So I posted that quote from Walter Block about sexual harassment being AOKed by property theory… and I have been told of the publication it’s from, The Libertarian Forum. I thought, well, maybe in context it seems more rational. As it turns out, I was totally wrong. It is actually worse than the quote indicated.
But the sad thing is, it really shows the logical consequences of the belief in property. Once you accept that much degree of control over other people’s actions, then you can justify any degree of control. “Anarcho”-capitalists will complain that Block’s ravings are not indicative of their beliefs, but they will remain utterly unable to explain why he’s wrong without contradicting their own beliefs (in fact, some ancaps who have talked to Noor about this have said that they agree with Block, which shows how utterly bankrupt their ideology is). Please keep in mind that Walter Block is one of the foremost representants of the ancap ideology.
(bold is mine, and all remaining errors are the fault of Acrobat Reader)
Another type of pinching or sexual harassment is that between a secretary and her boss. Although to many people, and especially to many people in the women’s liberation movement, there is no real difference between this pinching and the pinching that occurs on the street, the fact is that the pinching that takes place between a secretary and her boss, while objectionable to many women, is not a coercive action. It is not a coercive action like the pinching that takes place in the public sphere because it is part of a package deal: the secretary agrees to all aspects of the job when she agrees to accept the job and especially when she agrees to keep the job. A woman walking along a public sidewalk, on the other hand. can by no means be considered to have given her permission, or tacitly agreed to begin pinched. The street is not the complete private property of the pincher, as is the office. On the contrary, if the myths of democracy are to be given any credence at all, the streets belong to the people. All the people. Even including women.
There is a serious problem with considering pinching or sexual molestation in a privately owned office or store to be coercive. If an action is really and truly coercive, it ought to be outlawed. But if pinching and sexual molestation are outlawed in private places, this violates the rights of those who voluntarily wish to engage in such practices. And there is certainly nothing coercive about any voluntary sex practices between consenting adults. The proof of the voluntary nature of an act in a private place is that the person endangered (the woman, in the cases we have been considering) has no claim whatsoever to the private place in question, the office or the store. If she continues to patronize or work at a place where she is molested, it can only be voluntary. But in a public place, no such presumption exists. As we have seen, according to accepted theory at least, the public domain is owned by all, women included. It would be just as illegitimate to assume that a woman gave tacit agreement to being molested on the public street because she was walking there as it would be to assume that she gave tacit agreement to an assault in her own house, because she happened to be there.
There are many other cases of actions taken against women that are not strictly speaking, coercive. Or more exactly, there are many other instances where many women feel put upon, but where there is no coercion at all involved such as referring to women with sex organ-linked expletives. the sexual double standard mores; many rules of etiquette such as the ones concern who proceeds whom out of the elevator. the encouragement of the mental capacity of boys and discouragement of girls, the societal opprobrium of women participating in “men’s” athletic activities; the pedestals that women are placed upon. There are two important points to be made with regard to these insults and other exacerbations which do not constitute coercion. 1) Although considered reprehensible by many, none of these actions actually constitute coercion, therefore it would be illegitimate to outlaw them. Any attempt to outlaw them would involve the mass violation of rights of other individuals in the society. After all, it is the right of free speech that gives us the right not to utter things that everyone agrees with – which do not need free speech protection in any case, but the right to utter reprehensible things, things in poor taste, boorish things. 2) To a much greater degree than realized by many, certainly to a much greater degree than realized by many who consider themselves advocates of women’s liberation, these reprehensible but non-coercive actions are engendered by reprehensible coercive activities. Were these coercive activites to cease, the free market would tend to rid us of many of these reprehensible but non-coercive acts.
Let us consider the case of bosses pinching secretaries and see how the market would tend to eliminate such unwanted activity, were the coercive and reprehensible activity of taxation to support government bureaucracy eliminated. In order to see this, we must first understand what the labor economist calls “compensating differentials”. A compensating differential is an amount of money just necessary to compensate an employee for the psychic losses that go with a job. For instance, consider two job opportunities. One is in an air-conditioned office, with a good view, with pleasant surroundings and pleasant companions: The other is in a damp, dank basement, surrounded by evil smelling fellow workers. Now there is some wage differential large enough to attract most people into accepting the less pleasant job. This will vary for different people, depending upon their relative tastes for the working conditions in the two places. There might even be a negative compensating differential for those who prefer the basement job. They would be willing to take a salary cut rather than move to the office job.
The same analysis can be applied to the case of the office pincher. On the assumption that all women would prefer not to be pinched, and that bosses vary in their desires to so indulge, there will be a whole range of wage rates paid to otherwise equally productive secretaries, depending on the proclivity of their bosses to engage in sexual harassment. There will be a positive relationship between the amount of sexual harassment and the wage rate that the bosses find thay must pay. But now contrast the boss of a private business with the boss in a government bureaucracy. Even on the assumption that both bosses on the average have the same proclivity to engage in sexual harassment, it is clear that the private boss will have to pay for his little gambols, while the public one will not. The secretaries of both private and public pinchers will have to earn more than the secretaries of the non-pinchers. The compensating differential. The main difference between the private and the public pincher is that the extra money comes out of tax monies for the latter and out of his own money for the former. Even in the case of a private boss-pincher who is not the ultimate owner of the business, the same applies, only now slightly more indirectly. The ultimate owner of the business, in addition to losing money if he himself is a pincher, also loses money if any of his executives are pinchers. So in addition to having a monetary incentive to cut down on his own pinching, he also has a monetary incentive to try to stop all the bosses in his company from so doing.
This might not seem like much of an incentive to stop pinching. But it is an improvement over the public case where these disincentives are completely lacking. This way of looking at the problem, however, has more merit than might be readily apparent. One reason pinching does not come to an abrupt end even in the private market is because many women are by no means unalterably opposed to being pinched, as we have been assuming. But the analysis can be applied to the more realistic cases where women are being harassed and mistreated and do object.
Feel free to reproduce this Block quote in part or in total, in any media you can get your hands on. Spread the word. Digg it!
NOTE to all the ancaps who are itching to reply that “sexual harassment is a form of aggression and is simply wrong”: that’s exactly our point. Capitalist property theory allows any form of injustice as long as it’s done “on one’s property.” Insofar as property theory entails that sexual harassment, and other such aggression, is validated, it necessarily contradicts justice. In order for you propertarians to refute us, therefore, you can’t just say “sexual harassment is just wrong”: you need to show that property theory does not entail that sexual harassment is validated. The fact that sexual harassment is not acceptable is a problem for the propertarians, not for us.
The sexual harassment problem was not reversed by capitalism, but by a radical movement (feminism). Block’s childish theory was proven wrong.
For further analysis of this Block quote, see the entry “More baloney…” on Bowers of Paradise and the entry Does private property facilitate sexual harassment? on Division by Zero. Also see more horrid Block quotes at the Voluntary Property Blog.
For more ancap bigotry, see Stephan Kinsella Lies To Defend Bigot Hoppe, as well as the many other entries written on other blogs on the subject of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s bigotry and its widespread support in the ancap camp.
“it really shows the logical consequences of the belief in property.”
No it doesn’t. Block is plain wrong. Unwanted touching is aggression. End of story.
“Block is plain wrong. Unwanted touching is aggression. End of story.”
And you are correct, which, as I said… really shows the (il)logical consequences of the belief in property.
Again, it does not show what you think it does.
All you have shown is that Block made an atrocious reasoning error 34 years ago.
What “reasoning error” did he make? He assumed that property rights were valid, and took them to their logical conclusion. If you deny that property rights lead to such conclusions, then please tell us what error was committed.
This becomes especially creepy when you remember that he also wants to privatize sidewalks.
Or, to be specific, he wants to privatize every last square inch of land. Not even your own home would be safe, since it would be under the absolute dominion of your landlord. But it’s all voluntary — we can always go out into outer space!
“But it’s all voluntary — we can always go out into outer space!”
Sadly, this parody of an argument makes about as much sense as the argument that the secretary can just quit and find another job. We’re free to quit any specific job, but we’re not free to quit an exploitative system.
I knew it. He actually lives in a cartoon universe. The Boss is an archetype, (among dozens that are made for men) and the secretary is one of three archetypes for women (because we just don’t have character). His cartoon universe is as old as Myth . It is born of Hierarchy, where the characters are based on Master and Servant. A Commedia dell’Arte.
Very unimaginative, really.
I made another post but it does not show up here. Reposting.
Block: “the fact is that the pinching that takes place between a secretary and her boss, while objectionable to many women, is not a coercive action”
Wrong. Touching without permission is aggression. Thus ends the refutation of Mr Block..
“Wrong. Touching without permission is aggression. Thus ends the refutation of Mr Block..”
George, what you seem to be forgetting is that if the secretary then protests or refuses her employer’s unwanted attention, he can fire her on the spot.
As an Anarcho-capitalist, I’d assume you would defend his right to do so.
George, this isn’t Block making a singular reasoning error in a vacuum. Like it or not, people still think that they own and have rights over others and that’s where this particular version of sexual harassment comes into play.
To use a metaphor, you wake up and the curtains are missing, the paint is peeling, and your water’s boiling. Which one do you deal with first?
You wouldn’t deal with a single one of those and then claim, “end of story.”
I’m not an an-cap.
Of course either party can end a voluntary arrangement at any time. This is obvious.
So if the boss harasses the secretary and she refuses his advances he can fire her. And you see absolutely no problem in that?
Db0, what problem do YOU see with it?
It’s creepy and stupid and self-destructive, but it’s not aggression to sever a voluntary arrangement voluntarily.
I see the problem that you making situation possible where desperate secretaries put up with sexual harassment because the alternative is worse (ie starvation). I see a problem because you end up allowing richer men make the positions they offer as a semi-harem for girls who don’t have an actual choice.
I see a problem because you’re not in fact disagreeing with Brock and you can’t even see it. This is the intellectual bankruptcy of taking voluntarism and fetishizing it.
I disagree with Block on at the very least the point where Francois wants to hang his argument that voluntaryism is bankrupt.
What universe is this where there is only one secretary job or where all secretaries have creepy bosses? This is a straw man, a red herring.
And what is your solution then?
It doesn’t have to be the case where all secretaries have creepy bosses, only the case that some harassing bosses exist and that there are far less jobs than there are secretaries which would make some of them “volunteer” to work under the “creepy bosses”. In short, the real world.
And decide which fallacy it is before you start spamming their types.
Libertarian Socialism naturally.
“Like it or not, people still think that they own and have rights over others”
I fail to see how your metaphor relates to the discussion “New Anarchist”.
“I see the problem that you making situation possible where desperate secretaries put up with sexual harassment”
I did not make it possible. It is a fact of reality that some people commit aggression. I deter aggression in my life.
“I see a problem because you’re not in fact disagreeing with Brock and you can’t even see it”
Enlighten me or retract.
“Libertarian Socialism naturally.”
Why assume that the private contract system cannot possibly allow for the equivalent of a “wrongful termination” suit? I personally think that it can and would because I think Block overlooks the possibility of another “package deal” that applies to the boss.
Of course, I reject the boss/wage setup for other reasons but, given the assumption, I don’t think it follows that free and clear firing for not submitting to immoral behavior would not lead to costs for the boss.
The possibility of a situation is not sufficient to claim the illegitimacy of the conditions that make it possible. It is an impossible burden on political philosophy to require that it eliminate the possibility of immoral behavior. The absurdity of that logic is made plain when you realize that you would have to object to the very existence of any human being because of the possibility that they might act wrongly.
Well, the real world contains a state and actually has positive laws against sexual harassment. So by “real world” you must not mean the real world but can only mean “the hypothetical world that will result in a free market anarchy with private property”. That would then require you to demonstrate why that system would end up with the distribution you claim.
Actually a straw man is a special type of red herring (which is simply a category of fallacies that share the characteristic of not addressing the original issue).
So what happens when the worker’s council decides that the plan only allows for 100 secretaries. Our heroine is secretary 101 and is reassigned to the assembly line next to a sexist jerk. Reassigning either worker would through off the whole plan and negatively affect the well-being of the collective. So I guess she just has to deal with it?
Neverfox, I thought you were a left-libertarian. Are you trolling or is this for real?
Did you even read my first two paragraphs? How can you even ask that? My problem is that I don’t stand for what I consider poor arguments and logical fallacies even if I agree with the conclusion (that Block is wrong, not that property is invalid). Don’t I have that right and isn’t that precisely what I should do in the name of truth? Fallacies are fallacies no matter who makes them and I’m pointing them out. If you can clean them up and still make your argument, I’m all for it. But don’t expect me to look the other way because we are on the same general side while you and db0 make, IMO, sloppy points.
Like I said, Block loses me the minute he takes about wage and boss owning a business. How could my rejection of that be seen as anything but left-libertarian? I’m simply saying that private property doesn’t logically lead to the conditions you rightly fear without smuggling in another set of assumptions.
What’s really funny is that you are basically supporting Block’s contention that the secretary has no enforceable claims against the boss if fired for not accepting the harassment. I’m actually saying that she likely does. Maybe I should be questioning your lefty credentials since you are closer to Block than I am.
Neverfox, you are either trolling us or you are very confused.
My claim is that Block’s Corollary is correct: that if property is valid, then crimes committed on one’s property are justified. But I reject property rights, so my position is the diametrical opposite of Block’s.
If you think you can disprove the Corollary, then do so. Don’t waste our time with peripherial issues such as whether laws or rules against sexual harassment could be made. That is not relevant to the fact that property entail that sexual harassment is valid, regardless of any rules brought in to contradict that fact.
I accept your challenge: Property is the right to control property so long as that control doesn’t involve aggression. I’m only allowed to use force to remove you and even then only proportional force. I have to consider the moral weight of the circumstance before determining the action I can take and weigh it against the moral value of the trespass. Pinching my secretary is neither necessary to remove her nor am I even trying to remove her. Therefore there is nothing in property theory that I can use to justify it.
Basically, you picked a corollary that isn’t actually the proper definition of libertarian property. Block thinks it is and he’s convinced you that it is, but you are both wrong.
Actual libertarian property principle: If I aggress against you, you have the right to coerce me in whatever way is necessary to remove me from your sphere of authority, so long as your coercion is not disproportionate to the seriousness of my aggression.
Notice that as long as the secretary is on the property of the boss with his permission (which we can assume she is if she is on the job) then technically she isn’t aggressing. If she isn’t aggressing, she has triggered no clause in property theory that allows him to coerce her (e.g. by pinching).
Block is trying to say that property not only allows for force in removal of aggression but also force during the time of non-aggression. That is clearly not present in libertarian property theory. Therefore the corollary you and Block propose is not libertarian and your challenge has been answered.
“I accept your challenge: Property is the right to control property so long as that control doesn’t involve aggression.”
That principle of yours invalidates capitalism, since you seemingly define aggression as anything that goes against anyone else’s rights. Therefore it is no good in defending capitalist property theory.
I’m not trying to defending capitalist property theory but property theory. Several times you’ve left the word ‘capitalist’ out.
No differentiation made. So which is it? Are you rejecting capitalist property or property period? I feel like you are moving the goalposts.
You were talking about my position. My position is that property rights are incoherent, period. But in this specific instance, we’re talking about capitalist property.
Besides, I don’t think there is such a thing as capitalist property theory. I think that libertarian property theory actually makes capitalism invalid, not the other way around.
Sorry Capitalism and Private Property are social constructs not “facts of reality.”
Yet another right-“libertarian” who speaks like a lawyer with a stick up his arse.
Me and others have been trying to “enlighten” you from the start of these comments. You seem impervious to it.
Because that too depends on the power differential between classes, or in our case, between the boss and potential secretaries. Thus in a wage-market where there’s far more available workers than there’s secretary positions the bosses will not offer contracts with wrongful terminations clauses any more than they will offer high wages.
As I said again, it depends on the state of the class war. But that’s besides the point anyway. Brock wasn’t arguing that in a theoretical contract system where wrongful termination is recognized there wouldn’t be harassment. He was arguing that such events (harassing or firing for not putting up with it) should be ok. He was making a normative statement.
Actually it is sufficient. If it is the social system which allows such a behaviour or which promotes immorality, then it is very logical to demand to change the social system itself. We’re not asking for perfection but merely that when weak points of a system are recognized we modify it accordingly to avoid them.
In fact the only logical failure comes from your end when you claim that the suggested system can’t be bad because no system can be perfect.
You do realize that such a behaviour was normal up until the 70s and very much more the further back one goes right? You do realize that Brock’s apologetics were not written in a vacuum but precisely written because this behaviour was accepted at the time of writing and the feminist movement was attacking it, right?
No it’s not a hypothetical world. It’s a historical fucking fact!
I don’t care to argue against hypothetical la-la lands of free markets and perfect competitions.
You’re taking you advocacy of the devil a bit too far don’t you think?
What are you saying then? That instead of being simply intellectually lazy he was being deliberately superfluous for rhetorical purposes?
Talk about hypothetical examples specially-tailored to argue one’s point…
No, she should kick the sexist’s arse and have the rest of the collective kick the sexist’s arse. And if we have a collective in which people are assigned to jobs they might hate “for the good of the collective”, disregarding their suffering, then it’s not a really good collective is it? But then again, this was a specially tailored example…
@Francois: Neverfox is not trolling. He’s just playing devil’s advocate against a position he has misunderstood.
I hope you’re right, db0.
[…] harassment I posted a while back has been rediscovered by various libertarians online and lots of criticism, analysis and defenses (of PP not Block) have been written about it. It appears as even Walter […]
Neverfox: Bravo. One man’s misunderstanding of libertarian property theory does not destroy the entire philosophy. Would it not be the same if one of the “leading lights” of mutualist or ansoc theory wrote something clearly wrong and/or insane, and I attempted to depict it as bankrupting said theory?
“One man’s misunderstanding of libertarian property theory does not destroy the entire philosophy.”
Block’s corollary is not a “misunderstanding”: it’s a logical conclusion based on the unlimited control of property theory. Because of that, it does “destroy the entire philosophy” (if one is so extremely generous as to call the vacuous ideology of ancapism a philosophy). Calling it a “misunderstanding” without proof is posturing, nothing more.
“Would it not be the same if one of the “leading lights” of mutualist or ansoc theory wrote something clearly wrong and/or insane, and I attempted to depict it as bankrupting said theory?”
If his point was a fundamental corollary which destroyed the entire ideology, then yes, it would be valid and would have to be either answered or accepted.
Hey you guys are talking about highly esoteric stuff with little bearing on actual life. How is this helpful to your cause?
In this theoretical world people are not allowed to agrees against other disproportionately (assuming everyone is moral and has an ethical drive, and who would police them?)
If a guy pinches a womans bottom without her permission, and she objects, she can, and in real life if there is no state, she might get her clan to beat the boss up. The boss can fire her, but women should not work for someone and most would not because they may no taxes, prices are balanced because people use gold and silver as currency not fiat government money, cartels and monopolies do not exist, so people are more driven to be self-employed.
Her CLAN? Gold and silver as MONEY? Where do you live, 19th century Nigeria?
“Hey you guys are talking about highly esoteric stuff with little bearing on actual life”
Sexual harassment in the workplace is highly esoteric and has little bearing on actual life?
Get the fuck out, troll.
that was supposed to say:
In this theoretical world people are not allowed to aggress against another disproportionately (assuming everyone is moral and has an ethical drive, and who would police them?)
Sincerely Franc, I think that a large majority of ancaps think that sexual harassement is a type of aggression, like the other anarchists
But ancaps should be very careful about this issue. This illustrates some illogical consequences of an absolutist property ideology.
David: I agree. That’s why I added a note near the bottom.
“I think that libertarian property theory actually makes capitalism invalid, not the other way around.”
Hummmm. Yeah but pro-property ancaps use capitalist premises to justify their ideology!
I see Franc.
I don’t think that Block suggests that the boss could continue to sexually harrass his secretary if he fires her, right?
I don’t think so, no.
[…] do not magically create ethics. 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 in the workplace is highly esoteric and has little bearing on actual life?”
How is your discussion of it going to stop it? There are far bigger crimes being commited by the capitalist concept of property and the corporation, alittle sexual harrasment is just the tip of an iceberg.
Acknowledging the problem is the first step in combating it.
Right, because women’s issues are not as important as the Really Important Issues. Right.
[…] anarchist. Well, if that makes him happy, good for him. As a result of this, he made a recent post that seems to illustrate my point — so at least some good will come of his change of stripes, […]
[…] 2009 at 6:34 pm On September 28th, 2009, Francois Tremblay, a former propertarian anarchist, wrote a blog piece to showcase what he currently sees to be the inexorable problems resulting from a defence of […]
[…] Peak lines up for another out… The capitalist wannabe-Block Corollary-killers just keep lining up. This time it’s Alex Peak, from Last Free Voice, who argues that […]
I think both you and Block are making arguments based on a flawed premise. A property right is the right to control the use of some tangible item — that’s all. If the item in question is a building or parcel of land, it then follows that the owner has the right to exclude whomever he/she pleases from the property.
That’s as far as it goes. Yet on no logical basis I can discern, some property rights advocates (and their detractors, such as yourself) have assumed that property rights imply a right to impose whatever rules and penalties they desire on anyone found on/within the property. This is just plain silly. Yes, a property owner can say, “I allow you on my property as long as you obey these rules / submit to these indignities”; but if someone fails to follow those rules or submit to whatever the owner wishes to impose, the only legitimate recourse the property owner has is to escort the individual off the premises. THAT’S IT.
So Kevin, you don’t support capitalist work contracts then? Because they sure “assume that property rights imply a right to impose whatever rules and penalties they desire on anyone found on/within the property.”
Francois: the work contract is what binds the worker to follow work instructions, not the property rights. The contract worker in question may not even be receiving his work instructions from the property owner. If the worker does not follow directions to his boss’ satisfaction then he can be escorted off the property. He does not instantly become the slave of the property owner (or even his boss who may not own the property) just because he is on the property.
Thank you for making my point…?
If the boss stole something from the secretary, is it justified simply because it took place on his property, and because he could threaten to fire her if she told about it? The answer is no. Substitute “sexual harassment,” “rape,” or any other form of aggression against a person of their property.
Sounds like we’re in agreement, Bob.
[…] 3. “Anarcho”-capitalists support sexual harassment: more on Block’s lunacy… […]
[…] property rights again: the child renter argument. I’ve discussed extensively about Block’s Corollary, regarding the absurd consequences of the concept of property. Block’s Corollary is basically […]
Just to clear up where I stand on property: Private ownership of means of production is wrong. Private property is not. I can own my own home, my own car, my own trousers without that ownership affecting the liberties of anyone else, so long as acquired and produced ethically of course.
So we need isolate private ownership of means of production (the work place), and say that this is the ‘private property’ the boss thinks he has dominion over, therefore he has the right to commit sexual violence there.
Herein lies the problem for Mr. Block. Universally preferable ethics would include the right of anyone to accept or reject sexual advances. As the boss of a company that thinks it’s OK to ignore this and pinch his secretary, he might be concerned at the adverse publicity his behaviour would cause his firm. The ensuing plummet in the value of his company may cause him to rethink whether or not being a sex pest is in fact the best way to operate in business.
Even if he wanted to pay his secretary a wage high enough that she would put up with the harassment, he would not be able to afford to for very long because the other side of that coin is that he would have to lower his prices to an equally dramatic degree so his goods or services were cheap enough for his customers to overcome their moral objections to his behaviour.
Of course there are better, more egalitarian ways of sharing the ownership of enterprise which would make this kind of harassment impossible in the first place, but in the case of Walter Block it’s easier to just use their own theories against them, rather than waste time explaining anything more alien to them.
[…] of the contract. This can get to rather extreme lengths, as I have shown in my discussions of the Block Corollary. Basically, the voluntaryist response is to call the victims crybabies for complaining about a […]
[…] prove that Block’s reasoning is invalid (while you’re at it, also prove Block’s Corollary wrong too). Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed European […]
The secretary has ownership of her own body. Unless she agrees to be pinched, she may not be. In the context of employment, such consent must be explicit rather than implicit.
In a pure capitalism, it is permissible to hire somebody for the purpose of being able to pinch them. There will develop a market rate for people who consent to being pinched in addition to their other duties, and they will probably be paid more, all other things being equal. If there is a surplus of labor of a particular type, the cost of labor will drop until demand equals supply, resulting in low wages for some jobs. The worker doesn’t have a right to get an adequate wage or adequate working conditions, only the wage he agrees to get and the conditions he agrees to work in.
The secretary who does not consent to being pinched, and did not agree to be pinched as a condition of employment, may not be pinched simply because she occupies the property of the pincher, any more than a customer may be. There is no such thing as post-facto consent- either a particular instance of pinching is consensual, or it is not, and continuing to work a job where one has once been assaulted is not consent to any prior or future assaults. THAT is why Block is wrong in asserting that property rights trump property rights.
In the real world, there are limits on what contracts may be entered beyond the requirement that they be consensual. This is a departure from capitalism, and specifically forbids clauses in employment contracts which involve pinching or similar behavior. This is BECAUSE, not WHY, that behavior is creepy, immoral by many standards, and not of great economic value.
“The secretary has ownership of her own body.”
Aw… you failed on your very first sentence. There is no such thing as self-ownership. Sorry.
Who may decide what may be done with the secretary’s person?
No one “decides” what may be done, except insofar as there are laws or regulations which protect people from intruders on their rights.
Interesting position for an anarchist- in the absence of laws, does everyone have equal access to my kidney? Are laws necessary to have the concept that the antibodies in my bloodstream are for my personal use only?
Should the stranger on the street, my boss, and I all have the same level of decision-making with regards to my physical form?
Nope. No one does.
Which- does someone (myself) have privileged control over my person, or not?
Is your position equivalent to complete predestination, in that no decisions are made? How is that compatible with the existence of ‘problems’?
No, this is not about predestination, although it is correct that I don’t believe in free will in any form. This is simply about the fact that self-ownership is an incoherent concept. Here, read these:
I am a metaphysical not-thing (entity) which has a partial physical embodiment. That in itself steps around the issue of ‘owning myself’: I merely own the physical form. This only includes everything about me which is relevant to the world of physically embodied entities; this includes the neurons and molecules which express my free will, but not my free will itself, which is also a metaphysical not-thing, and falls outside a discussion of property; I use the possessive to describe it because it has a relationship with me that other free wills (if any) do not have.
I, the metaphysical not-thing, am not privileged over other not-things. As a result, I have exactly the same rights/responsibilities as they do, namely the requirement that I choose what to do with what my capabilities. The only capabilities I have that my physical form is aware of involve the physical world which it experiences. I own my physical form, and I delegate my rights and responsibilities pursuant to that form to it. That portion of my physical form which can consent to such a delegation does consent to it; that portion which cannot consent to such a transfer is not a party and therefore has no basis to object.
My physical form (hereafter “I”, “me”, or other first-person references, has the responsibility to make the choices that I can; I can ‘communicate’ with a free will, so I have the ability to make decisions. I also has the responsibility to decide if other agents have permission to pinch me or not.
“I am a metaphysical not-thing (entity)”
No you’re not.
What am I?
You are a body that apparently believes it is a metaphysical non-thing. Not sure how that happened.
How would your observations be different if my body’s statements about the nature of my existence were completely correct?
Well, since I don’t believe in anything non-material, my observations would be different, insofar as you wouldn’t exist.
So, things which are partially beyond your choice to believe don’t exist? How would your perceptions be different if things that did not interact with your physical form in any way nonetheless existed?
“So, things which are partially beyond your choice to believe don’t exist?”
Is that a coherent question? If it is, I’m pretty sure the answer is no.
“How would your perceptions be different if things that did not interact with your physical form in any way nonetheless existed?”
… I would have no way whatsoever to know about them, and hence my perceptions would not be different at all.
So, your observations are entirely consistent with my assertion, and will remain consistent for all possible cases.
What is the significant difference between me being a partially metaphysical not-thing, me being a purely physical thing with access to a free will, and me being a purely physical deterministic thing? If there is no significant difference, why is there a moral difference?
All right decius, I confess. You are a metaphysical wazoo, ghosts exist, and so do God, leprechauns, Santa Claus and good parents.
Sorry, I was hoping to get an internally consistent set of principles which explained why “Me the metaphysical being” was morally different from “Me the chunk of flesh.” I’ll settle for ‘there is no difference’
Now that we’ve established that self-ownership (or something indistinguishable from it) is rational, does it follow that a person has the right to arbitrarily decide what they consent to? Interference with another person’s self-ownership (or equivalent) clearly constitutes a violation of the principle of equality. I refuse to project the principle of equality onto you, so I ask:
Is there any reason why any person is morally privileged over another, in the sense that their interactions are not morally symmetrical? Is there a case where an action A takes toward B has a different moral value than an action B takes towards A? (with all prior actions being mutually reciprocal- no cases where B has given permission, but A has not)
“Now that we’ve established that self-ownership (or something indistinguishable from it) is rational”
In your dreams, maybe. Not in physical, material reality. Why don’t you go peddle your belief in ghosts somewhere else?
Any hypothesizes which do not predict an observable difference are equivalent. Choosing between them is a matter of convenience or religion, not science. If it is more convenient for you to assume that there is nothing which is capable of making decisions, nor having the property “able to own things”, that is your own decision.
Of course, you claim to not have control nor ownership of… “Your opinion” (I can’t describe it uniquely without resorting to a possessive of some sort, sorry). I can’t even parse the not-yours not-decision involved, much less understand it.
Yes, obviously believing in ghosts is the same as not believing in ghosts. How could I ever doubt you?
Ghosts existing, but not interacting at all, is the same as ghosts not existing.
And it’s fine, you never had a choice, both because you don’t have, and because you don’t choose. I don’t understand the basis for the position you’ve presented, and it isn’t internally consistent.
“I don’t understand the basis for the position you’ve presented, and it isn’t internally consistent.”
I would ask you to provide a justification for this claim, but you don’t seem to understand what that means.
Oh: “There should be/are no property rights, or personal rights. Nobody (should)decides what may be done with one’s person.”- Those are your positions, paraphrased
“sexual harassment is a form of aggression and is simply wrong”- Your explicit position.
If nobody, not even the person in question, has the right to decide what may be done to the body of a person, then sexual harassment is either impossible or unavoidable. If the lack of consent is driving, then every interaction is harassment, and every sexual interaction is sexual harassment, since there is no one who can consent. If the lack of objection is driving, then there is no interaction which is harassment of any type, since there is no one who can object. Either way, “Sexual harassment is wrong” is wrong.
If you instead drop the assumption that self-determination is impossible, consent and objection both pop into existence. Property rights in and of themselves STILL don’t give the owner any recourse against trespassers (that’s what laws do), so the owner STILL has no right to assault anyone based on their presence within/use of/employment on his property. His only recourse within the moral framework is to revoke/refuse permission to occupy/use his property, which makes that use immoral, or to terminate an employment contract which allows for termination. (such as a typical employment-at-will contract, which allows for termination by either party at any time for any reason without penalty)
Again, to evict a trespasser he must use the concept of law (a contract which everyone under its jurisdiction has agreed, providing among other things for the application of penalties under certain conditions; having once agreed to the law, such as by consensually using a public improvement created under that law, a person is bound by it. Should a person refuse to be bound by it, their use of the improvements governed by that law is aggression and can be treated as aggression)
“If nobody, not even the person in question, has the right to decide what may be done to the body of a person, then sexual harassment is either impossible or unavoidable. If the lack of consent is driving, then every interaction is harassment, and every sexual interaction is sexual harassment, since there is no one who can consent.”
… this is patently true. It is obvious that plenty of people are able to consent.
“If the lack of objection is driving, then there is no interaction which is harassment of any type, since there is no one who can object.”
Again, plenty of people can object. What world do you live in?
Should the stranger on the street, my boss, and I all have the same level of decision-making with regards to my physical form?
Francois Tremblay | January 26 2012 at 20:34 | Reply
Nope. No one does.
Are you going to keep trying to drown me in irrelevancies? This is getting pretty fucking tedious.
Reconcile “no one has any level of decision-making about what is permissible with a person’s body” with “People can consent and object to a use of a body.”
“Reconcile “no one has any level of decision-making about what is permissible with a person’s body” with “People can consent and object to a use of a body.”
… I am a body, and I consent to things. What is the contradiction here?
So, you exercise some level of decision making about your body? And other people exercise some level of decision making about their body? And those decisions determine what is permissible?
THAT’S THE POINT I’VE BEEN MAKING FOR SIX HOURS. Ever since you said that no one, not even oneself, has any level of decision-making over one’s body.
“Because controlling the rights to something is owning it.”
… tautologically correct, yes. You’re really wasting my time.
“So, you exercise some level of decision making about your body? And other people exercise some level of decision making about their body? And those decisions determine what is permissible?
THAT’S THE POINT I’VE BEEN MAKING FOR SIX HOURS. Ever since you said that no one, not even oneself, has any level of decision-making over one’s body.”
Even if that was true, how would that even put you any closer to your belief in self-ownership?
Because controlling the rights to something is owning it.
What statement are you refusing to acknowledge as true- that I’ve been making the point that consent is self-determined, that you claimed that it wasn’t, or that it is?
Since my body owns itself/controls the rights to itself, I own myself.
If I did not own myself, I would not control the rights to myself.
If self-ownership does not exist, then personal rights cannot exist. (Tautology) Personal rights exist. (Premise) Therefore, Self-ownership exists. (Basic Logic: If A then B; Not-B; therefore Not-A)
You’re wasting my time.
Excellent counter-argument. A better one would have been to challenge the premise that personal rights exist, on the basis that there is nothing to have those rights, since it makes no sense to have rights over oneself. Except that falls before it’s obvious flaws, and reveals the flaws in your rebuttals of self-owneship, bringing your entire house of cards tumbling down.
I was trying to dig down until I see why you draw different conclusions from substantially the same observations. I think the in-depth explanation has been pretty one sided on my part, an I don’t think you intend to seriously consider why you choose to believe differently than I do. Sadly, the expected result, based on a lot of cases, is that a given person can’t or won’t explain the basis behind their choices. You’ve been better than average, in that you ask for my reasons, and worse than hoped, in that you refuse to engage them or explain your own position.
[…] It seems to me that unless Clayton breaks out of his strange “definition” and acknowledges that contracts can go against human rights (as they most certainly do in our reality), there can be no further dialogue on this subject. Perhaps he could borrow a page from “anarcho-capitalist” Hans-Hermann Hoppe and argue that it’s okay for contracts to include sexual harassment clauses because women secretely like it. […]
[…] I’ve pointed out in the case of the child renter argument and Block’s corollary, voluntaryists who uphold contracts as absolute must therefore reject the concept of human rights. […]
[…] to furnish them with wealth earned by others constitutes theft and does not help them in any case. Sexual harassment and child rape advocate Walter […]