Statist claim: Need Justifies Theft.


"Fred wouldn't lend me his lawnmower, and I needed it to cut my lawn; I had no choice but to kill him and take the lawnmower."

"It is moral to steal food to survive."


While it is understandable to most that a person that has truly exhausted his options (unable to find work where he is or move elsewhere to find it, etc. - certainly not the lawnmower example, which is not even "need") may steal, his need does not make it right with respect to enforceable law.

The (legal) morality (that is, the right to use force to oppose it) of the act of theft is not changed by the situation of the thief. The thief should return the stolen item and pay restitution to his victim. The owner of the good stolen may elect to forgive the thief, or forego the retribution in exacting the same cost in return (just demanding to be made whole, i.e., the return of the item) - and only the owner. Third parties have no right to "forgive" on someone else's behalf. They can attempt to persuade the owner; they can even pay for the loss; but only the victim can choose to forgive and forgo. (DBR)