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Maxim STILL Means Maximum Government


Maxim STILL Means Maximum Government

Replying to a Maxim Institute attack on his party for supporting the decriminalisation of prostitution unrepentant Libertarianz leader Russell Watkins says that "the Very Reverend Paul McMahon is right: my calling Maxim 'Marxist' was a misrepresentation. Any organisation that advocates limited market controls at the same time as the nationalisation of individuals is more accurately termed ‘fascist’. Thank you Paul for pointing out my understatement."

McMahon claimed that "Libertarianz display no desire whatsoever to alleviate the suffering in any person’s life if it conflicts with their ideology". Watkins says this is half-right: Libertarianz only seek to free people to make their own choices, not to nanny them.

Maxim obviously does not understand what liberty means, says Watkins. "Maxim believes liberty is licence. Maxim believes that liberty includes individual sovereignty and responsibility, EXCEPT for one's own body. Maxim apparently forgets that the flip-side of liberty is individual responsibility; the freedom to make one's choices and to live with the consequences of those choices. Prostitutes and their clients have made their choices, and it is not the job of the Maxim Institute to take responsibility for them. They should butt out.

"The Maxim Institute, much like other conservative defenders of the free market believe the government should keep out of people's boardrooms and businesses. On that, Libertarianz agree with them. Maxim, however, has no problem interfering in other people's people's bedrooms, where it advocates arresting and imprisoning people for what they do with their own bodies. Maxim are betrayed by their own inconsistency.


"The position Libertarianz take on prostitution is simply this: Who owns the bodies of adults? Maxim believes that the state should decide what rights people have in relation to what they do with their own bodies.

"Libertarianz believe that adults own their bodies and are best placed to make decisions about under what conditions they let other people touch them."

Watkins notes that Maxim's McMahon makes the "arrogant assumption" that the suppliers and consumers of the sex industry have ‘physical and psychological conditions’ that mean they are suffering. Watkins agrees this may be true in some instances, but says it is no doubt also true in respect of the food, clothing, video rental and computer game industries as well. "In fact," notes Watkins, "many people are promiscuous outside the sex industry; what would McMahon and Maxim do about those people? Does he want to arrest people for a ‘one-night stand’?"


Watkins says Maxim believe they know what is best for you and your body.


"They cannot comprehend that there are prostitutes who are no less satisfied with their employment than many other New Zealanders, and consumers of prostitution who do not consider themselves to be suffering. Does he wish to be their parent or can he not accept that adults are "grown ups" and do not need to be answerable to him, Maxim or the state when their actions do not infringe upon their bodies, property or contractual obligations either may have?


"McMahon claims women are being treated as commodities in the prostitution industry. Does this include those working for themselves? Any woman or man in the industry who has been coerced into it by violence or threats of violence should have the right of legal redress with the Police, but no doubt many fear the Police because the Police will arrest them for an illegal activity. The criminality of prostitution harms them and gives prostitutes little protection
from rape, assault and theft - but then McMahon and Maxim would protect them by locking them away for being ‘bad’ and ‘suffering’.


"McMahon and Maxim are making the incredible claim that it is ompassionate to prostitutes and their customers to fine them, to give them a criminal record, and ot lock them up. This is the same compassion granted to adult men who used to get imprisoned for consensual sex acts with each other."


Libertarianz does not ignore the impact individual choices have on others, when those choices involve the infringement of the sovereignty others have for their bodies and property. Equally, Libertarianz does not take a moral perspective on prostitution beyond asserting that the response people have to it should not be the use of force.


Watkins says Maxim and McMahon could do much to reduce the incidence of prostitution given that it morally offends them. "They could offer prostitutes alternative employment, advertise alternative entertainment for clients, encourage more people to have consensual sex." But he wonders whether the ‘compassion’ of McMahon and Maxim "stops with the handcuffs of Nanny State"? He belives he knows the reason for Maxim’s moralising however, suggesting Paul, Maxim, and various other busy-bodies should reflect on this quote by Eric Hoffer:


"A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business."


Watkins says Libertarianz’ morality is fundamentally grounded in individual sovereignty over a person's own body. "Without that, who controls what happens with your body? Maxim and McMahon see that control being by the state, and the control they see is by the use of the state’s force. Libertarianz assert that incarcerating adults for a consensual activity is immoral, and that prostitution for all above the age of consent should be legalised."


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