Thursday, May 20, 2010

Taking on the moral crusaders.

Here is Judge Napolitano taking on a pro-censorship crusader. In this debate he is joined by a friend, Prof. Steven Horwitz. I have to admit that I was originally skeptical of the Judge simply because his Fox New affiliation worried me. That news network is pretty odious and has more than one individual there who pretends to be libertarian but isn't. Yes, John Stossel is there, but he established his libertarian credentials before the move.

But everything I see from the Judge is pretty much libertarian. He has some theological inclinations but that doesn't disqualify him from being a libertarian. But this is one of those issues where Napolitano makes his libertarian leanings clear. The Barr/Root/Paul types would normally retreat to the conservative view of state's rights on this matter. Not Napolitano. I only meet him for the first time recently and then listened very carefully to a speech he gave. Again, no major flaws could be detected.

So watch it first, then come back for a few comments.

I agree with the Judge, as you might expect. However, I wish that someone had addressed the bogus claims of the moralistic censor. This loud-mouth keeps harping about the toxic effects of adult entertainment. But let's be realistic, the toxic effects are the result of censors like him. This is not to say there are no possible negatives but they are not inherent in the adult business.

Let us look at how politicians deal with the demand for censorship by their voters. Knowing they are restricted by the First Amendment from blanket bans what they do is precisely what this moron suggests: zoning all adult businesses into one area.

So they create zones where adult-oriented businesses are restricted. This concentrates the business and turns into a lucrative area for prostitutes to hang out. Of course prostitution is illegal so the sex workers tend to have to resort to street walking as it makes them less vulnerable to police stings. As the prostitutes hang out in this zoned location their pimps join them, and along with them come drug dealers. Drugs are illegal and the war on drugs forces relatively decent people out of the business, attracting people who are more prone to violence. Worse yet these violent types will fight it out for turf, something that may happen with the pimps as well.

When the industry is diffused throughout the city, much the way most shops are diffused, there is no such "toxic" effect. I have seen places where porn shops were not regulated and naturally located all over the city, without concentration. The hookers avoided hanging out around any shop as it was useless to do so, there wasn't a sufficient number of potential customers to make it worthwhile. The end result is no hookers, no pimps, no drug-dealers, no violence, no toxic effects.

The toxicity of adult-oriented businesses is the result of government regulations forcing an artificial concentration of the businesses into a confined area. This is a prime example of the solution being far worse than the problem. As has been said, there is no problem so bad that political intervention can't make it worse.