In recent and not so recent controversy surrounding the question of force, the question of proportionality often comes up. In a recent article I discussed some extreme examples, mostly for fun, but let’s take a closer look at the question of proportionality of force.
“Thus, it should be quite clear that, under libertarian law, capital punishment would have to be confined strictly to the crime of murder. For a criminal would only lose his right to life if he had first deprived some victim of that same right. It would not be permissible, then, for a merchant whose bubble gum had been stolen, to execute the convicted bubble gum thief. If he did so, then he, the merchant, would be an unjustifiable murderer, who could be brought to the bar of justice by the heirs or assigns of the bubble gum thief.”
Well, let’s just go ahead and stick with this extreme example. I’ve already been accused of wanting to kill little girls who step on flowers, mailmen, and paperclip snatchers, might as well add bubble gum thieves to my list of harmless victims.
When should you shoot a bubble gum thief?