Archive for April 10th, 2011

Our democracy is but a name.  We vote?  What does that mean?  It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats.  We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. –  Helen Keller

Americans labor under the peculiar delusion that the two official chapters of the Official Big Government Party really are different from one another; this delusion is made possible by the fact that few Americans trouble themselves to learn about the world outside the United States, where most countries have half a dozen political parties which are often very different indeed.  Because of this widespread delusion one will often see partisans ranting and raving about the horrible things the other party is doing, while ignoring the fact that their own party is doing almost exactly the same thing (albeit with some slightly different spin).  One particularly egregious current example is that media feminists are engaging in histrionics about those EEEEEEEEEVIL Republicans trying to restrict abortion rights…while conveniently ignoring the fact that the Democrats (usually the party more likely to kiss feminists’ arses) are quietly working to restrict women’s other sexual rights.  In one recent example, busybodies from BOTH parties in the lower house of the Kansas legislature joined in almost-unanimously (106-16) passing a bill which would have almost certainly put over 2000 strippers out of work.

Fortunately, the Republican leadership of the upper house recognized the bill as an attempt to destroy women’s livelihoods by regulating sexually oriented businesses out of existence and have tabled it (apparently on a permanent basis).  So as in the Harry Reid case, Republicans stood up for women’s right to choose sex work while Democrats went the other way.  Please don’t interpret this as a hurrah for Republicans on my part; next month it’ll be the opposite way.  I’m just pointing out how often politicians change hats, and why American political parties are no more different from one another than two teams of kids formed from among a group of friends for some sport.  No, The Honest Courtesan’s hurrah for the day goes to the editor of  The Topeka Capital-Journal who had the balls to brand the legislators who passed the bill as moral busybodies and to refer to the bill itself as a “waste of time”:

Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate see no reason to spend time working on a bill that probably would regulate adult entertainment clubs and stores out of business.  Neither do we.  A similar bill was introduced and subsequently rejected last year.  There’s no reason to waste more time on the issue this year, especially given other important issues — including budget deficits — facing legislators.

Supporters of the bill — known as the “community defense act” — contend adult entertainment businesses, strip clubs if you will, are host sites for illegal activities ranging from drug sales and prostitution to sex slavery.  We don’t know how much, if any, marijuana or cocaine is being sold at strip clubs across Kansas, but we’re pretty sure that putting the clubs out of business entirely wouldn’t eliminate one dealer or inconvenience one user.  Anyone who wants to buy illegal drugs doesn’t have to go anywhere near an adult club to find them.  As far as the adult clubs in Kansas being hot beds of prostitution and sex slavery, we know of no one who has ever produced specific cases or statistics to back up such claims…

No, the real issue here is that the adult clubs offend the morals of some among us.  We understand that, and know their moral outrage is sincere.  However, legislation that would force all to adhere to the morals of some is bad legislation.  Granted, no one wants a strip club next to their home, their church or their children’s school.  But those are zoning issues that can be handled by local governments without state interference.  The “community defense act” would prohibit full nudity at adult entertainment clubs, force them to close between midnight and 6 a.m., require performers to stay at least 6 feet from the customers and forbid contact between performers and customers.  It also would require new clubs, adult bookstores, video stores, theaters, modeling studios and sexual device shops to be more than 1,000 feet from any church, library, park, school or day care center.

Proponents say the bill, which originated in the House and was passed along to the Senate, is not an attempt to legislate morality or regulate sexually oriented businesses out of existence.  It is exactly that, and no more time should be spent on it.  The clubs, book stores and shops will close their doors when they aren’t generating enough traffic to make a profit.  But as long as communities are supporting them financially, the Legislature should stay out of their business and find other things to do…

Given the wide-eyed eagerness with which the mainstream American media swallows any and every claim about “sex slavery”, an editorial like this is good to see.  Such journalistic integrity won’t stop the moral panic alone, but if enough members of the Fourth Estate speak up sooner or later some politicians are bound to start listening, even if only because they see the writing on the wall and want to be the ones who can say “I told you so” when this witch-hunt collapses as all of them eventually do.

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