Legalized stealing

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Venezuela is considering decriminalizing stealing in situations where it can be determined that the thief was "motivated by extreme hunger or need". I understand the motivation to want to help those in extreme hunger or need, and Venezuela certainly has plenty of that. I even understand the notion of showing moral deference because of the impossibility of complete understanding of the other person's subjective experience. That might lead someone to show some mercy in terms of a lower punishment for such stealing. However, making the action no longer criminal seems to me to misunderstand the whole notion of moral deference. It's not a justifying reason. I'm not even sure we should count this as an excuse (though even that would acknowledge that a crime had been committed). It's certainly a reason to show some mercy, but you can't show mercy if you pretend the action wasn't wrong. It was wrong. It's just that you choose to spare the person from the fullest consequences due to the unfortunate circumstances that led to their doing that wrong thing.

Thanks to Walloworld for the link.

2 Comments

So finding employment for these people so they can pay for food, rather than steal it, was not an option?

1-17-04 1:03 pm

I was just reading the Index of Economic Freedom the other day, and Venezuela ranks near the bottom. They're sitting on all that oil, and they still have massive problems. It just goes to show that freedom trumps resources any day of the week.

Japan has no natural resources, but they have freedom, and they prosper. Venezuela is rich in resources, but poor nonetheless.

They need to get rid of their Castro-imitating "president" and get a decent leader for their people. He's pretty roundly despised though, I don't think he'll last as long as his hero Castro.

1-17-04 8:08 pm

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