Pillars of Libertarianism Part III: Self-Ownership

Introduction

In the first two parts we explored Natural Rights and Non-Agression. In this part we will deal with Self ownership.

What is Self-Ownership?

Self-Ownership is a moral idea that says that a person owns themselves. Basically a person owns their own mind and body. This means that nobody can do anything to you without your consent. Consequently you can do anything you wish to your own body.

Self-Ownership and Slavery

If a person owns themselves then it reasons that nobody else can own them. Thus Self-Ownership precludes slavery. Slavery is wrong because it constitutes theft of a person not because there is anything fundamentally wrong with property. Furthermore while a person could theoretically sell themselves into slavery nobody would willingly do this. Thus Self-Ownership is an ideological safe-guard against slavery.

Self-Ownership and Rape

I have been seeing this question a lot lately: if sex is meaningless or casual and chill then why is rape a problem? As if the problem with rape had anything to do with the nature of sex. It doesn’t. I believe that there is no meaningless sex however that is beside the point. Even if sex could actually be cool and chill rape would still be wrong because it is a violation of Self-Ownership. In other words the seriousness of Rape comes from violation of Personal Autonomy not the Sanctity, or lack thereof, of sex. What sex is or isn’t is an entirely separate issue. Bodily autonomy is the issue not sex.

Why Self-Ownership is relevant

Self-Ownership is relevant because it enshrines bodily autonomy as an ethical principle. Because of this nobody can do anything to you without consent. Likewise you can do anything to yourself that you wish.

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