Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ruwart on Child Pornography

Mary Ruwart is quoted: "Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it’s distasteful to us personally. Some children will make for choice is just as some adults do in smoking and drinking to excess; this is part of life. When we outlaw child pornography, if the prices paid for child performers rise, increasing the incentives for parents to use children against their will."
Sigh.  Well, at least Ruwart has settled for us the question of how radicals interpret this sentence from the vaunted 2004 platform: "We call for the repeal of all laws that restrict anyone, including children, from engaging in voluntary exchanges of goods, services or information regarding human sexuality, reproduction, birth control or related medical or biological technologies."
To the credit of Ruwart (and of Phillies, who posted the entirety when he broke the story), she included a sentence not quoted in Gordon's blog entry above: "Children forced to participate in sexual acts have the same rights and recourse as a rape victim. We can and should prosecute their oppressors."  One wonders who the anarchist Ruwart would imagine pressing such prosecutions in cases where the parents were complicit in the forcing.  Does she address this question anywhere in her ouevre?
This revelation seriously undermines the claim of Ruwart fans that she's a gold-standard popularizer of "plumbline" radical libertarianism.  She apparently needs to learn about one standard principle of generic libertarianism, and one standard principle of anarcholibertarianism.
The first principle was expressed in the old platform thus: "Children always have the right to establish their maturity by assuming administration and protection of their own rights, ending dependency upon their parents or other guardians, and assuming all responsibilities of adulthood."   Chuck is right about bright lines, and I would phrase it this way: "Communities may choose the age, between 14 and 18 years, at which a person is no longer rebuttably presumed to be a child, and instead is rebuttably presumed to be an adult."
The second principle is the anarcholibertarian idea (defended by Walter Block) that if parents abrogate their right (not obligation -- quelle horreur!) to protect and nurture their children, then anyone else may "homestead" that right and file a lawsuit (in a private court) to assume guardianship rights over the children.  That theory may sound good in the Loyola University faculty lounge, but it's problematic on the LP presidential campaign trail -- to say nothing of the Real World where many children are being abused or even tortured while their parents look the other way. Or participate.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunatly the so called "age of maturity" which determines an indivduals ability to consent to various issues is a wholly arbitrary state imposed limitation that needlessly criminalises juveniles.At least according to the tenets of pure Libertarianism.

    Mary Ruwart's only crime was that she blew the gaffe too early.
    All thinking people know that axiomatic reasoning from libertarian principles leads to consensual paedophilia at the end of the day.

    Thankfully most people bail out at the legalise drugs stage.

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