Sex Offenders Face Ostracism
Posted by PintofStout on November 2, 2006
Libertarians (small “l”) have long argued about alternatives to a punitive legal system and generally non-violent, yet coercive, ways to handle miscreants in a community that would almost always include ostracism. Ostracism, as defined by Dictionary.com, is an expulsion from a group or community, but in lieu of an outright banning or expulsion, which implies physically throwing them out, libertarians often advocate personal ostracism. Rather than physically expelling a person from their own property, the people of the community stop associating with the person; selling him groceries, educating his children, and everything else. When the offender can no longer survive in that location, they get the hint and leave.
According to NPR, Californicate is following some other states in essentially ostracizing sex offenders from cities and populated areas with Proposition 83. Prop 83 would restrict offenders from living within 2000 ft (nearly half a mile) of schools, churches, parks, and other known children hangouts. As a map of San Francisco with a 2000 ft buffer around all such places suggests, the law will rule out living in any city, period.
When I first heard this story, like most stories involving government…er…most stories, I thought how ridiculous this was and wrote it off to overkill. Then when the story mentioned that some smaller towns have actually banned sex offenders flat-out, I realized it was just ostracism, albeit a forceful one. Would such measures be out of the realm of most libertarians’ ZAP morality? Not necessarily, I say. But holding true to the ZAP would also make any action undertaken by the state immoral, regardless of how moral the action itself appears.
Where Proposition 83 fails to be legitimate is in the involvement of the state on several levels. First, it is allowing the state to utilize its monopoly on the initiation of force to physically remove people from their own property and keep them out. Even if the state were not involved in physically expelling someone, it would still be immoral (based on the ZAP) if it were done by an individual, and if there is any reason why people adhere to a moral principle it is so the same rules apply to themselves if the situation was reversed. Second, and there is a similar argument for the death penalty, the state has proven time and time again that it is incapable of actually discerning the real offenders from the innocent. In a rational mind the concepts of justice and government rarely, if ever, occupy the same space. And third, even if the state were capable of identifying properly the innocent and guilty by the written law, the written law (also originating with the state) is flawed to the point of being dangerous. It would be impossible to write a perfect law that applies to all equally and fairly, but that doesn’t excuse them for trying and failing.
The other aspects of Prostitution 83 are an even bigger affront to liberty and a clear drawback to the punitive system. Once a sex offender (guilty or not; who knows?) is convicted they will be required to wear a GPS location device…forever. This means there is perpetual punishment, and no hope of restitution. Paying a debt to society, regardless of how valid the whole concept is, is impossible in this case. A sex offender will thus cease to own his own body and actions and thus be relegated to slavehood.
Are sex offenders (of the criminal sense) more likely to repeat their crimes than, say, a politician who defrauds the public, embezzles money, or breaks their oath to *gasp* follow the law?! I don’t know the figures behind repeat sex crimes, but I’m pretty sure that a politician, by their very definition, will repeatedly break the law and bring harm and loss to millions of people in one stroke.
Of course this is all “for the children,” making anyone in opposition to such things as these egregious injustices in favor of brutal child rape. An example sited in the NPR story about why the buffer around schools was legitimate was the molestation and shooting of a high school girl last month. There was no mention of how close the perpetrator lived to the school or if such a buffer law was already in effect, but I don’t see how any of it could matter. One doesn’t have to live next door to a school to gain access. Perhaps they assume sex offenders are lazy and don’t own cars. As is seen in gun legislation – and all legislation, for that matter, what good are making laws when a criminal doesn’t obey laws in the first place? If only retarded hyperbole were a crime…