4. “Recompense for Fear: Is Forced Russian Roulette Just?”


Abstract: In this paper I examine Dr. Walter Block’s argument that a criminal should be forced to play Russian roulette with himself to compensate for the fear he caused his victim, with the number of bullets and chambers reflecting the fear caused. I argue that although this will yield the necessary fear that is part of the retributive justice due to the criminal, it is not libertarian justice because of the statistical expected value of the harm done to the criminal. Even if the threat of death is only used as leverage for the victim to demand a large payout to prevent it, thus preventing wealthy criminals from buying their way out of crimes, this leverage is unjust and leads to unjust exchanges.