Sex Work

Critics of Online Sex Ads Hide Behind Children

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Last week three dozen religious leaders took out a full-page ad in The New York Times that urges Village Voice Media, which owns the online classified ad service Backpage.com, to follow Craigslist's example by eliminating its "adult" section. In an open letter to Village Voice Media CEO Jim Larkin, the 36 rabbis, imams, and ministers, led by Auburn Theological Seminary President Katharine Rhodes Henderson, echo the demands of the 51 attorneys general who sent the company's lawyer a similar letter (PDF) in August:

It is a basic fact of the moral universe that girls and boys should not be sold for sex.

So we were surprised and stunned to realize your company…continues to publish an Adult section on its classifieds Web site Backpage.com that has been used as a platform for the trafficking of minors….We trust that your company shares our outrage over the sex trafficking of minors. While we empathize with your business challenges and the increasingly difficult marketplace in which Village Voice Media competes, we trust that you are committed to running your business without compromising the lives of our nation's girls and boys.

Got that? If you help adults connect with adults for consensual sex, you are objectively in favor of raping children. "We agree with the attorney generals on the legal issues, but we are raising this as a moral issue," Henderson tells New York Times media columnist David Carr. "Even if one minor is sold for sex, it is one too many." By the same logic, the only morally acceptable course of action for manufacturers of cars, knives, and baseball bats is to go out of business, because otherwise their products inevitably will be used for nefarious ends, including the victimization of children.

But it is not really about the kids. "This is not just about children being prostituted," Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna tells Carr. "This is about human beings being trafficked into the sex trades, as adults and as children." In short, since McKenna and other Backpage.com detractors equate all prostitution with slavery, it is about exchanging sex for money. Although Backpage.com is not legally responsible for its customers' ads or subsequent actions, McKenna is right that such transactions are generally illegal. Whether they should be is another question, one that should interest Henderson et al., since they ostensibly are concerned about morality and not just legality. Is the use of force justified to prevent adults from engaging in consensual, mutually beneficial transactions that violate no one's rights? Assuming it is justified in principle, does it reduce or increase harm on balance, given all the ways in which prohibition makes this business less transparent and more dangerous? Moralizing bullies like Henderson should be addressing these issues instead of hiding behind children.

More on the Backpage.com controversy here. I criticized the Craigslist crusade in a column last year.

NEXT: Libertarian-leaning Comedian Runs for Mayor of Miami Beach

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  1. New York Times media columnist David Carr

    Did they tell him before or after they sacked him?

    1. “In short, since McKenna and other Backpage.com detractors equate all prostitution with slavery, it is about exchanging sex for money.”
      _
      and yet libtoidz continue to characterize the military draft as slavery…but not prostitution….which is mistakenly described as voluntary…despite the drug addicts, mental health issues, and indentured servitude.

      1. holy fuck im such a giant bag of stupid even i don’t know what point im trying to make

      2. This stoopid is strong w/ this one.

      3. Prostitutes get mistreated for the same reason as illegal immigrants. If their work was legal, they would have the same protection of the law as anyone else.

  2. I dunno, perhaps they would’ve done better if they took out the ad in the Village Voice.

    1. If they wanted anybody to see it, they should have done a 30 second spot on FOX and Friends.

  3. In short, since McKenna and other Backpage.com detractors equate all prostitution with slavery, it is about exchanging sex for money.

    The very same ridiculous argument was behind a “journalistic” piece in CNBC about sex trafficking, implying that all websites that advertise “barely legal” women were in fact selling “children” or slaves for sex, as sweeping a generalization as one could come up with.

    1. Where is the well of moral authority politicians and religious figures draw on to tell everyone else how to behave? They cannot police themselves much less the population at large.

      Is the sexual gratification business only for the rich and connected? Only for the ‘1%’ as they say? Seems to be by their designs on the rest of us.

      1. Is the sexual gratification business only for the rich and connected? Only for the ‘1%’ as they say?

        Only for the SEC regulators.

  4. The link for more on backpage goes to a search for bcakpage.

    1. Crafty squirrels they have back there.

  5. I think the muddying of the waters about what is a child had affected this debate. When our current administration declares a 26 year old a “child,” who and how that person fucks becomes open for debate, I guess.

  6. If they stop these ads, how will Warty troll for prey?

    1. Couldn’t he just take STEVE SMITH’s leavings?

      1. STEVE SMITH NOT LEAVE ANYTHING BEHIND! ANYTHING LEFT AFTER RAPE, STEVE EAT! STEVE CARE ABOUT ENVIRONMENT AND NOT WASTE ANYTHING!

    2. This really sucks. Warty offers pretty reasonable rates and he brings own towel and lube.

    3. 10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.

      11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, [both] of men and of beasts.

      12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which [are] by Jordan [near] Jericho.

      13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.

      14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, [with] the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.

      15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?

      16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.

      17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

      18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

      Prey?

      1. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. ~Psalm 137:9

        1. And it shall blow thine enemies into tiny pieces…in thy mercy.

  7. Also, porn causes rape, since the advent of massive amounts of Internet porn has caused an epidemic of sex crime.

    Or not, but whatever, they don’t like it.

    1. Ahh, but what would be the rate if there were no porn? Why, rape would be completely eliminated. Never underestimate the power of contrafactual scenarios (e.g., but for bailouts, we’d be eating our children).

  8. I think we can all agree that it’s past time they get rid of the internet. Perverts are abusing it.

  9. As anyone has ever used teamspeak or vent or skype or PSN or Xbox network for video game chat knows “children” are the dirtiest motherfuckers on the planet.

    My god the stuff that comes out of their mouths would make a pirate shudder.

    Save the internet for the children my ass…save the internet from the children!!

    1. There are episodes of Arby ‘n the Chief on Youtube that perfectly portray some of these kids. I could understand parents severely beating their kids for acting that way, but I know many truly do. I have seen it several times before.

  10. A close friend got busted two years ago in a prostitution sting in the City Pages’ (part of the Village Voice media) Back Pages so watchit!

  11. “If A, then B, where B = baby-raping!”

    QED

  12. Individual Freedom is Sin!!!

    All Sin should be illegal!!!

    This is a Christian nation!!!

    Bring back the Inquisition!!!

    1. Christianity, along with today’s secular religio-economic faiths such as communism, libertarianism, socialism, and capitalism, are inadequate attempts to correct the wrongs people observe and feel in the grip of the city-State.

      People want saved, they want salvation.

      Libertarians promise salvation if only the nation repents of its wicked ways and returns to the true Lord and Savior, the invisible God of the Invisible Hand, which nobody has ever actually observed, but is really awesome, according to its prophets and evangelists.

      1. Haters gonna hate,
        Lovers gonna love,
        I don’t even want,
        None of the above,

        I want to piss on you.
        Yes I do,
        I’ll piss on you,
        I’ll pee on you.

        Drip drip drip.

      2. So… everything is a religion, even reality, gravity?? Libertarianism, which advocates freedom from religion if one chooses, is a religion??? Then, I guess anti-religion is a religion and up is down.

        And last I checked the “invisible hand” of market laws such as supply and demand was all too visible and has always been so. And libertarians don’t promise jack-shit, let alone salvation. They just warn that the fascist alternatives to freedom have always and will always lead to greater human suffering.

        As a libertarian, I support your freedom to use any recreational drug but it’s seriously affecting your reason.

        1. everything is a religion, even reality, gravity

          No. But your religio-economic faith is a religion.

          Economists instead were assigned the task to dispense priestly blessings that would allow business to operate independent of damaging political manipulation. They accomplished this task by means of their message of “laissez faire religion, based on a conception of a society composed of competing individuals.” However false as a description of the actual U.S. economy, this vision in the mind of the American public was in practice “transferred automatically to industrial organizations with nation-wide power and dictatorial forms of government.” Even though the arguments of economists were misleading and largely fictional, the practical ? and beneficial ? result of their deception was to throw a “mantle of protection ? over corporate government” from various forms of outside interference. Admittedly, as the economic “symbolism got farther and farther from reality, it required more and more ceremony to keep it up.”
          ? Robert H. Nelson, REACHING FOR HEAVEN ON EARTH

          Economic efficiency has been the greatest source of social legitimacy in the United States for the past century, and economists have been the priesthood defending this core social value of our era.
          ? Robert H. Nelson, ECONOMICS AS RELIGION

          As a libertarian, I support your freedom

          No, you don’t. You don’t support freedom.

          Your unstated motto is: government for me, but not for thee.

          You do support a Gambol Lockdown, just like any communist.

          Am I free to gambol about plain and forest?

          MARX: NO!
          MISES: NO!

          Freedom to you is a debate convenience, not a principle.

          1. Your unstated motto is: government for me, but not for thee.

            Your unstated motto is: DERP!

  13. Everybody in Zuccotti Park knows that work is slavery no matter the age of the victim.

    1. Our system of private property in land forces landless men to work for others; to work in factories, stores, and offices, whether they like it or not … Disestablishment from land, like slavery, is a form of duress. The white man, where slavery cannot be practiced, has found that he must first disestablish the savages from their land before he can force them to work steadily for him. Once they are disestablished, they are in effect starved into working for him and into working as he directs.

      ~Dr. Ralph Borsodi
      This Ugly Civilization
      Simon and Schuster | New York
      1 9 2 9

      1. Yeah, farming is the way to wealth…if you’re living in 1536!

        1. Great reality show idea: Who wants to be a Medieval Millionaire?

      2. What kind of marinara comes with this copypasta?

        1. But the marinara sauce is cursed

          1. Nevermind, I’ll just have the hamburger.

  14. I will make a serious comment here.

    I have known more than a few women who have had sex for money. Some of them were strippers who just accepted an extraordinary tip for a private party where anything goes, some of them were professional sex workers and some of them had regular jobs but agreed to do it once because the quick cash was too easy to turn down, I guess.

    Well, of those 50 or so women, only one ever admitted to having a pimp, and that one said he was helpful and allowed her to keep the vast majority of what she made. All he did was make sure her clients looked safe and monitored her whereabouts to ensure nothing happened to her.

    If this behavior is criminal, it’s merely because assholes like these AG’s have attached the stigma of child prostitution to a legitimate business based on a willing group of uncoerced suppliers and those that demand their services for an agreed-upon fee.

    Isn’t it time these people found something better to do than use scare tactics based on dubious, self-fulfilling studies in an attempt to support their moral beliefs under color of the law? That’s Al Gore’s job, isn’t it?

    1. MMMM…. do you have any phone numbers?

    2. Well, of those 50 or so women, only one ever admitted to having a pimp, and that one said he was helpful and allowed her to keep the vast majority of what she made. All he did was make sure her clients looked safe and monitored her whereabouts to ensure nothing happened to her.

      Somehow, I doubt that’s representative of the majority of pimp/prostitute relationships.

      But the criminalization of prostitution is what makes it so easy for pimps to be abusive in the first place.

      1. The job description fits the definition of ‘Black Guard’;
        A pimp is a slaver.

  15. Because of the dullness, alienation, and disempowerment that characterizes the average daily experience, our culture exhibits high rates of depression, mental illness, suicide, drug addiction, and dysfunctional and abusive relationships, along with numerous vicarious modes of existence (e.g., through television, movies, pornography, video games, etc).

    Civilization, not capitalism per se, was the genesis of systemic authoritarianism, compulsory servitude and social isolation. Hence, an attack upon capitalism that fails to target civilization can never abolish the institutionalized coercion that fuels society.

    ~Chris Wilson
    Against Mass Society
    http://www.primitivism.com/mass-society.htm

    1. Don’t forget the most destructive dysfunction to which civilization has ever led: compulsive gamboling.

    2. A primitivist website…

      If I wasn’t a lover of irony, I would demand that you communicate with technology no more sophisticated than stone tablets.

      1. …but I do heavily use the Primitivist’s CRITIQUE of civilization.

        And I also embrace technology. Well, the right kind.

        Do you understand the difference between Master and Slave types of technologies?

        Master Technologies allow you to do less work to get the same returns, freeing up time for idleness.

        Slave Technologies keep you working harder and harder to accumulate stuff.

        Believe me, I’m idle. And toying with the mice here.

        Idle is good.

        The Idle Theory of evolution, human life, technology, trade, money, ethics, law, and religion, proposes that life does the least work it can.
        http://www.idletheory.info

        1. The Primitivist Critique of Civilization
          by Richard Heinberg
          http://www.primitivism.com/primitivist-critique.htm

          1. Idle Theory is an exploration. It does not pretend to be either complete or authoritative. It doesn’t even claim to be right.

            Buddhism has sexier navel-gazers.

        2. Yes, I believe you are idle and have no job.

  16. “It is a basic fact of the moral universe that girls and boys should not be sold for sex.”

    I dunno… supply and demand. If they weren’t allowed to be sold for sex, they’d just be sold to do backbreaking manual labor.

    The only law in the moral universe is that I deserve for you to pay for police to protect my stuff, and you and your child can go fuck yourselves, the end.

    1. Everything in life can be boiled down to a financial transaction, dotchaknow, even voluntary murder, voluntary slavery, voluntary rape. There is no other morality than money.

      LIBERTARIAN MASTER: Do you own your body?

      MOM: [holding sick child] Yes.?

      MASTER: And what can you do with property you own?

      MOM: Sell it?

      MASTER: Correct. Do you voluntarily sell yourself to me so I’ll pay for your child’s health care?

      MOM: Yes, I’m desperate.

      MASTER: Answer yes or no, and then sign here.

      MOM: Yes. [signs contract]

      MASTER: Did you once own your body, bitch?

      SLAVE MOM: Yes, Master.

      ?MASTER: Now I own you. What can an owner do with any property??

      SLAVE MOM: Dispose of it?
      ?
      MASTER: That’s right, bitch. [BANG!] [fap fap fap fap fap fap fap]

      He’d like more than anything else to boss me around, and then whip me every time I displeased him….Slave-master Rafe would never shell out the cold cash if, after he paid, I could haul him into court on assault and battery charges when he whipped me.

      Voluntary Slave Contracts
      ?by Walter Block
      ?http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block134.html

      1. It’s like pissing on a Chick tract because you’re laughing so hard. http://www.chick.com

      2. Eggshell Aborigine,

        Stop talking to yourself.

  17. Has Hit & Run been invaded by an army of trolls? Or is this just one person with too much free time?

    1. More likely one person who decided he didn’t need his meds, his mom will figure it out. Seeing as how he’s in her basement using her computer.

      1. Most likely “she” not “he”.

        1. I think it’s actually Walter Block trying to drum up interest in his slave contract thingy.

          1. I haven’t read much on that(Block or others on slave contracts) but it always seemed obvious to me that IF you do own yourself you can sell yourself. I have no problem with that possibility.

            1. Is made to turn people — the most valuable resource — into slaves, mostly wage slaves these days.

              But ownership is about property, and property is that which is necessary for humans to survive.

              Humans aren’t property to be owned.

              Referring to humans in terms of property is an attempt to dehumanize, humiliate, degrade, and ultimately use. (Sort of like one of these BDSM Dom prowlers who get their jollies off abusing.)

              “Thou shalt own thy neighbor as thyself.” ~Capitalist Jesus

              1. Humans aren’t property to be owned.

                I think you mean “Shouldn’t be property”.

                The reality is that there has been slavery as long as there has been people.

        2. …female pronouns or neutral pronouns. Thus, anybody they hate has to be a she or it.

          FreeRepublic + cocktails – scruples = Reason

          1. We’re all agricultural city-Statists when it comes to White Indian’s gamboling.

            1. What if I want to be an industrial nation-statist? Can I still take time out of my workday to interfere with Blanched Asswipe’s gamboling?

              1. An industrial nation state is merely an intensified and expanded agricultural city-State (civilization.)

                Industrialized civilization is still reliant on agriculture. Growing food is just more intensified and industrialized, with 10 calories of oil input for every calorie of food output nowadays.

                1. An industrial nation state is merely an intensified and expanded agricultural city-State (civilization.)

                  And that means a lot to me because you wrote it.

                  1. …on anthropology and ethnology some day.

                    Because if I quote it, you’ll look in your list of libertarian favorite fallacy follies and say…. “argument from authority” or some shit.

                    1. Or you could just whip up some of your famous dumbshit copypasta. It’s your signature dish.

                      Or do you say “pick up a freshman text on anthropology” in order to put more money in the pockets of the agricultural city-statists at McGraw-Hill?

                      Given your posting, I would sooner accuse you of committing a bare assertion fallacy than appealing to any authority, rightly or wrongly.

                    2. in order to put more money in the pockets of the agricultural city-statists

                      Description of Ad Hominem Tu Quoque: This fallacy is committed when it is concluded that a person’s claim is false because 1) it is inconsistent with something else a person has said or 2) what a person says is inconsistent with her actions.

                      It’s all lotsa fun, and everybody can play. Watch out though, I’m better at it than you, when I decide to engage in it.

                    3. It’s all lotsa fun, and everybody can play. Watch out though, I’m better at it than you, when I decide to engage in it.

                      Fail for two reasons. First, I didn’t draw a conclusion, I asked you a question for the purpose of clarifying your previous statement on the purchase of a textbook. Second, I did not state that the buying of a textbook is dismissed as an option. A tu quoque is an attack on the argument itself by way of the arguer.

                      Please try harder.

                    4. Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.

    2. Sadly, it’s just one person.

      1. One physical person. Who knows how many personalities are screaming around in there.

        1. …is in the house.

          It’s a favorite of communist and libertarian tyrants alike to explain away superior intelligence and political dissent.

  18. I’d just like to point something out: if you google “gambol about forest and plain,” the first four results are all Reason comment threads.

    1. …who ostensibly are believers in the non-aggression principle, will acknowledge the government aggression necessary to invade, occupy, and enforce artificial Land enTitlement borders.

      Because the non-aggression principle is a debating convenience, not actually a principle.

      Thus they are reduced to “love it or leave it” by suggesting anybody talking about freedom shut the hell up move to the Yukon.

    1. Am I free to gambol with Lambchops about forest and plain?

      1. Yes, be free and gambol as you please.

        1. Can I take my city-statist-created survival gear and a satellite phone so I can be a real rebel and phone my mom to tell her I won’t be home for supper while I’m gamboling through some guy’s back yard?

          1. Take what you wish, but remember that a true gambolin’ man only takes with him a spork and a live bear.

          2. Barbarian technologies, like savage technologies, are fundamentally sustainable, since using them tends to fulfill immediate needs rather than causing wealth accumulation.

            The Return of the Barbarian
            by Venkat on March 10, 2011
            http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2011…..barbarian/

            Like they couldn’t stop me
            I’mma ’bout to pull up at your home and it’s on
            They see me rollin’
            They hatin’
            Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin’ dirty

            #OccuPREY
            #HarvestCivilization

            You might even say that barbarians operate at a meta-level: they plant and harvest value out of civilizations.

      2. wei? Indianischer:

        You are free to gambol about the Yukon, or any other place that does not have a trollable internet connection

    2. Thain, am I free to gambol about the Shire?

      1. All of them?

      2. MARX: NO!
        MISES: NO!

        Tyrants like the Marx-Mises axis of civilizationism will tolerate no Gamboling.

        1. Dude, the gambol lockdown has been lifted. You totally missed it, man. Me and some of my bros went gamboling last night, cops didn’t say shit. It was freakin’ awesome.

          Yeah, so ummm, gambol to yer heart’s content, dude.

          1. …once again ranging from Virginia through the plains? Cosplay doesn’t count.

            1. Oh yeah, big time. You should see ’em go!

      1. What the hell was that supposed to be?

        “Life Through the Eyes of a Lonely Scotsman?”

      2. Weird. But funny. Thanks for the afternoon giggle!

  19. Washington’s AG needs a blowjob. Badly.

    Ya v dali vizhu goroda kotorova net

    Gde likhko nayti stranniku pryiut

    Gde navernika pomnyut y zhdut

    1. Did you have a stroke?

      1. Yeah. Too much White Indian. Couldn’t take the stress.

  20. How many of you believe that, in principle, a 13-year-old should be allowed to turn tricks to support her dope habit?

    1. I believe that my opinion on whether or not she should be allowed to do so will have almost no impact at all on whether or not she will.

      Babies shouldn’t die of thirst. Middle aged men shouldn’t die of heart attacks. Nobody who desires an iPhone should have to live life without one.

      1. So you think it’s a bad thing on a par with not having an iPhone, but since you believe it’s inevitable you don’t support laws designed, purportedly, to prevent it from happening? Is that your position?

    2. Allowed by whom? The law? Her legal guardian(s)? Suppliers of dope? Potential johns? What exactly do you oppose? A 13-year old turning tricks? A 13-year old with a dope habit? Turning tricks in general? Dope in general?

      Here you go. Read it and apply it.

      Double-barreled question (Informal fallacy)

      1. Interesting name for a fallacy, but I don’t think it’s much of a critique. First of all, you can answer way you please, so if there were a fallacious element to asking these two questions at once, you could neutralize it. No one answer is called for. Secondly, the libertarian arguments for legalizing prostitution and legalizing dope share a common principle. It’s reasonable to expect both barrels to fire at once. If you want to make a separate case for each, that’s no skin off my nose, but it would be interesting to know what your reasons were. Trying to invalidate the question doesn’t tell us much, except that maybe you’d rather wriggle out of taking a position on the core issue, which is, finally, the impression that many libertarians aren’t serious about providing any kind of legal protection to children when it comes to the issues of drugs or prostitution (or pornography for that matter). If Sullum and company wish to dismiss all such concerns as “moral panic” or “hiding behind the children,” it would help their cause if they ever gave an indication of actually caring to protect children from harm, even from the sorts of harm that they believe adults should be free to bring upon themselves. So here’s a chance to find out what Sullum’s readers really think about allowing young teenagers to turn tricks. Should it be legally permitted for young teenagers to do this? Drugs or prostitution, one or the other or both? What’s your opinion?

        1. First of all, you can answer way you please, so if there were a fallacious element to asking these two questions at once, you could neutralize it.

          Have you stopped beating your wife?

          Secondly, the libertarian arguments for legalizing prostitution and legalizing dope share a common principle.

          I didn’t know the Great Consequentialist-Utilitarian War had ended. Runners! Spread the good news! Libertarians are now of one mind!

          Trying to invalidate the question doesn’t tell us much, except that maybe you’d rather wriggle out of taking a position on the core issue…

          Again, have you stopped beating your wife?

          libertarians aren’t serious about providing any kind of legal protection to children when it comes to the issues of drugs or prostitution

          How about legal protections to children when it comes to death? According to the CDC, the leading cause of unnatural deaths among children are motor vehicles. For the good of the children, let’s outlaw motor vehicles. Seriously, let’s save the kids from these 4 ton death machines.

          Should it be legally permitted for young teenagers to do this? Drugs or prostitution, one or the other or both? What’s your opinion?

          People should be allowed to do as they please, provided they are not violating the rights of others, when they are of the age when Uncle Sam can ask them to take up arms and kill the nation’s enemies, real or imagined.

          1. “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

            I don’t think that fallacy means what you think it means. Seriously, what assumption is made in that sentence that’s controversial? What makes it equivalent to a loaded question?

            “I didn’t know the Great Consequentialist-Utilitarian War had ended. Runners! Spread the good news! Libertarians are now of one mind!”

            I could try to make sense of that, but if you think I’m mistaken about there being a common basis for arguing against the criminalization of both drug use and prostitution, I wonder whether you couldn’t speak for yourself instead. I don’t have a vested interest in there being a common argument for legalizing both drugs and prostitution. It’s just an assumption I’ve made based on my feelings of what a minimally intrusive government should be like. Please, feel free to educate me as to your own opinion, or to any other opinions that you think are relevant for discussion.

            “Again, have you stopped beating your wife?”

            It’s true, I suggested you might be evading offering your own opinion on the issue I raised. Now, would that be a fallacy if you had a known history of beating your wife? Is your evasiveness really controversial at this point?

            “How about legal protections to children when it comes to death? According to the CDC, the leading cause of unnatural deaths among children are motor vehicles. For the good of the children, let’s outlaw motor vehicles. Seriously, let’s save the kids from these 4 ton death machines.”

            Actually there are restrictions on allowing children to drive, and there are child restraint laws, such as those that mandate car seats for small children. Additionally, driving in areas where children congregate is regulated, i.e. by lower speed limits and by crossing guards. Are you in principle opposed to any of those laws or regulations? What’s your opinion of the NHTSA? Do they wield too much power over automobile manufacturers? Not enough? Seriously.

            “People should be allowed to do as they please, provided they are not violating the rights of others, when they are of the age when Uncle Sam can ask them to take up arms and kill the nation’s enemies, real or imagined.”

            One might infer from that answer that your answer to my original question is no, since 13-year-olds are not old enough to join the armed forces. However, I’ll point out that the legal age of consent for sex in many jurisdictions is below the induction age for the armed services; there’s an issue of federalism. Your answer could be made by somebody who would tolerate variations in the law from state to state, such that in some states prostitution and drug use among 13-year-olds would be allowed, while in other states it would not be, the only important legal condition being that all children, upon reaching the age of induction, would be allowed to do as they please with regards to sex, drugs and money. Feel free to clarify.

            1. Prostitution and drug use are only the inevitable consequences of the agricultural city-state and its deleterious effect on man’s psyche. Without the polis, problems such as these would be non-existent.

              1. You don’t read much. Primitive cultures indeed have prostitution and drug use.

            2. I don’t think that fallacy means what you think it means. Seriously, what assumption is made in that sentence that’s controversial? What makes it equivalent to a loaded question?

              The presumption that one thing automatically proceeds from the other, or in this case, that 13-year-olds who use marijuana MUST pay for it with money acquired from prostitution. Why not cut lawns? Shovel snow? Walk dogs? Pick up dog turds like yourself from behind the dog? Selling oranges on the side of the road? Playing internet poker?

              It’s just an assumption I’ve made based on my feelings

              The root of the problem.

              Is your evasiveness really controversial at this point?

              Oh dear, someone has learned a word. Controversial. But I guess I’m being too subtle for you, so let me clarify: Your question is shit. It is a shit question that can only result in a shit answer. Why is it a shit question? See the above presumption of prostitution and drug use.

              Actually there are restrictions on allowing children to drive, and there are child restraint laws, such as those that mandate car seats for small children.

              Not what I asked, but thank for revealing that we have a fundamental difference of opinion as to what constitutes “legal protections.” I hold legal protections as restrictions on the actions of government agents against me as an individual citizen.

              Your answer could be made by somebody who would tolerate variations in the law from state to state, such that in some states prostitution and drug use among 13-year-olds would be allowed, while in other states it would not be, the only important legal condition being that all children, upon reaching the age of induction, would be allowed to do as they please with regards to sex, drugs and money.

              Why do you refer to people who are at the age of induction as “children”? And at what arbitrary age is one no longer to be considered a child?

              1. “The presumption that one thing automatically proceeds from the other….”

                Ah. Now you’re calling the original question loaded as well as double-barreled. That wasn’t clear. Now let me be clear. I’m not accusing you or any of Sullum’s readers of pimping out teenage girls so they can afford to pay you for the drugs you’ve got them hooked on. I’m posing a hypothetical to suss out what Sullum’s readers find permissible in principle.

                “The root of the problem.”

                Okay, clarify it then. You yourself argued that people should be allowed to do whatever they please providing they are not violating the rights of others. That sentiment implies that you think both drug use and prostitution should be legal. Does that really escape you?
                Show me my assumption is wrong.

                “It is a shit question that can only result in a shit answer.”

                You’re not even half right. It’s got you talking, and despite your protestations and your invective you’ve revealed something about your viewpoint and your attitude. The question was probative.

                “Not what I asked, but thank[s] for revealing that we have a fundamental difference of opinion as to what constitutes ‘legal protections.’ I hold legal protections as restrictions on the actions of government agents against me as an individual citizen.”

                Interesting. I think we might have the same understanding of “legal protections” if we’re talking about civil liberties in general. Note, however, that I spoke of providing “any kind of legal protection to children” and you said “legal protections.” That’s rather the crux of my critique of Sullum’s attempts to delegitimize arguments in favor of protecting children through legal means. Children simply don’t figure into your thinking at all, even when you pretend to engage with arguments explicitly about children. So do you support any kind of law or regulation designed to protect children who travel in automobiles? Please note that I have no intention of chastising you for taking an extreme position. Be as hostile as you wish, if that makes it easier to express yourself, but please, express yourself clearly.

                “Why do you refer to people who are at the age of induction as ‘children’? And at what arbitrary age is one no longer to be considered a child?”

                Semantics. Of course once they reach the age of induction they (children) are no longer children but adults. Do you see how that works? You can’t very well speak of adults reaching some age that would define them as adults as opposed to children. Children reach adulthood. Again, though, I can’t help pointing out that it’s rather telling that you don’t see that.

                As for the age at which children reach adulthood in all circumstances, I have no pat answer. I think the age of induction is probably good for most purposes, but I wouldn’t want to see younger teenagers prosecuted for having sex with each other, for example, and I think there are reasons for criminalizing the sale of many drugs to people under 21 or so. I will say that from my point of view, 13-year-olds are, because of their age, too vulnerable and too immature to be allowed by law to make decisions about drugs and prostitution.

                1. Shorter answer: “Won’t somebody think of the CHILDREN!?”

                  1. Do you expect that old slogan to carry any meaning? If you want to carry any credibility while you level criticisms that others are “hiding behind the children,” then you need to ensure that you don’t have a reputation for consistently failing to defend the interests of children.

                    Is it possible that thinking of the children has never informed your political views? If so, then make a case for why it’s reasonable to never think of the children. Or make a case for narrowing thinking about the children such that we can discern genuinely thinking about the children from hiding behind the children.

                    So, to sum up with another cliche, your comment is a day late and a dollar short.

    3. In principle, it depends on the 13-year-old. There are plenty of 30-year-olds who aren’t trustworthy with spending their own money, so clearly age isn’t the be all end all of responsibility.

      Most 13 year olds probably aren’t capable of the judgement necessary to make that decision, so it’s sensible to set an age limit for the purposes of law because enforcement would be a mess otherwise.

    4. I believe it’s a better hypothetical if you work roadz and Somalia into it.

      1. Like is it OK for a 13yr old to turn tricks with the pothole crew working on I88 (the beltway of Mogadishu) to support her kaat habit?

        1. If it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

      2. Sullum has made something of a crusade of ensuring that those who sexually exploit children aren’t unfairly deprived of their liberties. Reason beats the drum of drug legalization on a daily basis. It’s much more common than their advocacy for defunding public roads projects and Somalia-like anarchy, although it has published articles like “The Anarchy Advantage in Somalia” that make one scratch one’s head.

        Although you might not hear it from Sullum, the link between sexual exploitation and illicit drug use doesn’t only occur in questions designed to tease out how libertarians really feel about protecting children. For instance, the case of Steven D. Ballinger involved the defendant, Ballinger, giving his 12-year-old victim cocaine. Sullum never reported that fact, as far as I know, but it’s a matter of public record.

        So I think the question as it stands is pretty germane. But thanks for injecting a note of levity. It says a lot.

  21. “attorneys general”, Ms Henderson.

    1. What an irritating convention. Do you want people to put a capital r in the front realtoRs, too? Because I won’t.

  22. How can you waste time discussing crap like this when there’s much more important news!!!

    New York’s Serial Starbucks Masturbator Has Gone Into Internet Hiding

  23. All clergy are goddamn communist. The one thing the French revolution got right was how you deal with them.

  24. Way to continue to tolerate this garbage, editors.

    1. Can’t keep up wiff da big dogs?

      Getting sand kicked in your eyes?

      “The Incident that Made a Man Out of Warty”

      1. What’s the matter, rectal? A little down in the dumps? Don’t worry, just take another hit and keep on posting. The crash’ll never happen as long as that meth is still around.

        1. Warty, why do you assume the editors, or their squirrels, have the ability to ban WI? Think of how many IP addresses you have access to at your university; not to mention public libraries, coffee shops, proxies, etc, etc.

          Maybe they have tried the banhammer but it has been limp in its efforts.

          1. A statement that they tried would be nice. And I’m not buying your theory that she can fit through her front door.

            1. Oh no, don’t get me wrong; my actual theory is that WI is Walter Block and that Welch & Co. are all in on it. It’s the only theory that fits the facts, and that’s a fact…jack.

  25. ….strike again — got their noses in everyone’s bedroom.

  26. Wasn’t this sort of exploitation of women (lightly put) the norm for White Indian’s model for humanity?

        1. Hey, look on the bright side: now, all our female friends get to be abused, beaten, and raped violently as they gambol across the Rio Grande!

          1. Wasn’t that the plot of a John Wayne movie of the same name?

            1. No, no, I’m am pretty sure that John Wayne was in a movie called Rio Grande and that it was about gamboling rapers, or gamboling rapees, or libertarian gambolers, or whatever.

              Somebody here has got to remember that movie.

    1. Male violence toward women originated with agriculture, which transmuted women into beasts of burden and breeders of children. Before farming, the egalitarianism of foraging life “applied as fully to women as to men,” judged Eleanor Leacock…

      Agriculture: Demon Engine of Civilization
      by John Zerzan
      http://rewild.info/anthropik/l…..ilization/

      1. Yeah, well that’s just like, your opinion, man.

      2. Where all the White Indian women at?

        1. The White Indians of Colonial America.
          Author: James Axtell.
          Source: The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 55-88
          http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/w…..ic.www/web 200/white indians.pdf

          1. faculty.umf.maine.edu/walter.sargent/public.www/web 200/white indians.pdf

            1. …are they hot?

  27. You know who else hid behind children….

    1. ATLAS SHRIEKED: Ayn Rand’s First Love and Mentor Was A Sadistic Serial Killer Who Dismembered Little Girls
      By Mark Ames | February 26, 2010
      http://exiledonline.com/atlas-…..nds-heart/

      1. Yeah, that’s true and everything, but you can’t really blame him; he’s just a product of the unnatural and oppressive city-state.

        1. Agriculture made him do it man.

          1. …linked to schizophrenia.

            Dohan, F.C., Genetic hypothesis of idiopathic schizophrenia : its exorphin connection. Schizophr. Bull. 1988 / 14 (4) / 489-494.

            Ross-Smith, P. et al, Diet (gluten) and Schizophrenia. J. Hum. Nutr. 1980 / 34 (2) / 107-112.

            Need more references?

            1. …if I drink gluten-free beer… my urge to kill will be sated?

              Or will I just be pissed because my beer tastes like molasses and hops?

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  29. movies make me happy

  30. To the Greeks, work was a curse and nothing else. Their name for it – ponos – has the same root as the Latin poena, sorrow.

    1. I’m quitting my job tomorrow so I can gambol around the woods the rest of my life.

      To blistering fuck with my wife and children. They deserve to starve on their agriculturally-procured foodstuffs, anyway.

      In fact, I may kill and eat them before I leave, as it is now okay to be a barbarian as well.

      1. Arens (1979) has asserted, paralleling Godelier to some extent, that cannibalism as a cultural phenomenon is a fiction, invented and promoted by agencies of outside conquest. But there is documentation of this practice (e.g. Poole 1983, Tuzin 1976) among, once again, peoples involved in domestication. The studies by Hogg (1966), for example, reveal its presence among certain African tribes, steeped in ritual and grounded in agriculture. Cannibalism is generally a form of cultural control of chaos, in which the victim represents animality, or all that should be tamed (Sanday 1986). Significantly, one of the important myths of Fiji Islanders, “How the Fijians first became cannibals,” is literally a tale of planting (Sahlins 1983). Similarly, the highly domesticated and time conscious Aztecs practiced human sacrifice as a gesture to tame unruly forces and uphold the social equilibrium of a very alienated society. As Norbeck (1961) pointed out, non-domesticated, “culturally impoverished” societies are devoid of cannibalism and human sacrifice.

        As for one of the basic underpinnings of violence in more complex societies, Barnes (1970) found that “reports in the ethnographic literature of territorial struggles” between gatherer-hunters are “extremely rare.” !Kung boundaries are vague and undefended (Lee 1979); Pandaram territories overlap, and individuals go where they please (Morris 1982); Hazda move freely from region to region (Woodburn 1968); boundaries and trespass have little or no meaning to the Mbuti (Turnbull 1966); and Australian Aborigines reject territorial or social demarcations (Gumpert 1981, Hamilton 1982). An ethic of generosity and hospitality takes the place of exclusivity (Steward 1968, Hiatt 1968).

        ~John Zerzan
        Future Primitive

        1. Them theres a lot of fancy college words to say you want to live in the woods.

          1. As a civilization becomes increasingly refined, and far less intelligent, it becomes easy prey … You might even say that barbarians operate at a meta-level: they plant and harvest value out of civilizations.

            The Return of the Barbarian
            by Venkat on March 10, 2011
            http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2011/03/10/…..barbarian/

            1. …what’s the best way to cook and eat my family? Or should I eat them raw?

              1. Melted into the pavement.

            2. Give me a company of men with M60s and your barbarians will go from operating at a meta-level to operating at a fertilizer-level.

              1. Why would I give them to you, just because you’re mewling for them?

        2. boundaries and trespass have little or no meaning to the Mbuti

          How about sleeping sickness? Nothing more glorious about gamboling about the jungles than death due to bloodborne parasites.

          1. Ethnographic observations suggest that parasite loads are often relatively low in mobile bands and commonly increase as sedentary lifestyles are adopted. Similar observations imply that intestinal infestations are commonly more severe in sedentary populations than in their more mobile neighbors. The data also indicate that primitive populations often display better accommodation to their indigenous parasites (that is, fewer symptoms of disease in proportion to their parasite load) than we might otherwise expect. The archaeological evidence suggests that, insofar as intestinal parasite loads can be measured by their effects on overall nutrition (for example, on rates of anemia), these infections were relatively mild in early human populations but became increasingly severe as populations grew larger and more sedentary.

            Health and the Rise of Civilization
            Mark Nathan Cohen
            Yale University Press
            http://www.primitivism.com/health-civilization.htm

        3. “boundaries and trespass have little or no meaning to the Mbuti (Turnbull 1966);”

          Whereas the Pygmies will shoot your ass with a poison dart if you enter their forest.

          Even primitives have different cultures. This idea that primitives are universally peaceful and gentle is axiomatically incorrect.

          1. So you don’t like rather’s video Christmas card?

        1. I’ll be in my bunk

  31. Why no one like me? Me throw out references to highly-obscure college PROFessors who agree with me cockamamie theory on CIVILIzation and PRIVATion and other words me use part-caps when typing on computer while bitching about agriculture! Me should be listened at and free to gamble!

    1. LOL, don’t strain yourself.

      1. Have many forest friends who help me gambol and cavort and hold back urge to set fire to split-level homes of PRIVation PROPerty!

        1. WI embraces the libertarian justification for property rights, the stuff a person needs to have to survive.

          Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. ~Ayn Rand

          …he must use and transform material natural objects in order to survive, then he has the right to own the product that he has made. ~Murray Rothbard

          Sounds Legit.

          Yet one may ponder:

          ? How in hell does 1% need 40% of the stuff to survive?

          ? How the fuck does 10% need 85% of the stuff to survive?

          Are they that needy?

          When is a good time for harvest time?

          1. beats John Deere

          2. “When is a good time for harvest time?”

            After you ensure the vermin haven’t razed your crops.

  32. Why don’t the 36 rabbis, imams, and ministers walk into a bar together and drink their worries away? A humorous story would certainly arise from that situation.

    1. The Catholic priests got to the bar first and emptied the shelves?

  33. You want me back? Double my wage.

  34. Politically speaking, True Libertarians are idiots. Hence, no one with an (L) next to their name ever gets elected ever. Ever. And most likely never will.

    Why? Because libertarians often confuse politics with libertinism.

    The answer to whether or not a child should be able to take a bong hit and then jerk off some old dude for a sawbuck is very simple.

    Ready… The answer is: federally no such laws should limit that sort of behavior. However, if local and state governments wanna set up laws to restrict drugs and sex, they should be free to do so with voter and legislative approval.

    That’s the correct answer. Different communities have different needs etc. You make fools of yourselves, politically, when you argue that there should be no drug/sex laws anywhere ever in the US at any level.

    Libertarianism is about limiting the power of the federal government. Sheesh!

    1. Then what is libertarianism about in countries that don’t have a federal system of gov’t?

  35. If you help adults connect with adults for consensual sex, you are objectively in favor of raping children.

    WTF? They gotta learn sometime.

  36. Doesn’t Craigslist still have its personals section, though, that includes “casual encounters?” Seems pretty adult to me.

  37. Did anybody else here read “36 rabbits” the first time they read that?

  38. Canada passing the pot licensing to doctors only but it ain’t good news

  39. Hmm.. Wouldn’t limiting the ease and availability of offering such highly immoral services under the cover of anonymity possibly help… I had a friend who used craigslist for sex and he certainly didn’t feel better about himself even if it was consensual.. He admitted he was absolutely pathetic

  40. Hmm.. Wouldn’t limiting the ease and availability of offering such highly immoral services under the cover of anonymity possibly help… I had a friend who used craigslist for sex and he certainly didn’t feel better about himself even if it was consensual.. He admitted he was absolutely pathetic

  41. Now that liberals have mainstreamed homosexuality, the next frontier is the exploitation of children. Roman Polanski was just ahead of his time.

  42. “Even if one minor is sold for sex, it is one too many.”

    Seems like those 36 religious leaders have come up with an excellent reason to abolish all organized religion, all daycare, and all public schools, given the propensity for child molesters to use those avenues to reach kids.

    It’s also a great argument for abolishing family and parenthood, since the majority of child abuse victims are victimized by family members.

  43. >>> Got that? If you help adults connect with adults for consensual sex, you are objectively in favor of raping children.

    Uh, where did it say that?

  44. Thank you so much for this, Jacob; sometimes those of us who fight for the right of women to have sex on our own terms and for our own reasons (including the profit motive), feel as though we’re in an echo chamber inhabited by nobody other than other sex workers. So it’s always gratifying to see respected journalists going to bat for us, and calling attention to what seems to escape so many people: that anti-trafficking rhetoric is nothing less than a patronizing, paternalistic attack on women’s right to own and control our own bodies.

  45. In rural Thailand, people sell their daughters at about the age of twelve. Either to a wealthy man who wants her as a wife or tee-lock?lover–or to a madam who will sell her over and over again. Doing this is thought to be better for her than marrying her to a villager and having her live on fish heads and rice for the rest of her life.

  46. Seems like those 36 religious leaders have come up with an excellent reason to abolish all organized religion, all daycare, and all public schools, given the propensity for child molesters to use those avenues to reach kids.

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