Jonah Mix argues against voluntaryism.

Jonah Mix wrote an entry detailing what it would look like if we consistently applied the principle that “people should be able to do whatever they want with their own bodies” that is pushed by “sex work” advocates.

Now that all consensual arrangements between adults are permissible, I assume the first thing you’ll want to do is bring this new-found freedom to as many women as you can by setting up a brothel. But first, you’ll need some land. I see there’s some cheap land for sale next to an elementary school, and here’s a nice parcel in the middle of a residential neighborhood. And of course, because zoning laws restrict what two consenting adults can agree to with their own property, there should be no rules against starting construction on those plots, right?

So once you’ve got the land, you have to build the brothel itself. There will, of course, be no regulation or building codes. After all, if two consenting adults want to use their bodies in such a way that they don’t get around to building a fire escape, that’s their business! Demanding contractors put in a solid foundation, sturdy walls, or access ramps for wheelchairs would be infringing on their rights. You seem concerned, but remember: Building codes require that construction workers use their bodies in certain ways, which is oppressive. If everyone involved decides that using Asbestos is the best option for their unique life circumstances, who are you to say no?…

All satire aside, no reasonable person actually believes the claim that any possible consensual arrangement between adults should be allowed. Every person – except perhaps the most ruthless libertarians – holds that there are some contracts law should not sanction, regardless of whether or not those individuals making them offer superficial agreement on the terms. What do people think labor law is, besides an enshrined set of prohibited contracts? This isn’t to say that prostitution is comparable to building with Asbestos, or even to say that purchasing sex should be illegal – I do think it should be, of course, but that isn’t the point I’m making here. The point I’m making here is that the Sacred Commandment of Whatever two adults want to do is fine cannot, by itself, justify prostitution without also justifying some incredibly exploitative and unethical behaviors that any sane person would oppose enshrining into law.

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