OT - Re: Microsoft Hatred FAQ

Tim Daneliuk tundra at tundraware.com
Fri Nov 4 00:05:44 CET 2005

Steven D'Aprano wrote:

> On Thu, 03 Nov 2005 14:56:44 -0500, Tim Daneliuk wrote:
>>There is a difference between what is *illegal* and what constitutes
>>a *crime*.
> Why thank you, you've really made my day. That's the funniest thing I've
> heard in months. Please, do tell, which brand of corn flakes was it that
> you got your law degree from?

<Small Words & Simple Concepts Mode>

"Crime" is at least partly a moral precept. More properly, "crime" is a
term that broadly embraces the idea of "harm" especially to others.

"Illegal" is a exclusively a legal precept. It is a "crime" to murder
someone, but if the state cannot prove your guilt you are found to have
done nothing "illegal", for example.

We would hope that the latter proceeds from the former, but it does not
always. You would be doing something that is illegal if you smoked
marijuana, but by no rational definition would have actually committed
moral foul or "crime" (except, possibly, upon yourself).

I realize these two words are conflated in common use and am thus
sympathetic to your confusion. This is my fault. What I actually should
have written in the first place was:

    There is a difference between what is *wrong* (and thus ought to
    be illegal) and what actually constitutes a formally illegal act
    as a matter of law.  We'd like the two to be isomorphic but they
    are not due to self-important busybodies telling everyone else what
    to do.

Clearer now?

Tim Daneliuk     tundra at tundraware.com
PGP Key:         http://www.tundraware.com/PGP/

More information about the Python-list mailing list