Is slavery harmful?
Larry Sanger's recent post brought out the usual idiotic comments. But some thoughtful and clever comments too, in particular from someone called 'Carl Gombrich' who I suspect is the grandson of E.H. Gombrich. Some asked for evidence which supports Larry's implicit assumption that pornography is harmful to children. Gombrich replies, asking whether there is any evidence that slavery is harmful.
[…] as far as I know there is nothing we could really call evidence to show that slavery is bad, either collectively or for individuals kept as slaves. Are those refusing to move on restricting the access of children to pornography therefore in favour of legalising slavery until we have ‘evidence’ (presumably a longitudinal study over many years involving several hundred people, control groups etc) to show that slavery is harmful? Specifically that it is so harmful to individuals that it should therefore be outlawed? If they do not advocate such a move, why don’t they? That is the logic of the position: no evidence, no move.
But the important point is that slavery is bad, and the argument that it is bad was successfully made on moral grounds by previous generations in the West. That is why it is outlawed in many countries.
Now ask: is it better or worse for children to come across hardcore pornography? We are talking children, not adolescents searching out of curiosity or for arousal, but children, for whom sexuality is a very different thing. I would like to know the libertarian answer to this question. If you think it is better that children do not see hardcore pornography, then we should something about the fact that, increasingly, many of them do.