The funny thing about WalterBlock’s quote defending sexual harassment in the workplace is that the nature of the argument and its unfortunate compatibility with right-libertarian principles can serve as a very easy way to make those espousing said principles get in a very tight ethical conundrum. When this quote is presented to someone (something especially effective when someone is a Block disciple) they either have to find a way to distance themselves from this argument (much like Walter Block himself has done) and thus risk cognitive dissonance, or they must bite the bullet and admit that Block was right.
It’s amazing, not only how often you’ll find them defending sexual harassment in the workplace in the name of liberty but also how often and easily they will trip on their own argumentation and put their foot firmly in their mouth.Oh, they won’t call it “harassment” of course, they’ll dance around the words until it can sound like some kind of normal human relationship, but functionally they will be defending the exact same situation and the right of the employer to make sexual advances to his secretaries under the guise of voluntarism.
Witness this latest example in reddit, where a commenter took the opportunity to defend Block’s argument and give us gems like this:
In a society of private property, there is no inherent reason whatsoever why a woman will be compelled to accept a job that contains sexual advances that she does not want. If a job does not specifically contract against it, then the employer can engage in that behavior. If it does, then he can’t.
How about a woman that does not have enough money to feed herself and her family? A very rare scenario I know…
If I have $50,000 say, then I do not owe anyone that money. It’s mine. If I want to pay a woman to help me with my paperwork, then I can offer them that money. If they are so destitute that they are willing to accept my sexual advances, then I can follow the non-aggression principle and not once harass her. She is not obligated to stay with me. If she wants to quit and find money somewhere else (the number of potential jobs are numerous), then she can. If she stays, then that’s her choice that you must respect. If she stays because she accepts it, then how can you say that I am acting improperly? I am not doing anything she doesn’t want me to do. I will not harass her because that violates the NAP. If she accepts, then she must want it. That’s how relationships work.
This is the common fetishism of voluntarism that AnCaps do all the goddamn time. Here in all its ugly glory for all to see. A rich boss hiring a destitute girl and advancing sexually on her? No problem. She must want it or she would have left. You can easily see how much they need to assert that in a AnCap society there would be no unemployment which flies against all logic as this would make such a society immediately implode in a capitalist crisis. But as long as we can assume that no unemployment will exist, we can sweep all such contentions under the blanket.
But the best quote is this:
If you condemn this because she is only sleeping with me because she wants my money, then does not reflect poorly on me or her? It’s not me. I’m not the one sleeping with somebody else because I want their money. It’s her moral failure. Nobody is destitute enough in a private property society that they must resort to prostitution. Prostitution is a choice, just like every other occupation. You can’t change that.
I won’t even try to point out how disgusting this paragraph is on it face. How much it flies in the face of reality and women’s plight. I will only point out how one small Walter Block quote led this AnCap to say something like this.
Seriously, this thing is like an instant way to make right-libertarians say something so absurd or reprehensible that they will automatically lose all credibility and leverage in the eyes of those not already convinced of their ideology. Use it with abandon and make them face up the ugly consequences of their ideology.