Children’s Rights and Libertarianism

From: Darien Sumner

Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:37 PM


Subject: re: Child Prostitution

Well, that’s the most awkward e-mail subject I’ve ever typed.

As regards your correspondence with Ed on the subject of child prostitution, I believe the matter can be cleared up a bit if one considers the nature of the parent-child relationship. This is a topic I dove into some years back on the topic of spanking (

— also your fault, Dr. Block!), and I think the same logic applies here.

Parentage, in my view, is a trust. Must as the manager of a trust fund has an obligation to deliver the fund in good condition when the heir is of age to inherit, the parents have the obligation to deliver the object of their trust — namely, the child himself — in good condition once the heir is of age. If we hold that prostitution is inherently harmful to a child, then there is no difficulty in seeing how parents who allow their children to become prostitutes are in grave violation of their stewardship obligations.

If a trustee of a monetary trust is found to have managed the money wrongfully — the classic example is of the trustee who gambles it away, planning to replace the missing money with “winnings” that never come — then he is certainly a criminal (note that this is different from the trustee who merely manages the money *badly*). Why would not parents who manage their child wrongfully (again, as distinct from merely badly) also be criminals? In both cases, the wrongful behavior of the trustee has damaged the object of the trust; indeed, one could comfortably argue that the parents are far worse criminals than the money manager, since surely causing the child himself to be sexually exploited is a graver crime than the theft of some money.

Anyhow, I hope my meanderings have been of some value to you. Thank you again for everything you do — especially for exposing such interesting questions for us to think about!

— D

Dear Darien:

You make excellent sense.

Here are my pubs on spanking:

December 9, 2013. Debate: Walter Block and Stefan Molyneux, Freedomain Radio on spanking children. Michael DeMarco;; skype: michaelmdemarco; 716-533-2171; Video:;


Block, Walter E. 2016. Starving Child, Part III: Spanking Children; November 5;

Mosquito, Bionic. 2016. “Walter Hits One Out of the Park.” November 5;

July 16, 2017. Vancouver, BC, Canada. Walter Block debates Tim Moen, Leader of the Canadian Libertarian Party.

436 W Pender Street, downtown Vancouver at 2:30pm.  Topic: Is spanking children compatible with libertarianism? Contact: Victor Pross:; or go here: Open to the public.

July 21, 2013. Interview with Steve Patterson, FEE


Best regards,



4:09 am on January 10, 2021