There are three types of “crimes”, however two of those should not be considered as such. Let me explain.
1) Crimes against so called natural rights, conferred by natural law. Natural rights are universal ethical rules, developed over thousands of years and e. g. to be found in the commandments of all large religions. These natural rights link the Non Aggression Principle (NAP) to the respect for private property- you shall not kill, steal, covet your neighbor’s house, use violence or offer violence against any other person except in self-defense etc. Nobody should be coerced into a contract and thus all contracts should be based on voluntariness. The victims of crimes against these natural rights are always individuals.
2) Crimes directed at the state with the state as “victim”. Examples are inter alia tax evasion, tax fraud, objection to military service (i.e. slave labor) and damaging or stealing state property.
3) Victimless crimes against state statutes and rules.
Let’s now scrutinize these three kinds of “criminal acts” more closely.
A criminal act harming natural rights is always directed at a private person and/or private property. Natural rights are the basic conditions of peaceful coexistence between human beings and the prerequisite for a market economy with voluntary exchange of goods and services creating prosperity for everyone, a.k.a. capitalism. State-issued statutes, based on violence and force, and natural rights are incompatible. The state often masquerades statutes as entitlements and rights when in reality they are nothing but arbitrarily created and thinly veiled injustice, serving primarily the state’s and its cronies’ interests. Already the ancient Romans knew the difference between statute (lex) and law (ius). They considered law to be ethical rules guiding the coexistence and cooperation between human beings. Statutes on the other hand were issued by the state in order to implement rules and commands which had to be followed by the citizens. The state, based on its monopoly on the use of force usurped a monopoly on issuing statutes in order to exert power over the people, enforcing these rules by violence or threat of violence. Statutes are almost always in contradiction to the people’s sense about what is right and just. They are drafted in an incomprehensible language with the purpose of executing power. That’s why people have to hire attorneys to get help in lawsuits.
What is a “criminal act” directed against the state? For instance tax evasion, refusal to pay taxes and rejection to be called up for military service are deemed “criminal acts”, harming the state. But the so called military duty must be considered as slave labor because it is compelled and always paid for far below any minimum wages. Another crime against the state allegedly is to steal or damage state property, a behavior which was very common in the communist Soviet Union. There was always a lack in toilet paper in Soviet hospitals, light bulbs disappeared as did all things easily removable.
But there is a moral dilemma, which is the crucial point and a priori puts the state in the wrong: actions deemed crimes with regards to individuals, for example to defraud, to blackmail or to resort to violence and kill, are thought to be absolutely legitimate for the state. From not only an ethical point of view but also in legal regards the state therefore should be considered a slave holder, a blackmailer and a murderer. The difference between the state and the Mafia is marginal – the state is bigger, more powerful, and less able to act and think economically. Both use extortion to finance themselves, the only difference being that the state extorts accompanied by deception. How so? Both promise “protection” but usually the Mafia keeps that promise while the state only pretends to and is neither really interested nor very efficient at giving cover. And the state forces every entrepreneur to obey vast amounts of hampering and annoying regulations, causing unnecessary expenses and losses. This suggests the assumption that rule by the Mafia would be economically more favorable for enterprises than state rule.
To prosecute and punish victimless crimes is completely preposterous. Hundreds of new regulations, all of them useless and issued only in the interest of the state and its cronies, are enacted every year, making normal and harmless behavior punishable offenses. But why at all should the state prosecute and punish people when they are not harming anyone? The fundamental question in this context is: who owns you and your body and who should control and decide what you do with or put into your body? It’s none of the state’s business what an individual is doing to his body. Every person is the exclusive proprietor of his own physical body.