Do Libertarians Believe in The Legalization of Prostitution?

by Libertarian Country December 09, 2022

Do Libertarians Believe in The Legalization of Prostitution?

The debate has raged on for hundreds, if not thousands of years; should you be legally permitted to sell sexual services for profit? Commonly referred to as prostitution.

Moral crusaders argue that the practice is a vile and abhorrent social ill and should not be allowed to freely exist in a civilized society. As such, they call on government to ban the act of prostitution and criminalize it in an effort to thwart its survival. Some women's advocacy groups, despite their claims of embracing radical feminism, argue that, whether it's consensual or not, it is blatant exploitation and seek also to rid the world of the practice.

An unlikely pair, but some left-wing radical feminists find themselves aligned with evangelical right-wing conservatives on the issue, adding confirmation to the proverbial saying 'politics makes strange bedfellows'. 

Where do Libertarians stand on the issue of prostitution?

As outline in some of our previous articles, the perpetual challenge for libertarians is to not allow their moral compass to supersede and stamp out the liberty of others.

The issue of prostitution is one such challenge for many libertarians. They may agree with the moralists that prostitution is vile and abhorrent and has no place in a civilized society, but concede that authoritarianism and government tyranny is public enemy number one, and also has no place in a free society.

As such, libertarians almost unilaterally agree that the right of the individual to sell sexual services for profits must not be infringed by the state, regardless of moral opposition.

The government, in fact, has no authority to criminalize adult prostitution on any grounds. Human beings inherently have free agency and bodily autonomy, and therefore have every right to have consensual sexual intercourse for profit, or for whatever other reason they choose. It is their choice.

Libertarians, moralists, conservatives and feminists alike can speak out against a practice and maintain their moral opposition whilst simultaneously concluding that it is not the government's job to curtail and eradicate so-called morally degenerative behavior. The government has no authority to ban prostitution, whether we agree with the practice or not.

The main objective of the libertarian is to maximize the liberty of all people and preserve the foundations of freedom. If we allow the government to utilize force, violence and oppression to stamp out victimless crimes, we give them carte blanche to run our lives however they see fit, and roll out the red carpet for totalitarianism.    

For more information, see What is Libertarianism?

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