It would be easy to assume that initiated force is the only wrong libertarians care about. But what about fraud? Is fraud wrong? Of course it is, but mainly when it’s used with the same aim as initiated force. After all…

Little white lies are a form of fraud, but no one thinks anyone should be imprisoned for telling them.

Fraud matters in a legal sense when it results in physical harm or property loss. If you tell lies to take property from someone then that’s similar to robbing them at the point of a gun. In other words…

The crime of fraud is initiated force by other means.

Legitimate government can prosecute any fraud that has the same effect as initiated force. And, if a jury renders a guilty verdict, the person who committed the fraud should be required to compensate the person he or she defrauded. This fits the defensive function of legitimate government.

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By Perry Willis & Jim Babka


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