A Plague on Both your Statist Houses: Why Libertarian Restitution Beats State-Retribution and State-Leniency

In Simple justice / Charles Murray ; commentaries, Rob Allen ; edited by David Conway (2005)
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Charles Murray describes himself as a libertarian, most notably in his short book, What it Means to be a Libertarian. He might more accurately have described himself as having libertarian tendencies. My reading of Simple Justice is that the views it espouses are far more traditionalist than libertarian. Neither traditionalist state-retribution nor modernist state-leniency is libertarian. Nor does either provide as just or efficient a response to crime as does libertarian restitution, including restitutive retribution. Here, I shall respond directly only to Murray's views, rather than also deal with state-leniency. This is because I accept Murray's thesis, without endorsing his specific arguments for it, that state-leniency is disastrous as a response to crimes against persons and their justly acquired property.

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J. C. Lester
London School of Economics


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