Everytime a tawdry blackmail story breaks, like the David Letterman case, there’s always a debate about why we have a crime called blackmail.
After all, it’s ok to go to the press with an embarrassing story. And it’s ok to be paid to keep a story quiet. And it’s ok to sue over something embarrassing, but then drop the suit after a multi-million settlement from the accused.
One problem with a purely free market in blackmail, as Steve Sailer points out, is that even after you buy off the accuser, there’s really no guarantee that a few years from now, they won’t just try the same stunt again. That is deeply problematic. Heck, according to Letterman’s monologue on the subject, his accuser threatened to maybe reveal the story, even after receiving the $2 million check.
Anyway, we don’t expect blackmail to become legal anytime soon… but if it did happen, we’d just need to create blackmail escrow accounts.
So, Letterman would pay Halderman $2 million, but Halderman wouldn’t be able to tap that for several years — or perhaps it would pay out over his lifetime in the form of some lifetime annuity that could be revoked, if he’d ever gone to the press with his story.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.