Anarcho-Capitalism and Child Sex Slaves

Natural Rights Anarcho-capitalism is one of the few 21st century political philosophies which justifies child sex slavery. The reason is as follows:

If an individual has the right to self-ownership, that is if they are sufficiently rational in some vague sense to be aware of their self-ownership, then they can make any voluntary contract they choose. One such contract is voluntary slavery and another is sex. Thus if a child develops self-ownership they can now become voluntary slaves and engage in voluntary sex with any other self-owner. It seems reasonable to assume that most 12 year olds would meet this very vague criteria, therefore a 12 year old can become the slave of someone else and engage in voluntary sex.

Now imagine that a 12 year old is very poor and her family is in a huge amount of debt which they cannot pay back. Luckily for her a benevolent 30 year old capitalist offers her a deal. He says “Sign this contract, in which you will become my slave and I have the right to have sex with you, and in exchange I will pay off your family’s debt. “The child agrees because if she does not both her and her family are likely to become homeless and possibly starve to death or die of illness. The child is now a sex slave and all this is morally permissible according to anarcho-capitalist ethics because no property rights have been violated. To put this into anarcho-capitalist language, child sex slavery is just  another voluntary and mutually beneficial contract, and what could be wrong with that? Aside from it violating human dignity and autonomy that is…


3 thoughts on “Anarcho-Capitalism and Child Sex Slaves

  1. Depends what anarcho-capitalism you’re talking about. Utilitarian anarcho-capitalism (i,e. David Friedman et al.) is not, in my opinion, compatible with child sex slavery. In developed nations, I’d be surprised if any hypothetical private law firm would choose to legalise child sex slave contracts. if they did, virtually no parents would sign their children up to “PaedoCorp” private law firm. In some developing countries, less institutional hostility towards paedophilia, as well as the lack of effective enforcement of child exploitation laws, means that the difference between competing private law firms and the state would likely be minimal. Paedophilia will be a problem, anarcho-capitalist society or otherwise, but the real-world ramifications of anarcho-capitalism in both developing and developed nations would not be an increase in paedophilia. If anything, the resultant wealth creation in a free market would mean less children are put in such situations.

    If we talk about Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, you might be on to something. Proving self-ownership through leaving home, Rothbard argues, allows you to make voluntary contracts. I’m unaware that he states otherwise, so presumably this would include child prostitution. Yet the question of slavery is one that polarises even natural-rights anarcho-capitalists. Some use the Rousseauian argument that one cannot sell oneself into slavery for it is contradictory, whereas others would admittedly say that this is fine. Only in that specific conception does anarcho-capitalism allow for this – not a conception I support of course.

    • I assumed that my discussion of self-ownership meant I didn’t have to preface it. I added ‘Natural Rights’ at the start to clear up any confusion or feelings that I was making a claim that doesn’t apply to all ancaps as if it did.

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