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Confess, or put the past behind you

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Hazmatac
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Hi, I am just wondering what your opinion would be about doing a crime but not getting caught. Would it be best to confess, and except the punishment? Or just let the past stay in the past and just not do it again? And why? Thank you in advance.

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Um, what's the crime? Why did you commit it? What is the punishment likely to be? Was it an *immoral* act in addition to being a criminal one?

These generic context-less hypothetical questions really can't be answered, you know. That's how Objectivism works.

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Hiding a crime is itself a vice, which is to say that it is harmful to one's own interests. Even if he is never caught or even suspected by other men, a man who hides his crime persists in living in opposition to his own nature. He can never fully face reality because he must always act as if part of it weren't so. His dishonesty enslaves him to a fiction instead of allowing him to address reality head-on.

For a man's soul to be whole, he must not be at war with any part of reality. Although joy is possible to men who commit hidden crimes, happiness, which a joy that does not clash with his other values, is not.

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Hiding a crime is itself a vice, which is to say that it is harmful to one's own interests. Even if he is never caught or even suspected by other men, a man who hides his crime persists in living in opposition to his own nature. He can never fully face reality because he must always act as if part of it weren't so. His dishonesty enslaves him to a fiction instead of allowing him to address reality head-on.

For a man's soul to be whole, he must not be at war with any part of reality. Although joy is possible to men who commit hidden crimes, happiness, which a joy that does not clash with his other values, is not.

The problem is, what if it is a crime that you believe shouldn't exist? A crime which you believe violates your rights? In that case you may do the crime, hide it, and still be psychologically healthy because you are convinced of your righteousness. Perhaps you could make the argument that all lies are essentially a rejection of reality, but I don't believe that either. Context is extremely important in these kinds of questions.

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The problem is, what if it is a crime that you believe shouldn't exist? A crime which you believe violates your rights? In that case you may do the crime, hide it, and still be psychologically healthy because you are convinced of your righteousness. Perhaps you could make the argument that all lies are essentially a rejection of reality, but I don't believe that either. Context is extremely important in these kinds of questions.

Given the original statement and question, there is no reason to believe that the crime committed was anything other than an objectively vicious act.

Of course context is vital - to all knowledge - but you have to start with the basic context. Exceptional contexts can be considered after the principle is established. If Hazmatac wants clarification, I'm sure he'll elaborate.

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There are cases where some vicious criminal behavior isn't worth confessing, like, say when you were 13 you shoplifted a candy bar from a store that has since closed because the owner moved to a different city. There's no possible way it's worth the effort to track that person down in order to give them thirty-five cents. Heck, they'd probably think you were a psychopath and refuse to open their door to take the money in the first place. For certain acts of low-level stupidity the only restitution/confession you need to make is to resolve not to do it again and STICK to it.

I'd say also that there are some cases where you should *never* confess simply because the act of confessing can completely screw you over. If the state wants to brand you as a felon because you knocked over someone's mailbox, then the state can damn well prove it themselves. I'd be hard-put to decide whether someone ought to confess to, say, murder or rape or aggravated assault, but if you're engaging in those activities there's ALREADY something seriously wrong with you and the question of whether it's even POSSIBLE for you to make restitution by ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER is the significant issue that has to be answered before you can even start considering how you'd go about it.

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There are cases where some vicious criminal behavior isn't worth confessing, like, say when you were 13 you shoplifted a candy bar from a store that has since closed because the owner moved to a different city.

Okay, I'm trying to imagine that if the theft of a candy bar by a 13 year is 'vicious', where does that leave room on the scale for assault, robbery, murder? (Yea, I know, I'm being a smartass <_< )

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Haha, yeah, maybe "vicious" is a little strong, it was just the same word that the previous poster used and it serves the purpose of distinguishing it from a young kid who, say, got confused and took a piece of candy because she thought it was free, which I did once when I was 6--my mom made me go back to the store and apologize and give them their three cents. I've never been so embarrassed in my life, especially because the cashier gave me this look like "what the hell"? If you're doing something that embarrassing, it doesn't help much if the other people involved are baffled and don't take you seriously. :pimp:

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