Although by the end of the debate, I think Block ends up making the stronger points in favor of voluntary slavery, what I want to do is focus on the first 15 minutes of the debate where Kinsella brings up debtor's prison.
What I find fascinating about this part of the debate is what I see as one of the problems with the "natural rights" approach to libertarianism. Both Block and Kinsella assume that there is some kind of natural rights resolution to the problem of debtor's prison. They are in other words thinking like central planners, like interventionists They are thinking that their "natural rights" perspective on the resolution of a debt not paid back must be held for all debts not paid back, for all people in the ENTIRE WORLD!
The problem starts with Kinsella framing the problem in terms of a contract where a person fails to pay a debt back, with no further terms to the contract. Block accepts this framework, without objection, and moves to call it theft when a debt isn't paid back and that therefore debtor's prison must not be ruled out. They then proceed to seemingly debate as though their discussion applies to all debt contracts.
But I would proceed with caution at this point. Who is to say that a contract can't stipulate, "I will give you X dollars and if you don't pay me back X dollars plus 10%, I will send you to prison for Z period." You then sign the contract. This takes the argument completely out of a "natural rights" debate and into the world of contracts between two people. (Note: It does get a little more complex, if no penalty is stipulated in the contract. I would argue some type of common law could be applied, with the understanding that contract stipulations override common law.)
But, neither Block nor Kinsella seem to consider the stipulation option with regard to debt, though Block does use the same basic contractual stipulation argument for voluntary slavery. They are both thinking, at the get go with regard to debt, from a natural rights perspective, as if there is some divine natural right that must be discovered. But, is it possible to think of a society that doesn't consider natural rights?
If a society exists, not based upon natural rights, but some form of initial designed private property rights (I'm not ruling out homesteading as a possible form of design, but not necessarily limiting it to that possibility), where private contracts are recognized and transactions between individuals are respected, then all these debates about how to interpret "natural rights" disappear. I would want to live in such a society, not because of some mystical, magical arguments about natural rights, but because a society based on respect of private property, private contracts and respect for the non-aggression principle is going to be a society that is going to A. provide me with a great degree of freedom. B. likely result in a society that has a very high standard of living.
Ludwig von Mises has taught us this. In Human Action, he wrote (p. 280):
The member of a contractual society is free because he serves others only in serving himself.In Socialism, he wrote (p. 361)
That everyone lives and wishes to live primarily for himself does not disturb social life but promotes it, for the higher fulfillment of the individual's life is possible only in and through society.There is no need to base a free, contractual society on supposed natural rights. The intelligent man seeking freedom and a high standard of living will seek out this kind of society that Mises writes of.
If others want to live in another types society, I say let them go for it. If the Amish want to live based on different rules, then that's fine with me. If others want to live in a kibbutz, no problems from me.
Here is Mises in Planned Chaos writing along these lines (p.29):
It is a fact that men disagree in their value judgments. It is insolent to arrogate to oneself the right to overrule the plans of other people and to force them to submit to the plan of the planner.What I would like to see (for myself) is societies emerge where lots of freedom exists and designed into the system. I think Doug Casey's project, which is going in this direction, is very important. The seasteading project is another exciting project. I would like to see entrepreneurs coming up with more such designed projects.
These projects, of course, are not necessarily designed on the idea that the founders think they know best what "natural rights" are and how everyone else in the WORLD should live. They could simply be societies designed along the lines of the non-aggression principle, designed to attract other like minded people.
I hasten to add that I have no problem with anyone who attempts to turn current governments into such designed societies, not because there is some mythical "natural rights," but because, again, I would want to live in such societies.
There may be other options. Perhaps there are ways to construct mini-societies within a greater more totalitarian society. Perhaps it is best to think about constructing such societies in lands where there are weak governments. Perhaps, it should be done offshore. Perhaps there are ways to turn state, local or federal governments into more free market societies.
I urge "free market entrepreneurs" to advance the development of such projects wherever they see the possibility of success. The more attempts, the better. And as long as the societies respect private property and are built upon the non-aggression principle, I really don't care how the decision was made to build such a foundation, whether it was because of a belief in natural rights, belief in the Ten Commandments, inspiration from Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises or Lau Tzu, who said governments are to be more feared than "fierce tigers." As long as we get there I will be very happy.