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Vigilantism

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So, you'd be taking them away from slavery...and, in return, making them your own slaves?  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

No. I just want to be paid in pancakes. Pancakes aren't inherently evil are they?

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When I said:

I was thinking nemethnm was talking about a proper government.  Apparently, he was referring to something else.  Apparently, nemethnm thinks that during that time a government that supported slavery was a proper government (or a close proximation thereof).

That being the case, I withdraw my erroneous attempt to expound on his statement, and note my disagreement as to his idea of a proper government.

That makes two of us who do not agree that a slaveholding state is a proper government.

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How does one actually *know* someone is guilty if it couldn't even be established in a court of law?

One point of due process is to get at this epistemic question of *knowing* someone is guilty.

Eye-witness testimony being disbelieved? If I watched my friend being beaten up by a group of thugs but the evidence wasn't strong enough for a conviction (for instance, if it ended up as our word against theirs), I would certainly know they were guilty. I'd also probably support my friend if he were to seek revenge afterwards.

As to whether this is constiutes the promotion of anarchism, I don't believe that it does, unless you wish to declare that all criminal activity furthers anarchism. If I were to help my friend, I would be committing a crime in full awareness that my actions were illegal, and (under these circumstances) would understand why the state would have to take action against me if I were to be caught. I wouldnt be disregarding the law or questioning its existence, and indeed I would even support it in this case. I would simply be choosing to disobey it, as any criminal does.

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Eye-witness testimony being disbelieved? If I watched my friend being beaten up by a group of thugs but the evidence wasn't strong enough for a conviction (for instance, if it ended up as our word against theirs), I would certainly know they were guilty. I'd also probably support my friend if he were to seek revenge afterwards.

As to whether this is constiutes the promotion of anarchism, I don't believe that it does, unless you wish to declare that all criminal activity furthers anarchism. I

I'm not a fan of following law for the sake of law. The law is a tool to uphold justice. When that aim fails, therein lies the inclination to vigilante justice.

Another example would be the acquital of O.J. For those who think he's guilty the fact that he was judged not guilty does not make it so. If O.J. were to be murdered in secret it would certainly be illegal. There are many who would claim that it was also moral.

A better example would be the question if you knew an aquaintance stole your CD but you could not prove it in court, would you snatch the CD back if you had the opportunity? With this example we avoid the quandry of whether capital punishment is ethical or not.

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Eye-witness testimony being disbelieved? If I watched my friend being beaten up by a group of thugs but the evidence wasn't strong enough for a conviction (for instance, if it ended up as our word against theirs), I would certainly know they were guilty. I'd also probably support my friend if he were to seek revenge afterwards.

As to whether this is constiutes the promotion of anarchism, I don't believe that it does, unless you wish to declare that all criminal activity furthers anarchism. If I were to help my friend, I would be committing a crime in full awareness that my actions were illegal, and (under these circumstances) would understand why the state would have to take action against me if I were to be caught. I wouldnt be disregarding the law or questioning its existence, and indeed I would even support it in this case. I would simply be choosing to disobey it, as any criminal does.

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable as evidence.

The point of a court of law is that in principle everyone in society can view the process whereby guilt was proven. If you go and kill him and say "Oh I watched him do X, I know he did it", then I have nothing but your word to go on. All I know is you killed someone that you couldn't even prove committed the crime you killed him for. In other words your reasoning is irrelevant, and you are guilty of murder.

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A better example would be the question if you knew an aquaintance stole your CD but you could not prove it in court, would you snatch the CD back if you had the opportunity? With this example we avoid the quandry of whether capital punishment is ethical or not.

If you cannot prove it how do you really "know" he did it? You cannot drop the context and say you "know" something without establishing how you know it.

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Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable as evidence.

Not to me, if I was the eye-witness. I was giving you an example of a case where the vigalante would have access to information the jury wouldnt, hence allowing him to be sure about the suspect's guilt even if the court wasnt. If I watched my friend getting beaten up, I would know beyond all reasonable doubt that the suspects were guilty. Since the jury would only have access to my word, rather than my experiences, there's a decent chance my testimony would be rejected causing the suspects to be found innocent.

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If you cannot prove it how do you really "know" he did it?  You cannot drop the context and say you "know" something without establishing how you know it.

You've got it on videotape but the judge won't allow the tape into evidence.

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Not to me, if I was the eye-witness. I was giving you an example of a case where the vigalante would have access to information the jury wouldnt, hence allowing him to be sure about the suspect's guilt even if the court wasnt. If I watched my friend getting beaten up, I would know beyond all reasonable doubt that the suspects were guilty. Since the jury would only have access to my word, rather than my experiences, there's a decent chance my testimony would be rejected causing the suspects to be found innocent.

First of all since I am assuming we are referring to the American legal system...A person cannot be "found innocent" in a court of law. The person is assumed to be innocent until demonstrated to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

I guess I was assuming in the case of the vigilante that society would look the other way at what they did.

As far as society is concerned the vigilante is nothing more than a common criminal who should be prosecuted and tried for the crime they commit. If the original guilt can not be established beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law then it is not a defense for the vigilante. The vigilante is a common criminal and nothing else, and should be tried as such. The statement "I knew he did it" is no defense at all.

So sure, if you know they did it and you want to punish them, you can commit the crime you want to to do it and face the consequences.

Society must treat the vigilante as a criminal (which is really all that the vigilante is despite the exhalted title).

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You've got it on videotape but the judge won't allow the tape into evidence.

Why wont the judge allow it as evidence. There are very good reasons for disallowing evidence. Usually because the police obtained it illegally.

The police have no right to violate the law. If you start allowing the police to violate the law, that just gives them incentive to continue violating the law. Pretty soon the law has become meaningless.

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The U.S. was, in the north, a close approximation of Capitalism throughout most of the nineteenth century. The south has never really had an approximation to capitalism due to slavery and after the civil war its “Jim Crow” laws. Of course, the country as a whole hasn’t been an approximation to capitalism maybe since the Federal Reserve System was made and definitely after FDR’s New Deal legislation.

The main issue of vigilantism is that in a proper society a member of such has given up all claims to retaliatory force to the government. The use of such force is thus subject to the laws that define the institutions of the government and its statutes which describe objectively the various crimes as well as the punishment for those found guilty of such crimes. Even in the case of a vigilante correctly knowing the guilt of somebody who has escaped the legal system the vigilante is not right in pursuing his own justice since to do so would undermine the primary principle of a government; namely that it has a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force. It is this, then, the very undermining of the foundation of a government, which is its monopoly on retaliatory force, that I say is the reason vigilantism furthers anarchy.

Yes, sometimes a few guilty parties would slip through the cracks for various reason but such cases would be the exception and not the norm.

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