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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Greeting to all the “criminals” the Council of Wizards created recently with a single magical proclamation.  Neither you nor the morality of your decisions changed one iota; politicians simply decided to send violent thugs to disrupt your life because sadfeelz.  Please remember that in the future when you’re tempted to demonize other people for having been made “criminals” by similar magic “laws”.  Of course, there are such things as actual crimes, though they’re neither as common as authoritarians want you to believe, nor as common as they used to be.  One of the stronger theories about why the crime rate dropped so dramatically after the early ’90s is that due to Roe v Wade, fewer babies were born into the dire poverty that engenders a lot of actual (as opposed to consensual) crime.  So when the crime rates in abortion-banning states starts to rise again in about 16 years, don’t pretend it’s because there aren’t enough cops or the prison-cages aren’t packed full enough.  Of course, the politicians will make that claim, and useful idiots will believe them.  But when that happens, do spare a footnote in your academic paper on the topic (or a citation in your “thinkpiece”) for that crazy whore who told you so way back in the ’20s.

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As I wrote last year on this day, the time has come for me to stop writing new essays for this and the other days on which I have in the past published polemics, because “The wheel turns inexorably, and all there is to say about it has already been said countless times; there is, I think, little point in saying it again“…  Last year, I observed each of those occasions with links to all the previous examples, so that the interested reader can more easily explore them.  Though some may contain details to events which are no longer current, I think you’ll still find most of them worth your while if you’ve never read them, or even if you have.

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Today is a day to shamelessly celebrate our shameless history, not a day to cater to the precious fee-fees of amateurs by neutering our terminology so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities.  –  “Unsanitized

Last year, I observed every one of the days I usually observe with polemics by instead providing quotes from and links to all the previous essays for that day.  I did this “lest I grow irrelevant due to repetition.  Besides, I’ve already written plenty“…but I did make one exception: this one, International Whores’ Day, because for the past few years I’ve noticed some sex worker organizations and social media accounts trying to sanitize our struggle by eliminating the “nasty” word “whore” rather than celebrating our long history as sexual outlaws.  I already explained last year why this is misguided and counterproductive; this year I’m going to bring this observance into line with the others by quoting previous years’ essays.

Yes, things are very damned bad right now…and it will pass, as everything does.  And when it does we will still be here, just as we always have been.  –  “Eternal as the Sea

Politicians who up until recently coudn’t even be bothered to accept that sex workers have basic civil rights are now actively calling for decriminalization.  –  “Galvanized

It is the intrinsic nature of government to continue growing ever more tyrannous until a revolution becomes inevitable.  –  “Cornered Animals

Every day, sex workers of all backgrounds, all around the world, work to debunk prohibitionist lies and expose the ugly truth about government persecution of individuals for the “crime” of consensual sex.  –  “Whores’ Day 2017

We are winning at last.  And there’s not a damn thing the prohibitionists can do about it.  –  “Whores’ Day 2016

Most feminists of 1975 still actually supported women’s choices.  –  “The Revolt of the Prostitutes

Prohibitionists…have…in[vaded] the public’s imagination with…lurid masturbatory fantasies of gypsy whores, weeping teenage “sex slaves” and leering “pimps” with magical powers.  –  “A Day for Whores

Though the crusade was rooted in American Protestant notions of “pure and pious womanhood”…it is the poorer countries of the developing world which have borne the brunt.  –  “International Whores’ Day

The tide of history is toward greater individual and sexual rights, and those who would restrict others’ sexuality, no matter what propaganda they employ, will eventually be swept away.  –  “The Birth of a Movement

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You did this to yourself.  –  cop, to grandmother he assaulted

I don’t think I can really explain the silly kitchen banter between Grace and me that resulted in my jokingly threatening to throw a “ricochet biscuit” at her, so I won’t try; I’ll just share this video for those who have no clue what I’m talking about.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Franklin Harris, Jesse Walker, Cop Crisis, Boatfloating, Kevin Wilson, and Cop Crisis again, in that order.

From the Archives

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The average age of a US Senator is 63, and the average age in the House of Representatives is 58.  That means the average US Senator was 15 in January 1974, and the average Representative 10; half of them are older than that, so the majority are more than old enough to remember the debacle that was year-round Daylight Saving Time.  I certainly do; it was still pitch-black when school started, and that was in Louisiana; I can only imagine how black it was in, say, North Dakota, where sunrise wouldn’t have come until well after 9 AM in January.
Of course, my brain is a bit healthier than that of the average Congresscritter, so perhaps the average politician’s memory doesn’t even extend back into the last century at all, much less to the incredibly remote year 1974.  But one would presume they have staff to do the actual thinking for them (as opposed to the scheming, which most of them do much too well on their own), so there really isn’t an excuse for repeated attempts at social engineering that aren’t even tied to some kind of grift, pork, or fascist collaboration.

I’m not going to go into detail about why even regular Daylight Saving Time is a terrible idea; I’ve done it before, many others have done it before, and neither control freaks nor sun-worshipers will believe the evidence anyhow, no matter how broad the consensus.  Americans especially balk at the idea that if they want extra time after work, they should simply adjust their schedules (get up an hour earlier to do chores & errands before work, etc); they much prefer the State to force everyone to do it with them whether those people want it or not.  All I’ll say is this: as in 1974, most people are going to hate this by January after it takes effect.  But given that the US bureaucracy has expanded dramatically in the past 50 years (and its inertia has multiplied exponentially), I’m not sanguine about us getting out of the mess Congress is about to impose upon us nearly as quickly and easily this time.

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Where is the baby pit bull?  –  cop, during no-knock raid

I’m really annoyed that The Steven Banks Show, an extremely funny comedy produced by my home-town PBS station, WYES, has never been released on DVD.  To give you a taste, here’s the show’s soundtrack album (which I own on CD, naturally).  The links above the video were provided by Mike Siegel, Franklin Harris, Cop Crisis, Jesse Walker, Cop Crisis again, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives

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Under feudalism most people are serfs, legally bound to a certain piece of land and barred from leaving it without the permission of their lords.  Serfdom as such was abolished centuries ago in the West, but in recent years governments have increasingly attempted to bring back the idea that citizens are (at least in some ways) owned by the governments under which they live, and therefore subject to the diktats of their owners even if they travel to places with different laws.  And I don’t mean only totalitarian states; the governments I speak of are modern Western ones.  Swedish politicians have made several attempts to criminalize their subjects who pay for sex in countries where it’s legal, despite objections from saner politicians that it would set a dangerous precedent for people who have homosexual relations or abortions in Sweden when those things are criminalized in their own countries.  Some countries criminalize parents who seek surrogacy arrangements overseas, and of course many tax jurisdictions (including the US) try to rob citizens blind if they have the temerity to move elsewhere.  And now American states which more aggressively claim ownership over their residents are also attempting to prevent their circumventing that control:

…a prominent antiabortion [politician] in Missouri, from where thousands of residents have traveled to next-door Illinois to receive abortions since Missouri passed one of the country’s strictest abortion laws in 2019, [now wants to]…allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident obtain an abortion out of state, using the novel legal strategy [pioneered by]…Texas…the measure is [clearly] unconstitutional because it would effectively allow states to enact laws beyond their jurisdictions, but…Coleman…also w[ants to criminalize the]…possess[ion of]…abortion pills in Missouri…If enacted, the measure almost certainly would face a swift legal challenge…

And Missouri isn’t the only state to imitate Texan tyranny:

The Idaho House of Representatives…passed legislation to make it a crime punishable by life in prison for a parent to seek out gender-affirming health care for their transgender child…and…A parent or guardian would also be guilty of a felony if they travel with their child to another state for the purpose of obtaining gender-affirming health care…the Idaho proposal…is not unlike laws from a prior generation, including the criminalization of interracial couples traveling to another state to get married…which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.  People already take trips to other states to do things that are legal that they can’t do where they live — from consuming cannabis, gambling or buying fireworks to obtaining an abortion — and there’s little states can do to stop that because of constitutional limits on restricting interstate travel…

It’s not coincidental that laws which attempt to reduce people to a kind of serfdom all revolve around things they might do with their genitalia; Americans have long been obsessed with what other people have between their legs, and what they do with that equipment, so naturally attempts to abrogate human rights often start thus because too many of their countrymen have similar views, and most of those who don’t are too ashamed to defend these rights (which is why so many who do defend them couch them in neutered euphemisms like “love”).  But make no mistake: if these abominations are allowed to stand, the precedent will quickly be extended to other rights that control freaks hate, just as Texas’ abortion law has already inspired gun-grabbers to attempt similar tactics.  And if you think the current police state is bad, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

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It’s called silly string. It’s silly.  –  Suzanne Johnson

As one who appreciates both Doctor Who and Jacques Brel, I found this extremely funny; I hope you do as well.  The links above it were provided by David Ley, Franklin Harris, Scott Greenfield, Walter Olson, Jesse Walker, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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One of the titles by which the 20th Century will no doubt be known to future historians is “the Prohibition Era”.  The concept of Prohibition first started to take root in the diseased brains of control freaks in the late 19th century; it was an outgrowth of the broader “Progressive” philosophy which held that ordinary people cannot be trusted with our own lives, and must therefore be ruled by “experts” who decide for everyone how the human race should be “improved”, and enforce their diktats with violent thug armies whose actions cannot easily be reconciled with the concept of civil rights.  The first prohibitionist laws date to the late 19th century, but it was in the 20th that the concept not only reached full flower, but also successfully penetrated the minds of the general public so thoroughly that most took it for granted that for governments to tell people what they could consume, what they could own, and even what thoughts they could have while agreeing to consensual sex, was not only normal, but desirableFull alcohol prohibition lasted barely over a decade, but it left in its wake a patchwork of local prohibitions which have only very gradually eroded (and in some ways worsened again toward the end of the century).  And the failure of this one form of prohibition to thrive probably has a great deal to do with the fact that virtually no other country was willing to follow the American example; in most other cases, prohibitions which started in the US (such as drugs and prostitution) spread like a plague over the rest of the world.

But as the 20th century recedes into the past and the number of adults who can’t even remember it grows with every passing year, what Josephine Butler called “the fatuous belief that you can oblige human beings to be moral by force” has gradually become less popular.  The once-global “War on Drugs” is beginning to wind down, and the full or partial criminalization of sex work is increasingly recognized as an abomination by those with healthy minds and respect for human rights.  New South Wales decriminalized “prostitution” in 1995, followed by New Zealand in 2003; many other countries at least loosened their laws on the subject around that same time.  Unfortunately, the prohibitionists recognized the trend before it could snowball, and began a propaganda campaign to convince the world that adult women are universally too weak-minded and spineless to be allowed to run our own sexual affairs, and that phenomena which had previously always been recognized as the pragmatic sexual decisions of individual women were in reality the result of the machinations of a vast cabal of “sex traffickers” abducting hundreds of thousands of “children” into literal slavery.  But moral panics have a very limited lifespan, and this one is already long past its heyday of the early ’10s.  It is now in the process of imploding in a rather spectacular fashion, and opposition to the continued criminalization of sex work has become a safe position even for US politicians.  The temporarily-delayed process of decriminalization got rolling again over the past few years; Australia’s Northern Territory decriminalized near the end of 2019, and Victoria state followed suit just a few weeks ago.  And now the first country outside of Oceania is set to join them:

The official green light has been given to Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne’s proposal to reform Belgium’s sexual criminal law…[by] remov[ing] sex work from the penal code…The Federal Parliament still has to approve the proposal but that is not expected to be more than a formality.  “This is a crucial leap forward. We are finally giving sex workers what they are entitled to: recognition and protection. Something they have been asking for decades,” Van Quickenborne said…Under current regulation, sex work is allowed, but third parties involved with sex workers are committing a crime.  The law [cl]aims to target pimps but in practice impacts other people…from book-keepers and web designers to drivers, landlords and even banks…

The importance of this move is difficult to overstate; the “sex trafficking” myth has provided a convenient cloak for Europen racism, and European chauvinism made decriminalization easy to ignore as long as it was strictly a “Down Under” practice (the same chauvinism has given the toxic “Swedish model” undeserved credibility).  But if Belgium follows through, Europe can no longer dismiss recognition of the sexual rights of adult women as a provincial abberation, and it’s entirely possible others may follow its example.

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As I wrote last year on this day, the time has come for me to stop writing new essays for this and the other days in which I have in the past published polemics, “lest I grow irrelevant due to repetition.  Besides, I’ve already written plenty“… Last year, I observed each of those occasions with links to all the previous examples, so that the interested reader can more easily explore them.  Though some of them may contain details to events which are no longer current, I think you’ll still find most of them worth your while if you’ve never read them, or even if you have.

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