There ain't nothing I can do, or nothing I can say,
Some folks will criticize me.
So I'm gonna do just what I want to anyway,
And don't care if you all despise me.
If I should take a notion
To jump into the ocean,
It ain't nobody's business if I do.
-- Billie Holiday
Billie is dead. Isn't it strange that those Americans who find little else to love about the symbol of Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit and living in despair are so apt to destroy the import of this song? What do I mean? I mean the welfare state and making it your business.
As we are all aware, the Governor of California, whose election is beginning to trouble me, is flirting with the idea of legalizing marijuana. As well, that provocative busybody Gavin Newsome, is flirting with prostitutes and pursuing an agenda of legalizing their trade. These are a few other vices that the government is trying to horn in on.
When I was a kid, I never had a good head for cards or dice games. I never quite understood gambling. Sure I was good at math, but not that kind. I couldn't get my head around those figures, but I sure did know people who could. A kid named Phillip Driver was the most brilliant chess hustler I ever knew. He knew what it meant to take a half point off the spread. You couldn't even pitch pennies and win against him, and he was devastating at dice. Of course he got kicked out of our Catholic school because such enterprises were frowned upon. And we all know that we can't run dice games or run numbers or have bingo without running afoul of the law. But still somehow we do. There's not much three card monte on street corners in LA, that's because people don't walk - they take the bus, so that's where the games are. The personal gambling still happens.
But in Gardena, you can play Pai Gow Poker. That city takes a piece. Obviously if you're in one of the new counties where there is Indian gaming, the deal has been struck. But let's not forget that millions of Californians manage, somehow, some way, to get their sex for hire and their weed and their crystal meth and nitrous for their cars and their porn and everything else. I'm a civil libertarian. Always have been. So my argument is fundamentally that people find their own way to happiness, even if that happiness is morally suspect. I tolerate a lot of uncivilized behavior in civil society that I disapprove personally because I'd rather not have the government enforcing codes of social behavior outside of crime.
So for the sake of our argument, let us imagine that along the spectrum of human behavior that half is civilized and half is uncivilized. Let us further say that one half of the uncivilized behavior is evil. That leaves 75% of human behavior which is better or worse, but not evil. I would consider prostitution and getting high as not inherently evil - they're in the 75% Then again, running through a stop sign or painting graffiti on a subway are not inherently evil either. But both are uncivilized. So in our society we have decided in the aegis of the law covers a great deal of our behavior, both civilized and uncivilized. There are crimes which are not evil, and that covers prostitution and getting high.
I think we'd all agree that we'd have a police state if we were to enforce every law all the time - if we tried to force people to be civilized. And so it works out that while we have laws against uncivilized behavior, those laws are understood that they are not to be enforced. In that regard the morality of the law is in our minds, but the government is not necessarily in our faces.
So where am I going with this? As soon as we take prostitution and getting high off the black market for the purposes of regulation or taxation, we are getting in people's faces. This is counterintuitive to all of the arguments we've grown up with, but there is no getting around the fact that all of the conflict around these uncivilized human behaviors is being handled right now without any assistance from the government or regulation. That's what a black market is. It happens in darkness.
To shine light on prostitution and getting high, to give them the protection of society, is to bring more of the spectrum of human behavior into the regulation of government. Pimps, johns and hookers will fill the civil courts with their beefs. Drug dealers and suppliers will have arbitration in small claims court. For what?
More and more of human behavior under the spotlight and control over government is a bad idea. Why this is considered 'liberal' defies reason.