Friday, March 7, 2014
Does Prohibiting Prostitution Enhance Freedom?
A rebuttal of Mr. Hampson's rebuttal of Anthony Furey's Libertarian defense legalizing Prostitution
Mr. Hampson has attempted to rebut a rational defense of prostitution with an emotional justification for state paternalism. His argument presumes that human beings aspire to be indolent ne’er-do-wells, who, without the states intervention would become ideal fodder for manipulation by tyrants. They just don’t know what is best for them without his help.
Freedom is a two edged sword. It requires one to be responsible for one’s actions and most importantly to bear the consequences of those actions. The described man who only wishes to smoke marijuana and immerse himself in Pop culture must at least create enough wealth to pay for cable TV & his supply of pot in a free society. Only overbearing parents or the Nanny State could enable this lifestyle without contributions from the under achiever.
It is responsibility that gives human life its dignity. This is why slavery, initiated violence against others and child pornography are wrong. The use of force robs an individual of the dignity of responsibility and compels them to accept the consequences of someone else’s actions. Hence, the use of force by the state to engineer proper behavior in its citizens is inherently degrading.
By prohibiting prostitution the state is in effect creating a protected market for criminals who can demand high margins for a service with supply that is artificially constrained. In a free society it is a fallacy to claim that a woman is “being bought” and used. By her own volition she or he has traded value for value from a negotiated agreement.
Freedom also provides a moderating force to self-destructive activities. The freedom to speak one’s mind in a forum that does not violate the rights of others could be used to impart moral lessons and wisdom to all who would listen. It also provides us with the ability to use our compassion freely to whomever we think is worthy.
One can only conclude that by prohibiting sovereign individuals from engaging in an activity like prostitution the state has robbed us of the dignity of responsibility. This, I counter, makes us much more susceptible to tyrannical manipulation than if we truly were to choose our own course of action.