, the solution is already in the name: United "States." The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution essentially gives individuals and states powers and rights that had not been considered yet. I believe that future generations will not seek legal permission for something (marriage, lifestyle, etc.), but instead simply do it. "Do what you want, so long as you do not hurt others," becomes easier when there is less bureaucratic red tape. With relocalization and information technology reducing the needs of industrial age bureaucracy, networked structures emerge faster than bureaucracies can adapt.

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