Techdirt Reading List: Pirates, Prisoners, And Lepers

from the anarchy-in-reality dept

We’re back again with another in our weekly reading list posts, of books we think our community will find interesting and thought provoking. Once again, buying the book via the Amazon links in this story also help support Techdirt.

This week’s book is Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law by Paul Robinson and Sarah Robinson. The book just came out earlier this year and it may be a little different than you expect. Unlike the usual “pirates” that we discuss, the part of this book about pirates is about actual pirates. Like those on the high seas.

I first found out about the book on a recent episode of Russ Robert’s EconTalk podcast. The book focuses on how communities act when groups of people are placed in positions without a government and laws to impose social order, and how those groups function. From there it discusses some possible lessons from those groups that could be applicable back in the world where there are laws and governing bodies. One particularly interesting aspect is the idea that any justice system needs to actually mete out reasonable punishment for crimes if people are to respect the law. While many believe that, because many scofflaws “get away” with their crimes, that you have to ratchet up the punishment as some sort of deterrent, Robinson argues that this leads to even less respect for the law overall. The book is not anti-punishment — in fact, quite the opposite — but does suggest that for punishment to work it needs to be reasonable.

I’m still only part way through the book, but between what I’ve read so far and Paul Robinson’s interview with Roberts, this is a worthwhile and thought provoking book.

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Comments on “Techdirt Reading List: Pirates, Prisoners, And Lepers”

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DannyB (profile) says:

Not only Reasonable punishment, but . . .

Not only must punishment be reasonable, but it must be given to the people who deserve it.

This includes extra judicial punishments, like the police beating someone up on the way to booking. Or while in holding cell.

This includes using government power to harass someone and destroy their lives. See Aaron Swartz (The Internet’s Own Boy).

This includes thin skinned public officials harassing people critical of them. Using police power to do so.

And many more incidents.

When police stand up to protect bad cops, this does not make the public trust the police more. This is a bit off topic, but if you want good social order and for people to respect they law, they also must respect the people administering the law. The people in the system must be seen to be The Good Guys.

Good social order? It doesn’t help when everyone can plainly see how brazenly corrupt congress is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Probably just first quip that caught your eye.

@ “One particularly interesting aspect is the idea that any justice system needs to actually mete out reasonable punishment for crimes if people are to respect the law.”

You think that’s profound? Or new? Whew. I can only conclude that being born into the one-percent and indoctrinated in the Ivy League, you are in fact so un-acquainted with the views of ordinary persons as I thought. It’s impossible to out-parody you.

If you kids think anarchy is great: remember that in such societies, no one will necessarily try to get revenge if you’re robbed or murdered. You’re on your own. The arbitrary will of the leader as backed by readiness to kill anyone who merely disagrees is your biggest danger. It’s Stone Age savagery.

Justice and fairness are central to the American ideal. Societies where those exist in reasonable amounts, and where upward mobility is possible, are stable. When, as now in the United States, we have an entrenched hereditary upper class, where The Rich get hundreds of times the average wage for being born, where their crimes are not just ignored by the government but they’re bailed out with tax money, where The Rich not only have all the rights in practice but super-rights outside of states — it’s already practically feudalism, and intentionally being transformed to more unequal than ever in human history.

Put those together and begin to notice that YOU are NOT rich, and are subject TO The Rich. Then maybe you can understand what an anomaly The United States Of America was, where for a brief time the numbers of Born Rich were small, and Common Law was supreme. Now it’s going back to the usual slave-feudalism.

WORST OF ALL: don’t think that just because people don’t “respect the law” that tyranny doesn’t work! Look at history. Roman Empire, about 800 years, including over Britain, which has never been free since. Most recently, Germans pretending to be British, about 500 years ongoing. A literal hereditary monarchy in the 21st century! Incredible. — Yes, it’s still tyranny, just subtle.

Tyranny is improving just like every other area. Nazi Germany worked for its purposes of making war, and Commie China now out-produces every other country. Technology once begun goes upward even in midst of mass murder. The technocrats really do believe they’ll soon live forever, and that YOU billions are worse than unnecessary: you’re destroying their planet.

It’s no surprise that Masnick loves this crap! He’s never been subject to “market forces”, and believes he’ll never be trapped in the chaos of anarchy.

Rational people must force The Rich to respect the law before they destroy civilization.

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