3/12/08

Dershowitz on victimless crimes

I have conflicting feelings watching Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz discuss Eliot Spitzer's troubles. On the one hand, I'm yelling, "you idiot!" But then just as quickly, "damn, that's a good point."

What I've liked about Dershowitz for quite some time is his attack on victimless crimes and outdated laws. Of course, when someone says "victimless" crime, busybodies will find someone--a wife, girlfriend--who has bruised feelings and call that person a victim. If that doesn't work, then "society" is said to be threatened. My understanding is that "victimless crime" is meant in a legal sense--adultery is a civil, not legal, wrong.

In his 1992 book Contrary to Popular Opinion, Dershowitz attacks victimless crimes and outdated laws, concluding one column: "The righteous hypocrite vote in this country has always been stronger than the vice vote."

CJL