His commentary is worth a read for those interested in this topic. To summarize:
For reasons too obvious to need elaboration, a system of justice aimed at restitution makes eminently good sense, especially from a libertarian perspective. Someone is wronged, so the perpetrator should, to the extent possible, make things right.
…the principle of restitution undercuts the case for punishment, correction, and deterrence as direct objectives of the justice system. The point isn’t to make perpetrators suffer or to reform them or to make potential perpetrators think twice. What good are those to the present victim? Correction, deterrence, and even some suffering (say, shame and embarrassment) may be natural byproducts of a system of restitution, but they are not proper objectives, for where could a right to do more than require restitution come from?
He concludes that restitution is as far as the NAP allows; one of my concerns with this view is that it offers basically a free-ride to the offender – if the offender is caught, all he loses is the property he never would have otherwise had in the first place (setting aside aggressions against the physical body, which opens up a different set of issues). Heads, I win; tails, I don’t lose.
Richman, however, deals with my concern by leaving room for dealing with repeat offenders:
…a perpetrator who presents a continuing and persistent threat to others might legitimately be confined for reasons of community self-defense, not for punishment, reform, or deterrence.
In my previous post on this topic, I offered definitions to some of these terms and others – terms that describe more than restitution when considering the proper response to violations of the NAP. While rejecting these alternative ends, Richman offers a situation where something more than restitution is acceptable: when faced with a repeat offender, locking him up is acceptable when done for the purpose of self-defense.
It seems to me that this still leaves the interpretation and application to the standards agreed upon within a given community. A “continuing and persistent threat” is a subjective criterion that must be put into objective form – a jail cell is completely objective, after all.
The objective form given to this subjective criterion must be one acceptable to the community, else it will not last. So, while I thank Richman for helping to sharpen my vision a bit on this topic, in the end I am at the same place where I have been almost from the beginning of this journey – ultimately the response to a violation of the NAP must be acceptable to the larger community, else the community will not thrive and may not survive.