Lawsuit Filed in California Challenging Anti-Prostitution Law

hooker

This was sent to me by Starchild for publication here

The Libertarian Party of San Francisco is among the supporters of a lawsuit aimed at overturning California’s anti-prostitution law. Here is a press release from the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project, which funded the suit.

Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))

Contact: Maxine Doogan at 415-265-3302 info@esplerp.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Case # CV 3:15 01007

A lawsuit against the state of California’s outdated law that criminalizes paid sexual relations among consenting adults will be heard in federal court in Oakland on August 7, the civil rights group Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project (ESPLERP) announced today.

The lawsuit challenging the anti-prostitution statute, Section 647(b) of the California Penal Code, on Constitutional grounds was filed by the non-profit in February on behalf of several members of the Erotic Service Providers Union and a client.

Defendants being sued include state attorney general Kamala Harris, who campaigned against a ballot measure to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco while she was district attorney there, and the current district attorneys of San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, and Sonoma counties, who are among the local officials who file criminal charges against consenting adults for prostitution.

In 2012, a United Nations panel recommended that all countries work toward decriminalization of sex work and ending the unjust application of non-criminal laws and regulations against sex workers. Prostitution is already legal or decriminalized in countries such as Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Thailand among others, but with the exception of a few counties in Nevada where it is heavily restricted, remains criminalized in the United States. The U.S. has traditionally been more authoritarian on sexual matters than most developed countries. As public attitudes have grown more libertarian however, those who want to keep “the world’s oldest profession” criminalized have attempted to conflate consensual prostitution with the sensationalist issue of human trafficking.

“There are people victimized on a daily basis, under duress, beaten,” San Francisco district attorney and defendant George Gascon told ABC News in an interview about the lawsuit (http://abc7.com/news/ca-lawsuit-hopes-to-decriminalize-prostitution/547748) .

Gascon, who also opposed the citizens’ initiative to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco during his tenure as the city’s police chief in 2008, was presumably not talking about the ordinary prostitutes and their clients who are routinely victimized by police and prosecutors like himself. However the D.A. implicitly admitted that the law often fails to distinguish between prostitution and coerced sex, asking, “How do we differentiate one from the other?” Unfortunately ABC’s Carolyn Tyler did not ask the logical follow-up question, “How do police tell the difference between farm workers, factory workers, and people in other occupations who are being forced to work against their will, and workers in those occupations who, like the vast majority of sex workers, are doing their jobs voluntarily?”

The irony of prostitutes being portrayed as victims of traffickers by those who nevertheless want them treated as criminals is not lost on Maxine Doogan, the president of ESPLERP who is also one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs. “We are used to fighting an uphill battle against absurd prejudices and roadblocks,” she said. “After we successfully raised $30,000 last year to fund the first stages of this lawsuit, the crowdfunding site we were using, GoFundMe, kicked us off without explanation. I am still waiting for the return of $500 remaining in our account that they owe us. But we are moving forward and aren’t going to let this hold us back.”

A communique from Louis H. Sirkin, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs and a well-known First Amendment jurist who has argued before the Supreme Court, lists the following upcoming dates in the case’s court calendar:

May 8 – Deadline for defendants to file their motion to dismiss the lawsuit
June 8 – Deadline for plaintiffs to respond to the motion to dismiss
June 23 – Deadline for defendants to reply
August 7 – Hearing on motion to dismiss (9:00 a.m. in Courtroom #5, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, 2nd floor, Judge Jeffrey S. White)

Taking nothing for granted, Doogan expects ESPLERP’s lawsuit to be dismissed, and is already raising money for an appeal. “If the judge grants the motion to dismiss, we get to immediately appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If we proceed to trial and the judge rules against us, we will also appeal,” she said.

A second crowdfunding campaign is now underway to raise an additional $30,000 this year to cover further legal fees. Supporters can contribute to this historic effort to decriminalize prostitution in California at https://liberatetoemancipate.tilt.com/liberatetoemancipate .

Starchild, a sex worker, activist, and outreach director of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco, which supports the lawsuit, called it not only an urgent matter of human rights, but also a concern for taxpayers who are being forced to fund the prosecution and incarceration of consenting adults. “Your body, your time, your money belong to you, not to the State,” he said. “Even if no one you know provides or uses sexual services — and you may well know someone who does but is closeted — this injustice should concern you as a waste of taxpayer money that contributes to the overcrowding of jails, leads to profiling, and takes police resources away from going after those who commit real crimes involving theft or violence.”

The ESPLERP invites anyone being charged in California in connection with the 647(b) statute to use the legal brief filed in this case in their defense. It can be found online at http://esplerp.org/here-is-the-brief/ . Victims of misguided law enforcement are also encouraged to contact ESPLERP for support and assistance.

64 thoughts on “Lawsuit Filed in California Challenging Anti-Prostitution Law

  1. langa

    I wish them a lot of luck, although I’d be very surprised if they were to win.

    I’m generally not a big fan of single-issue litmus tests, but I think that a person’s attitude toward the sex industry says a lot about the respect (or lack thereof) that they show other people. For example, some “libertarians” (like Charles Johnson, among others) take the very arrogant and condescending position that sex workers are all tricked or duped, or in some way exploited or abused. I fail to see how you can argue that people should not be allowed to determine what is in their own best interest, while simultaneously claiming to be a libertarian. It boggles the mind.

    Oh, and while I’m on the subject, i don’t think we will ever have a free society as long as most people would prefer their child grow up to be a soldier than a prostitute, despite the fact that the latter profession is far more noble than the former.

  2. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Both of your points are good Langa. As far as the latter, if people can start using different words to describe “soldier” (“murderer” or “fool”, for example), that might start to chip away at this image some people have for those “fighting for our freedoms”. I also find myself expressing outrage when anyone is called a “whore” or “slut”. Those words enrage me whether anyone is talking about a sex worker or just a female they don’t like.

  3. William Saturn

    “Whore” is just a synonym for prostitute. “Slut” is a promiscuous woman. If the definition fits, use it! However, “murderer” or “fool” have a far wider definition than “soldier.” It doesn’t fit well.

  4. paulie

    As far as I know, men can be sluts. However, at least in many contexts, those words as opposed to others are used to specifically be negative and hurtful, which is why Jill is correct. Also, women (and a few men) who are not prostitutues are often called whores, as I am sure you know.

  5. langa

    As is the case with most words, I think it all depends on the context. I have heard quite a few people proudly refer to themselves as whores and/or sluts. Additionally, a lot of people get turned on by being called one or both of those names during sex. Of course, both terms also can be (and frequently are) used pejoratively, which is what I assume Jill was talking about. So, I think you have to determine whether such terms are appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

  6. William Saturn

    If being a whore is not a bad thing, why then should calling someone one be such an insult? It’s a profession. Would it be an insult to call the dog catcher a “trash man?” Here’s how the conversation would go:

    Man: You are a Trash Man!

    Dog Catcher: No. I do not collect refuse for a living. I catch stray dogs and take them to the pound.

    Why should a conversation with someone called a whore be any different?

    Man: You are a Whore!

    Someone called a whore: No. I do not exchange sex for money. I am a ___.

  7. paulie

    If being a whore is not a bad thing, why then should calling someone one be such an insult?

    Depends on context. For example, terms such as “mercenary petitioner, “political whore,” “petition gypsies,” “hobos with clipboards,” etc are generally pejorative, but some people are proud to apply those terms to themselves. Gay men may call themselves queer proudly, but object when heterosexuals use the term. Whore is not generally a neutral word, nor is slut.

  8. William Saturn

    We do not need to render more words as so socially unacceptable that their very utterance destroys lives (causing those that speak them to be shunned, lose their job, etc.). An example of one such word in existence is “nigger.” The word is so toxic that even words that sound similar (“niggardly”) create controversy. This, in its most literal meaning, limits our freedom of speech.

  9. Jed Ziggler

    Um, freedom of speech has nothing to do with what is and is not acceptable in polite society, and everything to do with what is and is not legal. And if you don’t understand why you can’t say the N word, you’re either an idiot or a racist dickbag.

  10. langa

    We do not need to render more words as so socially unacceptable that their very utterance destroys lives…

    I totally agree that the “very utterance” of words should never be grounds for criticism. Rather, the appropriateness of words should always be evaluated on the basis of their meaning, which can only be determined by looking at the context in which they are being used.

  11. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I am not often rendered speechless, as IPR readers know, but I found myself incapable of responding to William’s bizarre comment from this afternoon. I’m not quite sure what his point was.

    I’ll simply say that calling ANYONE a whore or a slut is unacceptable to me. I don’t give a flying f*ck if a woman chooses to sell her services, or if she happens to choose to have sex with lots of men freely. There really are not words to describe similar behavior in men that has such a negative connotation–and yeah, that bothers me.

    I also think using “murderer” or “fool” to represent a soldier is my perogative. Of course I wouldn’t use those words for some people, such as parents of a soldier, but I will stand by my first comment that using such terms might be effective in deconstructing the soldier-as-hero myth.

  12. Joshua Katz

    I get WS’s point, and I think it would be right in utopia. In utopia, it wouldn’t be a negative judgment to call someone a whore. In the world as it exists, though, it expresses a whole mess of negative moralizing, and is dismissive. The fact that whore is used as an insult does damage to the person it is used against – even if they aren’t a prostitute so it is, in fact, incorrect – and to sex workers, since accusing a person of being one of their number is taken as an insult. In short, the power of words cannot be divorced from the existing social context.

    I am aware of efforts to ‘reclaim’ words like whore and slut; perhaps these will succeed, but I doubt it – I think these words will be rendered powerless by the acceptance of the behavior, not reclaiming the words. In any case, if and when that happens, I’ll use them, but not before.

  13. William Saturn

    I think the amount of scrutiny society currently gives to the words “whore” and “slut” is proper. In whatever context, their usage is not nearly as damaging to the speaker as uttering “nigger.” However, it would be ideal if society treated the utterance of “nigger” similarly to that of “whore” and “slut” currently. If society instead adopts Jill’s view and treats the utterance of “whore” and “slut” similarly to that of “nigger,” it will further limit free expression.

    The evils of racism and sexism are so ingrained in society’s consciousness that people automatically scoff at any defense of racist and/or sexist speech. However, I do not think it is wise to equate such logical fallacies with activities that cause actual harm. Racism and sexism can cause one to commit harm, but so can jealousy, so can political ideology.

    The idea of treating mere words with “outrage” is troubling for the prospect of free expression. While I do not reject criticism of another’s words, I do reject severe social punishment of certain speakers for using certain, unpopular words.

  14. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    “The idea of treating mere words with “outrage” is troubling for the prospect of free expression.”

    Oh, puh-leez! If I don’t wish to use certain words, I won’t, and if I choose to use other words, I will. You’re putting things into my statement that weren’t there.

  15. Joshua Katz

    >While I do not reject criticism of another’s words, I do reject severe social punishment of >certain speakers for using certain, unpopular words.

    “Severe social punishment” is, in this context, just another word for lots of people exercising their own choices. If you can’t criticize each instance (or, rather, you can, but there’s not much you can do about it) how can you reject the aggregate?

    But, in actuality – where is the punishment? The only severe social punishment I see comes from working in the sex trade, not calling people whores.

    As I suggested before, the issue is not in the word, but in the social context – a context where whore is an insult is a bad context for all, but particularly for sex workers. We may know there’s nothing wrong with being a whore, but using it as an insult certainly suggests otherwise.

  16. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    William said: “The idea of treating mere words with “outrage” is troubling for the prospect of free expression.”

    So, I’m not allowed “free expression”, William, because you don’t like what I said?

  17. paulie

    The severe social consequence is more actually in how those words are used against people. You have freedom of expression; other people have the right to voice their disapproval of how you express yourself, which is their free expression.

  18. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Well, of course I have the right of free expression, William has the right to respond to that free expression, and I have the right to respond to HIS free expression. I don’t think that I’ve ever said otherwise. So once again, I guess I don’t get the whole point of his initial comment.

    Whatever.

  19. William Saturn

    “The only severe social punishment I see comes from working in the sex trade, not calling people whores.”

    If it wasn’t clear, I meant that I think the current level of scrutiny given to speakers of “whore” and “slut” is appropriate, i.e. casual usage will not result in one becoming a social pariah. There isn’t nearly as much scrutiny toward such speakers (in any context) as there is toward speakers of “nigger.” I do not wish to limit the ability of people to speak freely what is in their mind. People should be able to speak their mind without fear that they will lose their job or social standing because they commit a logical fallacy in their speech. Society’s collective decision to punish people for committing logical fallacies in speech is what is troubling. Yes, it is society’s right to condemn such speakers, but there is also a right to advocate for totalitarian government. It is troubling nevertheless, as is the use of free expression to advocate for limits on free expression. If a word fits what is in a speaker’s mind, the speaker should use the word. If by doing so the speaker commits a logical fallacy, notify him so that he may correct his error. This is a far better option than exiling such a speaker from society.

  20. Jed Ziggler

    Freedom of speech does not also give you freedom from consequences. When I applied for the job I have now, one of the parts of the application was a personality assessment that included some questions about my political views. I knew that, answering honestly, I was putting myself at risk of losing a job because of my views, which some may consider a “logical fallacy”. It’s part of freedom, and it’s an important part. If we all have to, or feel we have to, accept everyone’s views no matter how inane, offensive, or disturbing, that is not freedom. It is punishing the offended, rather than the offender.

    As long as there is no force involved, such as imprisonment, physical harm, or fine levied, people have the right to act and react as they please. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the things that are and are not appropriate in polite society, but I don’t consider it a lack of freedom as much as I do a deficiency of judgment, logic, and morality.

  21. William Saturn

    There is not a right not to be offended. However, I am not arguing that speech have no consequence. I am only asking that the consequence be logical so that people can express themselves freely without fear of exile if they communicate a logical fallacy. If my baker does a good job, should I quit using him if I find out he hates Jews? If this doesn’t affect his ability to bake, why should I cut my association with him?

  22. Shayla Prochaska

    Alright, homeslices. This word debate has thoroughly bored me. I call myself a whore all the time. I am in a committed relationship with someone that I believe I truly care about. I bring attention to my past mistakes, and I also may seem “proud/confident” even when I use such words to label myself.
    Am I really a whore? Well…isn’t everyone? The women that get married to the “best fitted mate”–due to love, which stems from a desire for safety, et cetera, being met; men that sleep around and are biologically inclined to spread their seed or have mommy issues or whatever; the people that sell themselves in advertisements to the public, while imposing values on products they usually do not use; the people in church that adhere to the Bible and the commandments, each trying to seem more valuable than the next or more worthy than some other point in their own life. They are all whores, really. When the general public thinks of the term, it’s construed as an immoral/untrustworthy/easy

  23. Shayla Prochaska

    woman…or someone that is willing to sell themselves for something, be it money or some other materialistic enterprise. I am not going to go all technical and quote the dictionary. I am just saying–that is how the general public thinks.
    Now…when I call myself a whore, regardless of how it appears, it is really me insulting myself and debasing my relationship. There is a whole slew of deeply-rooted psychological manifestations involved… Proof is the cuts up and down my arms, as well as various other self-harming activities. I am not unique, for the amount of girls and women that do the same and for what they identify later as feelings similar to my own–well, the number is shockingly high. I do not think the words that bring a negative image to mind should be used by anyone to label any other being. What, or who, have YOU sold yourself for? What have you done that has made you question your morals–and for what motive? No one else should have the right to defame someone else, free speech or not. The knowledge that words as weapons is enough to render one a murderer of hopes and dreams–which is far worse than a murderer alone, a whore, a prostitute, a suicide bomber…
    Be respectful to one another, lead by example. Then people like me would not have to waste your tax dollars on subsequent rescues from bungled suicide attempts. We would realize we are worth everything in life that anyone else is–we would see that we are no less. Let the women who wish to be prostitutes be prostitutes. It WILL take a psychological toll, but sometimes one must suffer for the cure.

  24. Jed Ziggler

    “If my baker does a good job, should I quit using him if I find out he hates Jews?”

    Without question.

    “If this doesn’t affect his ability to bake, why should I cut my association with him?”

    Because it could negatively effect your business. I know I wouldn’t buy anti-Semitic muffins, and I’m not even Jewish.

  25. langa

    If my baker does a good job, should I quit using him if I find out he hates Jews? If this doesn’t affect his ability to bake, why should I cut my association with him?

    You’re the only one who can answer these questions. In order to do so, you must ask yourself first, whether his bigotry bothers you, and if so, whether it bothers you enough to outweigh the benefits of doing business with him. Of course, these sorts of issues aren’t unique to bigots. For example, I used to live near a Mexican restaurant that served great food, at a good price. The problem was that whenever I would eat there, the owner would sit down and strike up a conversation with me. He would then broach numerous subjects, until he found one where we disagreed, and he would then harp on that. I don’t think he was trying to be obnoxious. In fact, I think he was trying to be friendly, but it was just in his nature to be argumentative. Now, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone here that I like to argue as much as anybody else, but not while I’m eating. So, I tried dropping subtle hints that I would prefer to be left alone to eat my meal in peace, but he seemed oblivious to them. As a result, I gradually began to eat there less and less often, and eventually stopped going there at all. The food was great, but it just wasn’t good enough to put up with this guy. You always have to weigh the costs and benefits.

  26. William Saturn

    Your objections to the behavior of the restaurateur have nothing to do with his viewpoints. I suspect you would still object if he agreed with you and yet continued to harp on the one particular subject. If someone’s behavior annoys you, the best course of action is to avoid the person. But if the restaurateur did not engage in the objectionable behavior while still disagreeing with your view, I presume you would continue to frequent the establishment.

    It is not economically efficient to stop doing business with someone proficient at his craft based solely on the views he expresses. It is not good for free expression for society to encourage one holding unpopular views to remain silent or to conform so that he may survive economically.

  27. langa

    It is not economically efficient to stop doing business with someone proficient at his craft based solely on the views he expresses.

    That is true. However, it misses the whole point of my anecdote, which is that people do not generally make decisions solely on the basis of economic efficiency. Sometimes they do, but other times, economic efficiency takes a backseat to other considerations. Again, of course, that’s up to each individual to decide.

    It is not good for free expression for society to encourage one holding unpopular views to remain silent or to conform so that he may survive economically.

    While I am not generally a big fan of boycotting businesses because of their owners’ beliefs, it is important to remember that such boycotts are themselves a form of free expression, just as worthy of protection as any other. I personally have never engaged in a “true” boycott, and I probably never will, but I have no problem with other people choosing to do so.

  28. William Saturn

    I’m not arguing that economic efficiency be the only basis to make decisions. I’m saying that as a general matter, if everyone bases economic decisions solely on the viewpoints of those they do business with, then either economic efficiency is not promoted or free speech is chilled to cause a speaker to conform to popular sentiments. I have no problem with boycotting, but I believe the desire to boycott establishments based only on the owner’s unrelated exercise of speech, is a troubling prospect in our society for the future of free expression.

  29. langa

    I have no problem with boycotting, but I believe the desire to boycott establishments based only on the owner’s unrelated exercise of speech, is a troubling prospect in our society for the future of free expression.

    I don’t see what’s so troubling about it. It’s the natural result of competition, as one viewpoint prevails over another. Just as inferior products become unpopular and slowly vanish from the economic marketplace, so too do inferior ideas become unpopular and slowly vanish from the marketplace of ideas. People are simply choosing one idea over another. Why is that bad?

  30. langa

    Surely you don’t believe majoritarian ideas are superior.

    That depends on what “superior” means. If you’re talking about my own personal, subjective preferences, then no, I don’t always agree with the majority. But then again, the economic marketplace doesn’t always produce outcomes that accord with my personal preferences, either. For example, restaurants that I enjoy go out of business, TV shows that I like get cancelled, and so on. But that doesn’t mean that my own personal preferences should be given more weight than those of other people.

    On the other hand, if you’re using “superior” in the sense of doing the best job of satisfying aggregate demand, then yes, the outcomes of the marketplace of ideas, just like those of the economic marketplace, are (by definition) “superior” to those that could be produced by any other process (i.e. any form of central planning). They aren’t perfect, but they are optimal.

    Of course, there is one huge caveat to all this, as it assumes the outcomes in question are the products of a true free market. As it currently stands, the economic marketplace is not a true free market, and neither is the marketplace of ideas. They have both been heavily distorted by government intervention. For example, the marketplace of ideas has been heavily distorted by both direct and indirect government control of the media, and even more so by the ideological indoctrination of public education. In particular, I would argue that the (relatively recent) trend toward truly draconian restrictions on free speech on college campuses has been especially pernicious. It is essentially impossible to know with any real certainty what society would be like without such intervention, either in the economic marketplace or the marketplace of ideas.

    Nevertheless, I fail to see how the unfortunate existence of market distortions justifies totally discarding the outcomes of the (admittedly imperfect) markets we do have. Just as attempts to bail out failing companies only result in further distortions and cause the economy to suffer, attempting to “bail out” failing ideas by insulating them from competition will bring us no closer to finding the truth.

  31. William Saturn

    I am not saying that I have an issue with people being convinced certain ideas are better than others. Instead, I have an issue with people using their economic power to silence those with unpopular views. I am not making any policy recommendations. I am only asserting that this fact has a chilling effect on speech, which makes it troubling. The problem is in the values of the public. The public, in general, believes it is worse to say certain things than to commit harmful acts. This is troubling. It does not improve the marketplace of ideas. It damages the marketplace.

  32. Jed Ziggler

    “The public, in general, believes it is worse to say certain things than to commit harmful acts.”

    Not worse, but in the case of real bigotry imo it’s just as bad. If you have such a sick mind that you truly believe that different races, genders, sexualities, etc. are a threat to yours, then at best you’re just an asshole, and at worst you’re a madman. These are not legitimate political views. We’ve seen what happens when such people have gained positions of power, the results are always catastrophic.

    Also, to your point about have a baker who hates Jews, what happens if his/her coworker is Jewish? Do you expect the owner of the bakery to have an anti-Semite and a Jewish person work together and expect no issues? Your whole argument just strikes me as silly. We’re not talking about political views, we’re talking about bigoted scum.

  33. William Saturn

    Jed,

    This is a perfect example of the problem. You make many assumptions and leaps in logic in your statement above. Why can’t you question whether those assumptions are valid or the product of brainwashing?

  34. langa

    The public, in general, believes it is worse to say certain things than to commit harmful acts. This is troubling.

    I agree. Actions that involve aggression are always worse than actions that do not involve aggression. The fact that many people nowadays do not recognize this is largely the result of the government-induced distortions in the marketplace of ideas that I mentioned earlier.

    However, I still don’t see what that has to do with your claim that unpopular speech deserves some special protection from (non-aggressive) forms of social protest, such as ostracism.

  35. William Saturn

    Jed,

    Need I show you photos of Stalin’s Gulag camps so that you can understand that any political ideology can lead to mass killings? Totalitarianism is the common thread.

    langa,

    I have not made any policy recommendations. I have only identified a problem that chills free speech.

  36. LibertyDave

    “If my baker does a good job, should I quit using him if I find out he hates Jews?”

    Should you do business with someone how shows an unreasonable hatred of another group depends on a matter of trust. I won’t trust someone with food I am going to eat who advertises an unreasonable hatred because i don’t know what else he might do because of his unreasonable beliefs.

    I will also let my friends know about this person and there unreasonable beliefs and advise them not to do business with them because i care about my friends and wouldn’t want them to have a bad experience.

    If the baker looses enough business because of his unreasonable beliefs maybe he will begin to question his beliefs and change his ways.

    When you use words that have negative connotations about a group of people you are advertising your unreasonable beliefs and you deserve to be ostracized as a result. This is called freedom of association and is just as important as freedom of speech..

    Life is too short to waste on hateful people.

  37. William Saturn

    You’re simply reading too much into it and committing the same logical error as the baker. I never said the baker’s anti-semitism affected his performance. If it did, it would be a different conclusion. Rather, it is the opposite. As I said, he is “proficient” at his trade. You are saying that just because his views are bigoted that he must not be trustworthy. This is the same error the baker makes in believing that just because a man is a Jew he must be evil. Why waste time hating the hater when you could occupy your time on other things you enjoy?

  38. LibertyDave

    Mr. Saturn

    You asked a question and I gave you my answer. I never said I hate anyone. There is a difference between hating someone and not trusting them.

    When I quit doing business with someone because of their prejudice, I let them know why because I want to help them become better people.

    The reason I won’t trust prejudiced people with my food is because I have worked in the food industry for a number of years and have seen “proficient” chefs do unspeakable things to the food for people they were prejudiced against. And most of the time their hatred was extended to anyone who tried to support the group they were prejudiced against.

    I believe you have it in you to be a better person. That is why i am taking the time to respond to your statements. if you wish to continue to defend hateful speech I will not try and stop you I will just ignore your posts and recommend to my friends that they do the same.

  39. langa

    I have not made any policy recommendations. I have only identified a problem that chills free speech.

    I don’t think the process of weeding out faulty ideas, in and of itself, is a problem. In fact, I think it’s actually quite beneficial.

    The only real problem comes from the government’s determined effort to blur (and ultimately, to obliterate) the distinction between aggressive and non-aggressive behavior. That is the actual root cause of the overreaction to offensive speech that you find so troubling.

  40. Jed Ziggler

    “Need I show you photos of Stalin’s Gulag camps so that you can understand that any political ideology can lead to mass killings?”

    You’re making my point for me. Josef Stalin was an anti-Semite. Jews suffered horribly in the Soviet Union.

    “Totalitarianism is the common thread.”

    Yes, and where does totalitarianism come from? To be a tyrant, one must first have a total disregard for humanity. There’s a reason why, as a painter, Hitler struggled to master painting the human form: it didn’t interest him. His first love was a love of the State, and he saw Jews as the enemy to it. I hate bigotry because it is, always & without fail, a disregard for humanity & love of the State that can carry hatred to its logical conclusion.

    To be truthful, most neo-Nazis are troubled youths looking for a sense of brotherhood & belonging. I pity them. However, for those true believers, they will eventually see their beliefs carried out to their logical end even without a position of power, be it acts of violence, or simple bullying and harassment. To say that we must be nice & kind to hateful people is an effort in futility.

    “The reason I won’t trust prejudiced people with my food is because I have worked in the food industry for a number of years and have seen ‘proficient’ chefs do unspeakable things to the food for people they were prejudiced against. And most of the time their hatred was extended to anyone who tried to support the group they were prejudiced against.”

    Bingo.

  41. William Saturn

    LibertyDave,

    I believe actively working to undermine someone’s business falls in the realm of hate. But this is just a matter of words. “Proficient” does not include the behavior you mention however. If one’s views are interfering with their performance, then those practices should be brought to light and condemned.

    Look at it from the perspective of the anti-semitic baker. Perhaps he too has anecdotes of times certain people wronged him or others. It doesn’t make the generalization any more than just a generalization.

    langa,

    What if the ideas being weeded out are not racist, but libertarian? Libertarianism certainly is a minority view. Would it be beneficial for the majority to use economic means to silence it?

    Jed,

    Stalin did not send people to the Gulags because they were Jews. He sent them there because they opposed his policies. It was not for bigoted purposes but political ones. Ideas of any kind, not just bigoted ones, can lead to atrocities. But atrocities require violent acts, not just ideas.

  42. langa

    What if the ideas being weeded out are not racist, but libertarian? Libertarianism certainly is a minority view. Would it be beneficial for the majority to use economic means to silence it?

    Go back and reread what I said. I specifically said that it was beneficial for faulty ideas to be weeded out. Libertarianism is not a faulty idea, while bigotry clearly is. Nevertheless, if we had a truly free marketplace of ideas, I would have no problem with people trying to refute libertarian ideas and, in the unlikely event that they succeeded in doing so, then I would not complain. Of course, in the status quo, the government goes to great lengths to discredit libertarian views, as they are a tremendous threat to its continued existence. The current disregard for libertarian ideas among the general public owes a lot more to this continuous smear campaign than to any “faultiness” inherent to the libertarian philosophy.

  43. William Saturn

    “Faulty” is a subjective term. I’m sure some would say libertarianism is faulty. I understand what you are saying, but you really can’t weed out faulty ideas. It is human nature to make generalizations and commit logical fallacies. Boycotting those with such faulty ideas does not actually eliminate the ideas. It pushes them underground, where they propagate unrefuted.

  44. Humongous Fungus

    “Stalin did not send people to the Gulags because they were Jews.”

    Untrue.

    He did not explicitly send people there because they were Jews, nor were Jews the only ones sent there by any means (for that matter, Jews weren’t even a majority of the people sent to Hitler’s camps, although there they were in fact explicitly sent there for being Jews). However, it’s a fact that Stalin specifically targeted Jews, among other groups he distrusted, under various other excuses.

  45. William Saturn

    Many people during that time were anti-semitic. I do not believe it was the motivating factor behind his actions as it was with Hitler. However, I guess a better example would be Mao’s Great Leap Forward. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html The point I am making is that atrocities occur for a variety of reasons. Bigotry is not always the motivating factor. Very often it is political.

  46. langa

    “Faulty” is a subjective term. I’m sure some would say libertarianism is faulty.

    You’re right, on both counts. However, my point is that I am willing to let libertarianism fend for itself in the marketplace of ideas (as long as it does not have to compete with taxpayer-funded statist propaganda). If such a competition results in the demise of libertarianism, then so be it.

    …you really can’t weed out faulty ideas.

    Sure you can. In fact, modern civilization is largely the result of the continual weeding out of faulty ideas. Human history is filled with ideas that were once widely accepted, but have now been thoroughly discredited. This includes not only scientific ideas (such as phlogiston theory or the geocentric model of the universe), but also political ideas (such as women having fewer rights than men, or slavery being a normal and natural part of society). Do you really believe the world would be a better place if such nonsensical views were still taken seriously today?

  47. LibertyDave

    Mr. Saturn

    Your claim that I am harming the baker by not doing business with him and by not recommending him to my friends is false. I don’t owe the baker my business, he has to earn it. Much like I don’t owe a politician my vote.

    And as far as my telling my friends about his bigotry, he has let the world know about his beliefs through the words he uses. Why should he care if I let my friends know about his beliefs and let them decide on their own weather to do business with him?

    The baker harms his own business by broadcasting his bigotry. That is the nature of the free market. I choose who I do business with and why.

    And it is me exercising my freedom of speech to tell my friends about it.

  48. William Saturn

    langa,

    I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing when we discuss ideas. I am discussing ideas as ways of thinking. You are discussing it as examples of policy. Sure, it is beneficial to weed out bad policy ideas like slavery and subjugation of women, but the concepts of racism and sexism will be with us forever. As long as people experience and make generalizations these modes of thought will continue especially when people don’t even realize they are doing it.

    LibertyDave,

    You’re not understanding my point. I am not arguing that you shouldn’t have the right to tell your friends about the baker’s bigotry and to boycott him. It is a much larger point that you are somewhat blinded by your hatred of bigotry that you choose to make an illogical decision by refusing to continue using a baker only because you find he is a bigot. You have made it clear you don’t trust bigots. That’s fine, but it’s a generalization just as that which the bigot makes in not trusting Jews. A madman could gain power and decide to kill off all the bigots. This is not any less horrendous than the decision to kill off all Jews.

  49. Humongous Fungus

    Unlike ethnicity, bigotry is a choice. However it should be legal, and no one should be killed or otherwise physically violated for it. But we have the right to not do business with someone, for any reason or no reason at all, to speak out and condemn views we dislike and those who hold them, to not associate with those whose views we consider repugnant and to call on others to do the same, and we should always have those rights.

  50. William Saturn

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t. But I believe society values its hatred of bigotry to the point that it chills speech and will one day lead to hate speech legislation.

  51. LibertyDave

    Mr. Saturn

    You are making assumptions about my motives that are not true. I never said I hate anyone. Again there is a difference between not trusting someone and hating them. I choose not to do business with a bigot because I don’t trust them not because I hate them. If I hated them I wouldn’t let them know why they lost my business. I let them know why they lost my business so they know what to do to earn my business back. I tell my friends not because I hate the bigot but because I care about my friends and don’t want them to have a bad experience.

    Just because you have a motive for doing something, don’t assume that everyone else has the same motive for doing the same thing.

  52. William Saturn

    LibertyDave,

    It’s great that you feel that way. Perhaps it was a mistake for me to use the second person in reference to you and to society at large. I did not mean to project that onto you and I apologize.

  53. langa

    I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing when we discuss ideas. I am discussing ideas as ways of thinking. You are discussing it as examples of policy. Sure, it is beneficial to weed out bad policy ideas like slavery and subjugation of women, but the concepts of racism and sexism will be with us forever. As long as people experience and make generalizations these modes of thought will continue especially when people don’t even realize they are doing it.

    Actually, I am talking about all ideas (scientific, political, cultural, religious, philosophical, etc.) having to withstand the competition of the marketplace of ideas, just as all goods and services have to withstand the competition of the economic marketplace.

    Of course, some bad ideas take longer to disappear than others, but it is just a matter of time. Or do you deny that racism and sexism were far more prevalent 200 years ago, or 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, than they are today?

  54. Robert Capozzi

    ws: I am discussing ideas as ways of thinking. … As long as people experience and make generalizations these modes of thought will continue especially when people don’t even realize they are doing it.

    me: Ways of thinking CAN change, although it’s definitely not easy and it is quite rare. Langa is correct that OVERT racism and sexism are far less prevalent today, but unconscious racism and sexism still rule because dualistic, deontological thought is still prevalent.

  55. William Saturn

    Overt racism has declined but the desire for camaraderie with one’s own kind is still very much strong. It has been since the beginning of human history. To make generalizations about “the other” naturally goes with this. To think you can “weed out” this basic fact of human nature is absurd.

  56. langa

    RC & WS, these same arguments have been made throughout history — “We have always had slavery and always will”, “Women in positions of leadership is contrary to human nature”, and so forth. What the conservative mind lacks in imagination, it makes up for in stubbornness. 😉

    Of course, in the long run, racism is a moot point, since “race mixing” will eventually eliminate racial differences — much to the chagrin of bigots everywhere.

  57. paulie

    one’s own kind

    I doubt that has much of anything to do with the pseudoscientific race concept.

    Of course, in the long run, racism is a moot point, since “race mixing” will eventually eliminate racial differences — much to the chagrin of bigots everywhere.

    Hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m not proud of my youthful irresponsibility but if I’m not shooting blanks, at least one good thing out of it is that I have kids of all so called races.

  58. paulie

    Actually, I am talking about all ideas (scientific, political, cultural, religious, philosophical, etc.) having to withstand the competition of the marketplace of ideas, just as all goods and services have to withstand the competition of the economic marketplace. [..] these same arguments have been made throughout history — “We have always had slavery and always will”, “Women in positions of leadership is contrary to human nature”, and so forth. What the conservative mind lacks in imagination, it makes up for in stubbornness.

    Exactly!

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