Hilariously overblown

From a comment on the Magistrate\’s blog:

A burglar or shoplifter commits a malicious act of evil each time he commits his crime. The results may be less painful to the victims and their families [than being killed by a Mr Toad driver], but the stain on the soul of the criminal is much darker.

Now, burglary is a horrible thing to experience, so fair play, sort of. But the idea that shoplifting is a \”malicious act of evil\” is frankly one of the maddest things I\’ve ever read.

There is no moral aspect to shoplifting. Simply none. Nobody is harmed by it. I repeat, nobody. If you think shopkeepers or shareholders are harmed by it in any morally meaningful sense, then you are an idiot.

We need laws against shoplifting, because otherwise the current economic system would not be sustainable. But they are like laws against revealing commercial secrets and copying creative works – only people with no understanding of what morality means can believe that the breach of such laws is a moral offence rather than merely an administative one.

10 thoughts on “Hilariously overblown

  1. You do not feel that stealing is morally wrong then? Is morality based on whether or not somebody is hurt in an act?

    Do you feel that cheating on your wife is morally wrong, even if they never find out?


  2. Geoff says:

    “Do you feel that cheating on your wife is morally wrong, even if they never find out?”

    By cheating on your wife you place her at perpetual risk of harm, so not quite there with the analogy.

  3. 1skeptic says:

    Caused plenty of harm to me when I ran a shop. You don’t think its meaningful? I owned the stuff
    in the shop. People took it away without paying. Picture yourself getting pickpocketed for £20-£60 every week, and see how that feels

  4. WebSurfer says:

    I agree it’s a question of degree – that physical harm is unacceptable, burglery is shit and shoplifing is naughty – but all theft is wrong and does cause problems.

    I agree that shoplifing is not “a malicious act of evil” however.

  5. pdf says:

    dk – as geoff says. also, there’s a whole moral element in relationships that is absent from transactions: I would have no problem lying to a salesman about my intentions, whereas I wouldn’t lie about my intentions to a partner.

    skeptic – so, did you move to a ‘goods locked up behind the counter’ model? if not, you made the commercial decision to tolerate a certain level of shoplifting in order to maximise profits. there is no morality or immorality in yours or the shoplifters’ actions.


  6. Neil says:

    You don’t hear the wholesalers complaining about the £20-£60 extra business every week, either.

  7. Beatniksalad says:

    You’re all talking bollocks. Especially Geoff and Pig Dog Fuckerman. But I can’t be bothered to tell you why.

  8. merrick says:

    I agree there’s a scale of bad (violence/burglary/shoplifting), but there’s also a scale within shoplifting.

    If 1skeptic ran a small independent shop selling things needed by the community and the profits supported 1skeptic’s family in the area, that’s a whole different deal to nicking a bottle of vodka from Tesco’s.

    The supermarket is essentially a giant money siphon, hoovering out the area’s wealth to shareholders far away.

    Nicking from your cornershop does some harm, but do it from the corporate chains and they won’t feel it and in all likelihood won’t even notice.

    The only damage is the most microscopic impact on the shareholder dividends. Forgive me for not shedding any tears.

    Tesco lose more money than that for every office worker who checks their emails on work time. Anyone want to say going on the internet at work puts ‘a dark stain on your soul’? Thought not.

  9. Rob says:

    It has, however, gotten me quite comprehensively fired once.

  10. Rob says:

    It has, however, gotten me quite comprehensively fired once. I did send disabled porn to my boss, however, so I probably deserved it, in their eyes at least.

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