Category Archives: Walter Block

Walter Block – The Errors of Friedman, Coase & Buchanan


Walter Block – Prostitution

Here’s something to think about:

It is often said that a man paying for sex is immoral and evil.

But why do you think that men buy wedding rings and women go after men with lots of money? It’s the exact same thing.

Even if prostitution is more about “sex”, and weddings are more about “love”, the point is that neither of these take place without a voluntary agreement.

This is actually a genius argument.

We cannot create a perfectly moral world.

Therefore, we must establish principles for our society. Clear-cut, black and white principles.

Voluntary exchanges is a good place to start.

You can’t create a perfectly moral society when we are all sinners.

You cannot completely eliminate sin.

Therefore, you must have different principles for the laws that we create for society besides something is “sinful” or “immoral.” This is why voluntary exchanges is a good place to start.

Murder isn’t voluntary. Neither is rape. Both are immoral. But if prostitution IS voluntary, it should be allowed, even if it IS immoral. You cannot create a perfectly moral society with law, for one reason because every individual has a different definition of morality. The individual must be protected because if we are to create a loving society, as most people proclaim, we must understand that love comes from one individual to another, not a homologous blob known as the “couple.” Therefore, if we could protect the individual, we could protect society. The individual decides if he or she is going to partake in prostitution, as does another individual, and then they go for it. To suggest that we must use law to separate this is a violation of voluntary exchange, which is a loving exchange, and also a violation of the fact that a perfectly moral law can be created. It is a loving exchange because exchanges do not take place unless both parties think they can benefit. Let’s take sports teams for example: they exchange players all of the time, thinking that they will both benefit. A trade will not take place unless both teams think they will benefit. Even if it is later found out that one team benefited more than the other, the fact remains that at the time of the exchange, both teams thought they would benefit. This is similar with prostitution or a drug deal.

There are many immoral things that are legal. However, you never hear of them being called for legalization. Check out my example of checking out another man’s wife in a later paragraph.

There are two flaws with the arguments for making immoral acts such as prostitution and drug use illegal. One of the flaws is that it is attempting to legislate what it thinks is “perfect morality.” “Besides,” you often hear, “Theft, murder, and rape are immoral, and you are not calling for these to be legal.” Yes, but none of those actions are a voluntary exchange like prostitution, or a drug deal. Besides, how are we to decide a perfect morality to live by according to law?

If we use the Bible, we are all criminals, because none of us can live a perfectly moral life. So, therefore, we cannot create a law for ourselves based on perfect morality. Therefore, the argument that we should make prostitution and drug use illegal because they are immoral is a faulty argument, because we are ALL immoral. Checking out another man’s wife walking down the street is immoral and a sin, but yet you don’t hear for people clamoring for that to be made illegal like prostitution or drug use.

Therefore, we must make voluntary exchanges a bedrock for our society, even if a third party does not like the exchange that takes place.

We must also defend property rights, regardless of how much property is obtained, because the practicality of not being able to be secure of your own property means that no property will ever be used, because it will always be stolen.

And finally, we must protect individual freedom. We simply cannot have a society in which every action must run by a mediator to determine if that action should be taken or not. First of all, there is simply no perfect moral human being alive to determine if an action is perfectly moral or not. Second, it is impossible for anyone to take perfectly moral actions all the time, or even any at all. Therefore, to create a law based on perfect morality is illogical for us to live by, because it simply cannot happen. Therefore, we must create a law based on other means, and voluntary exchanges, property rights, and individual liberty are great places to start.

Even if an action harms ourselves, we should not be thrown in prison or fined with society’s justification of our imprisonment as they “care” about us. Read my article “Why I Think All Drugs Should Be Legal” for a good explanation of this in action.

We must understand that even within families full of love, people must be allowed to make their own decisions and learn from their own mistakes. You see it time and time again where a parent allows a child to fail so that the child learns something from it. But in most people’s eyes, the state is some kind of overprotective, perfect parent that can eliminate all bad things and discomfort. That would seem to suggest that the state is God, which is impossible.

Therefore, people must be allowed to make their own mistakes and learn from them, or, if we see an action as a mistake and someone else doesn’t, we cannot force them to accept the fact that it is a mistake by imprisonment or a fine if they have not harmed anyone else. If we are not allowed to harm ourselves by law, that means that the state owns our body and not ourselves. That is a dangerous precedent, considering how states have the tendency to use their power for evil rather than good. I would venture to say that no state in history has never used its power for evil against its own people. So to suggest that somehow the state can create a perfectly safe world through law is fatally foolish.