David Z., of no third solution, thinks he can reinterpret Block’s Corollary (i.e. the argument that belief in property logically entails belief in criminal activities like sexual harassment, and so on, being justified as long as they occur on the criminal’s property) in a way that somehow proves capitalism right. Here is the reasoning used by David to show the correct “anarcho”-capitalist view on these matters:
To the extent that Block believes an ambiguous employment agreement grants the employer unlimited license to molest his employees, absolutely he is a raving ass…
If she did not agree to be sexually harassed because these terms were not presented to her, then there was no meeting of the minds, and on general principles of law and reason, the uninvited and unwelcome intrusion into her personal space—indeed her being—is in-fact coercive, and worthy of derision…
If she did agree (in which case it’s not harassment), and later decides she is no longer satisfied with the arrangements, then no the employer is guilty of no specific wrongdoing, and yes she ought to leave.
Let’s make this clear. David’s whole objection to sexual harassment, or, we assume, any other breach of a person’s rights in the workplace is… that the contract is too vague! Apart from that, he sees absolutely nothing wrong with sexual harassment!
This sort of vulgar, simplistic simulacrum of “moral reasoning” that “anarcho”-capitalists spout whenever they are cornered highlights very well the hollow nature of their ideology, and ultimately its subjectivist underpinning. For the “anarcho”-capitalist, price is purely the result of desire expressed as paying or accepting amounts of money (subjective theory of value), and morality is purely the result of desire expressed as contracts. No real-life consideration ever enters their picture; no principle, apart from “to the strongest go the spoils.”
In David’s worldview, if there is an agreement (i.e. desires are aligned with each other), then the very nature of the action changes. “[I]t’s not harassment” any more. The sexual harassment of a boss on her secretary becomes foreplay, we suppose. And if she refuses to have sex with the boss, why, she should be fired. That’s only reasonable, isn’t it?
Sexual perversions aside, other people’s desires do not change the nature of an action. At our current workplaces, we are forced to accept the partial or complete surrender of our right to privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of movement, and some other freedoms so basic that we don’t even think about them (such as the right to choose our own clothes). We sign contracts clearly stipulating these and other indignities. Does this make attacks against free speech, privacy, and so on, moral? By what magic does a piece of paper transform the very facts of reality that make something unethical, into something ethical?
Certainly few people actually want to have their rights taken away. But we have no choice but to accept this state of affairs if we want to work. There may be a voluntary component (no one, after all, forced me to sign my employment contract at gunpoint), but there is no choice and no consent possible. Consent cannot exist without viable alternatives.
Let us be clear. “Anarcho”-capitalists tout voluntaryism as the alpha and the omega of ethics. But any Anarchist should reject this view. The concept of voluntary action without consent, theoretical freedom without actual freedom, in short of contractual anomie, is a bitter joke and the opposite of what Anarchists stand for.
Voluntaryism is only workable, if at all, in the idealized version of capitalism proposed by Austrian economics and “anarcho”-capitalists, as discussed by Walter Block. Benevolent overseers will steal even more surplus from the workers to compensate himself from having to swallow his pride in foregoing pinching women’s butts. What a fantastic world we are presented with, what social progress this would engender! And this is supposed to be an Anarchist ideal?
No, don’t be fooled by lunatics like Walter Block and David Z. This has nothing to do with Anarchism. It is the Anarchism part of “anarcho”-capitalism that attracted me to that fraudulent ideology, and it is the Anarchism part that got me out of it. Capitalism is the fraudulent part, that which contradicts and hollows out any principles that the Anarchism part may bring to the table.
David Z. also argues that using the Block quote against “anarcho”-capitalists is a straw man.
Does it boil down to “property” at some level? Kind of, but not really. At least not entirely, as Tremblay presumes. “Property” is not the whole story, nor is it even a crucial determinant in evaluating this scenario. Block is wrong, not because of his belief in property rights, but because an argument resting solely on this premise is as stupid as a football bat.
This is pure hypocrisy on David’s part. Property is the whole story. Without the property claim, there would be no reason to try to measure what limits can be put on the owner’s sovereign control, since no such sovereignty would actually exist. It is only because a property claim exists that he can indulge in such fantasies as determining when it is all right for a single man to engage in criminal activities on his own property.
It merely shows that there is no difference between the claims of a monopoly of force called “government,” and a monopoly of force called “propertarian.”
David Z. also contends that I am defining the Block Corollary as “a singular, authoritative “anarcho-capitalist” ethos.” I agree with him that doing such a thing would be ridiculous. Indeed, I do know that most “anarcho”-capitalists do not defend sexual harassment (although, yes, some actually have defended Block’s position in the past). But this only shows how utterly incoherent their position is. If property is valid, then sexual harassment must be valid as well. If sexual harassment is invalid, then property, and “anarcho”-capitalism, are nonsense.
For another refutation of David’s amoral subjectivist propaganda, see Does private property facilitate sexual harassment?, by Division by Zero.