Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

Infobox Book
name = Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = Peter McWilliams
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
subject = Victimless crimes
genre = Nonfiction
publisher = Prelude Press
release_date = 1996
english_release_date =
media_type = Print
pages =
isbn = ISBN 0-931580-58-7
preceded_by =
followed_by =

Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country (ISBN 0-931580-58-7) is a book by Peter McWilliams in which he presents the history of legislation against what he feels are victimless crimes, or crimes that are committed consensually, as well as arguments for their legalization.

The book is divided into five sections. Part I gives a definition of victimless and consensual crime and outlines the difference between personal morality and governmentally-imposed morality. Part II presents arguments against the criminalization of victimless crimes. Part III gives a closer look into some of the individual activities which the author classifies as consensual crimes, such as prostitution and marijuana use, but which the majority of criminologists would classify as victimless. In Part IV, McWilliams gives historical examples of the treatment of consensual and victimless crimes, such as Prohibition, and Biblical examples. Part V advises readers on what to do to change the laws. Throughout the book are approximately six hundred quotations by noted thinkers on both sides of his position (primarily supporters).

McWilliams presents a variety of arguments against the criminalization of victimless crimes. Some are philosophical in nature: one argument is that laws against these crimes are based in religion, which violates the separation of church and state. He also claims that they are un-American, as they attempt to homogenize the country to a certain group's idea of morality, and that they create an oppressive society, restricting personal freedoms without justification. Another claim is that they teach irresponsibility, by not letting people deal with the natural consequences of their actions, but rather penalizing them whether or not their actions harmed anyone else.

Other objections are practical: catching the "criminals" involved is an expensive affair. Victimless crimes draw manpower and funds away from crimes that do hurt innocent parties, and enforcement of the laws is not consistent enough to be an effective deterrent. He also argues that actions to help people deal with problems caused by these illegal activities are effectively prevented by their criminilization -- for example, no one could be helped about their drinking problems during Prohibition. Additionally, he details how laws against victimless crimes paved the way for organized crime.

Activities examined in detail in Part III include gambling, recreational drug use, medical marijuana, prostitution, homosexuality, pornography, indecent exposure, and seat belt legislation.

The text of this book (as well as McWilliams' other books) is available for free in its entirety on the web but it should be noted that although the definitional criteria adopted by this author for consensual and victimless crimes may have some validity in the United States where, for some purposes, victimless crimes may be considered under the heading of "consensual crime", e.g. The Outline of the U.S. Legal System [] :Consensual Crimes::So-called victimless crime, such as prostitution, gambling, illegal drug use, and unlawful sexual practices between consenting adults, is called consensual because both perpetrator and client desire the forbidden activity....the accepted world standards treat consensual and victimless crimes as conceptually different because, as the U.S. Government says above, a consensual crime is something unlawful that two or more participants commit by agreement, whereas a victimless crime either has only one offender who also happens to be the individual the state identifies as the victim as in illegal drug use, or the state does not prosecute the victim, e.g. as in statutory rape.

Full text

* [ Full text, from Peter McWilliams' web site]

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