There are no Truly Victimless Crimes

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A man chooses to take cocaine. He understands the risks he is taking, and he believes that taking the cocaine is worth the risk. Should he be allowed to take the drug? Or should the government force him to abstain from it, in his own interest? He is not hurting anyone but himself, so why should there be a law against it? This debate has raged since the beginning of civilization. J. S. Mill, in his Essay on Liberty, takes the position that is commonly accepted: the government should not interfere with matters that do not involve more than one person. These matters are often called "victimless crimes." Mill - along with the majority of people in today's world - claims that if a person commits a crime against his or herself, such as harming the body by taking certain drugs or suicide, the person should not be prosecuted. The argument is that no other person is affected. All involved parties consent to the arrangement, so they should be responsible for whatever happens. A few common victimless crimes are prostitution, taking harmful drugs, and suicide. These are perceived as having no negative effect on anyone but the people who agreed to accept the negative effects. In reality, all victimless crimes cause problems for other members of society. J. S. Mill did not understand that "victimless" crimes do not actually exist.

Prostitution is one of the most debated of the victimless crimes, because the US has been "slow" in adopting it legally. Only ten Nevadian counties out of the entirety of the 50 United States have passed laws that legalize prostitution, while in Holland prostitution is a recognized occupation. Holland even has a union for prostitutes. It is argued by proponents of legalized prostitution that the business is ...

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... cases, this can go so far as to cause suicide by a survivor, repeating the cycle. Besides those negative psychological effects, survivors of suicide usually experience some need to place blame. This can either be manifested in anger towards the suicidal person, to a third party that may have the blame placed on him, or on the survivor himself. It is very common for a survivor to feel self-loathing and to entertain the idea that there was something that could have been done to save the lost loved one. Suicide is not a victimless crime.

These are only three of the "victimless crimes" that have been postulated by people such as J. S. Mill. While he may have had strong urges for social liberty, he never understood the fact that there is no such thing as a victimless crime. All crimes have a victim, and no amount of philosophy or political theory can change that.

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