When evaluating claims of criminal activity, always look for a victim.

February 7, 2013

This image appeared on Progressive Libertarianism‘s facebook feed:

Flowchart for proper lawmaking.

Flowchart for proper lawmaking.

Drug possession and prostitution are well known forms of victimless crime. These are crimes only because they violate the black letter of the written law, not because they produce victims.

A substantial amount of white-collar, corporate crime is also victimless. Progressives who would turn us against corporations and capitalism will often submit for our consideration the large amounts of criminal convictions, fines, and settlements that corporations accumulate. This is to tarnish the corporations’ reputations by portraying them as serial criminals. The same progressives might also suggest that the fines are too low to deter further “corporate crime”. Whenever I hear such allegations, my first demand to learn the identity of at least one victim of the corporations’ actions. Often—not always, but often—no victim is to be found. Read the rest of this entry »


Bizarre Headline: “Big Pharma Blocks Imports of Generic AIDS Drugs” into Africa

January 25, 2013
Ocean

“Big Pharma” patrols the high seas in search of plunder and patent infringement.

This headline comes to us from the venerable Democracy Now! news hour of January 23, 2013:

“Fire in the Blood”: Millions Die in Africa After Big Pharma Blocks Imports of Generic AIDS Drugs

When I saw this headline rolling up my facebook feed as most shared from Democracy Now!, two thoughts hit me almost at once.

The first thought was that Democracy Now! is to be commended for bringing this monumental story to us. Millions of people are out there dying, and I haven’t heard boo about it from any other media source. This is standard fare. If you want to get the scoop, tune into Democracy Now!

To understand my second thought, you must realize that I am a libertarian Juris Doctor. As a law guy, I tend to take things rather literally. So upon encountering a headline alleging that Big Pharma is blocking imports of generic drugs, I promptly envision the private fleet of pirates that Pfizer and AstraZeneca must have hired to swashbuckle and maraud and pillage the vessels of competing merchants. I delighted in this anti-corporate progressive fantasy for about ten seconds before hypothesizing the reality:

“Big Pharma isn’t blocking anything,” I suspected. “I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that some government is blocking those imports at Big Pharma’s behest, and I’ll have to see the story to find out which one and why.”  Read the rest of this entry »