Malum Prohibitum

I don’t think that strip clubs should be shut down and wouldn’t currently support any effort to do so. But, hypothetically, yes, I can imagine research findings that would lead me to support doing just that. Also, the programs supported under the Texas laws, best as I understand, aren’t designed to catch criminals but are “softer” efforts to help people deal with the trauma of sexual abuse. I think that many libertarians would oppose them.

lthough I do think that the “nanny state” has gone much too far, I also believe the State should stop many things simply because of their likely negative consequences. For example, I’d oppose any efforts to end the drug war, allow drunk driving, legalize child pornography, or let individuals own certain types of weapons (i.e. WMDs). On the first item, I’d suspect I’m alone at CEI. On the last three, I suspect that I’d find broad agreement at CEI and, indeed, everywhere else. In fact, the entire Malum prohibitum class of laws exists to prohibit conduct simply because it either leads to bad long-run consequences or grossly offends widely shared values. Unless we really want to sweep away an entire class of law, we have no choice but as to prohibit some practices simply because of their likely consequences. Balancing the need to prohibit some of these things against a the human birthright of freedom is, I believe, the major job of a (small-l) liberal democracy.