11 Peter AlldridgeDrug dealing is not a matter which has occupied theorists of criminal law
very much. Their staple remains issues of responsibility -- intention, recklessness, voluntariness, acts, and omissions -- centred around the small body
of crimes -- usually offences against the person -- in the context of which
'general principles' are discussed. The refined consideration of questions of
responsibility in those areas provides a marked contrast to the treatment of
drug offences.One of the incidents of concentration upon this small group of offences is
that the theorist seldom has to consider what exactly is wrong with a given
offence. Either that is sufficiently obvious as not to require any explanation
(most clearly in the case of all non-consensual offences against the person),
or it is regarded as the appropriate study of a different discipline (political
philosophy) or there are so many other considerations of a pragmatic nature
which militate for or against criminalization that the moral quality of the act
becomes a marginal consideration or, perhaps cynically, it is an enquiry best
avoided for fear of what might be discovered. Only recently, in consequence,
have questions such as 'What exactly is wrong with blackmail or money
laundering?' seriously been addressed. So long as the purpose of dividing
material is solely to cover ground, its ordering is at best a matter of pedagogical convenience and at worst something purely arbitrary. The analyst
can, however, be more ambitious. An answer to the question 'What exactly
is wrong with the offence in point?' should produce two things:
Dealing with Drug Dealing
|(i) a basis for an analytical critique of non-coherent rules. It will say to
legislators (including judges, if they are legislating), 'If this is the moral
objection to this form of conduct, then this is the criminal law norm
which follows.' Now of course that will not be determinative of the|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Harm and Culpability.
Contributors: A. P. Simester - Editor, A. T. H. Smith - Editor.
Publisher: Clarendon Press.
Place of publication: Oxford.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 239.
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