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Join the conversation! There are now 11 comments on “Strict Liability pg 16
  1. Chris Katko says

    That is an absolutely mind blowing revelation. Thank you, sincerely.

  2. Dhamon says

    Sooooooo….. Are we going to the Library of Congress, getting out all the law books and regulations and having a barbeque?

  3. Hailey says

    wait a second, what about laws that are meant to regulate businesses, like the sherman anti-trust law (i’m sure there’s better examples, but that’s the only one that comes to mind). And how can we effectively write laws regulating actions that harm society, like increasing smog efficiency requirements for cars? Under this definition, a law like that would be ‘unprincipled.’ hovever rising pollution levels present a clear and present danger to society, and we desperately need a solution to decrease pollution. if creating new laws like the ones shown above is a poor solution, then how can we facilitate needed societal change? there’s probably other examples than the pollution one, but your use of the gas-car-ban example above brought this one to mind. Also, I love this comic.

    • Good question. I would think that pollution laws would fall under society’s current definition of unacceptable behavior (although the level that would be recognized as a threat, and the cause that was liable might be subject to debate) and therefore be appropriate for criminal laws. Unfortunately I see imposing ones values on others as a very human trait.

    • For the purpose of preventing over-criminalization, you could just make it a civilian offense to knowingly drive a gas-powered car with civilian penalties like fines and seizure of the car rather than criminal penalties like imprisonment or execution. More generally, you cannot use criminal law to actively make society change its ways. But you can use civilian law and civilian penalties to actively make society change its ways.

      • You still have the problem that your poor driver has done nothing wrong, and therefore probably doesn’t know they’re breaking the law. Lowering the penalties does nothing to address this core problem.

        • How does making it no longer a criminal offense not address the problem? I think the question of whether or not *civil* offenses should be handled the same way is an entirely different subject.

        • In that case you could just impose a tax on gasoline powered cars instead of outlawing them. Raising the effective cost of anything consistently makes people use less of it through the substitution effect. More importantly, when you discourage behavior through specific taxes you can make the legal incidence of the tax fall on the manufacturer or distributor so that ordinary consumers will never have to worry about breaking the law just by buying and using a common product.

  4. WJS says

    As I understand it, tacking on extras that are unrelated to the main purpose of a bill (forcing congress to accept or reject both together) is a huge flaw with the system, but it’s one that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon because they’re all so fond of using it themselves.

    • I doubt that any legislation would ever be passed at all without the ability to tack on extras. Most professional politicians never vote for anything unless something that their constituents have explicitly said they want is in it.

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