This is Essay Eight in the series Lighten the Load, a back-to-basics re-think of government. What should a government be and do? What should it definitely NOT be and do? Is it even necessary at all? If so, how much and why? How do we decide, against what criteria?
by Steve Cook
What is a Criminal?
What makes a crime a crime? It is the recognition that certain conduct harms the survival of the group and its members in some way.
The word “crime,” as a matter of interest, comes from the Latin “crimen,” meaning “offence.” The origin of the word to offend, is the Latin “offendere,” which means to strike against.
Some insane conduct does not necessarily greatly harm anyone beyond the insane person himself, while some insane conduct most certainly does.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why murder, theft, rape, child abuse, blackmail, fraud, counterfeiting, drink-driving, drug-peddling, arson, embezzlement, incitement to violence and so forth are crimes.
Some acts are recognised as more counter-survival than others and so we have acts which are viewed as more serious crimes than others.
For our purposes here, he who knowingly, intentionally or through wilful negligence engages in or assists acts that are heavily counter-survival and which seriously impede or thwart the survival of others, is a criminal.
By good people and honest people, to whom I refer frequently, I mean people who are getting along with their fellows, doing their jobs, bringing up their families, trying to assist survival.
They are not setting out to impede survival particularly and have no particular ill will towards other people who are also doing their best to get along and assist survival.
They may err but will endeavour to correct their errors. They may not be perfect but on balance their actions contribute more to survival than they inhibit it.
They do not engage in criminal conduct as a rule and regardless of any shortcomings they might have, their overall contribution is pro-survival.
These are the decent human beings for whom this work was written.
They are the ones who usually end up fighting the wars and getting killed. They comprise the vast, overwhelming majority of human beings. The world is full of them.
If the world were comprised solely of such people of good will, humanity would be getting along pretty well – indeed it is thanks to them that humanity gets along at all, that anything gets produced and some sort of show is kept on the road.
All that is wrong with the world at this time is that a minority of human beings are insane. They are not people of good will and are not well motivated towards their fellows. They specialise in harm of one kind or another. It is this minority that mess things up for everybody else and they have managed to do so down through the ages because Man has not yet learned to recognize them by their conduct and their deeds.
His habit of listening to what his fellows say, rather than observing what they do, gets Man into interminable trouble.
An observation of the shambolic condition of nations, and particularly of international relations, tells us very emphatically that men of good will are very often not calling the shots.
For the rest of the essays in this series, click here
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