By Serge Kreutz
Most laws anywhere around the world do not represent what most people consider appropriate. Laws anywhere represent what is considered appropriate in accordance to an antiquated body of thought, such as a religion. Most people, especially young people, experience laws only as a traditional set of repressive rules.
Most young people, and many older ones, cannot even imagine, or dare not imagine, a world in which they were free to do what they want, as long as the involvement of other people is consensual.
The use of recreational drugs other than alcohol is highly illegal in the US, even though it doesn’t involve other people at all. In the US, which likes to call itself the “land of the free”, a grown up citizen isn’t even free to do with his own body as he likes. While some people may need guidance, there is no point in criminalizing the wish of a person nearing the end of his life to have opiates provide an amount of pleasure that would otherwise not be attainable.
Under many circumstances, grown up men and women are also not allowed to have a consensual sexual relationship. Prostitution, for example, is illegal in many parts of the US. Punishment includes rude treatment by the police, jail sentences, and the confiscation of property.
Most people in most countries would welcome a far-reaching legal reform.
The first principle of a new, enlightened legal system would have to be that where there is no complaint from a victim or his or her family, the state has no right to play judge.
The second new principle of justice would be that if a court has determined the guilt of a perpetrator of a crime, the victim and the perpetrator should be allowed to work out an adequate compensation. Only if the victim and the perpetrator do not reach a solution in this way, then the state shall met out a punishment.
No, the option of an agreement between the victim and the perpetrator will not result in leniency towards rich people. They may stand to lose a large part of their possessions if they do not want to go to jail. And a poor person who receives a very large compensation for having been hurt by a rich perpetrator will be served better redress than a 5-year prison sentence for the perpetrator would mean.