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"I'm From the Government and I'm Here to Help"
Cathy Reisenwitz on the War on Sex Workers (plus a marijuana legalization update and hurricane tracker).
My guest this Sunday is Cathy Reisenwitz, author of the Sex and the State Substack, and one of the clearest thinkers on the topic of decriminalizing sex work.
Too often, Cathy notes, all sex work is conflated with the loathsome and illegal practice of sex trafficking. However, the response by well-intentioned religious groups and certain feminists has been to criminalize the choices of women who enter the profession voluntarily—making their work more dangerous in the process. Thus, these activist groups end up harming many of the very women they are trying to help.
We witnessed the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, which ruined the lives of those falsely accused of abusing children. Today, we see a similar moral panic around pornography and prostitution that must be exposed to the light of day. Cathy has the data on what happens when you legalize sex work, and how places like Germany and New Zealand have combatted genuine sex trafficking by cooperating with rather than prosecuting sex workers.
Tune in Sunday at 8 AM PACIFIC or catch the podcast.
The California Corner
Linnea Lueken writes convincingly that California appears to want to return to the days of horse and buggy based on its backwards energy policies (Is California a Luddite Conspiracy? September 30, 2022)
First they came for the gas appliances. Next on the chopping block are lawn mowers. Ultimately, the state’s “decarbonization” plans include mandatory residential solar and a rapid phasing out of all gasoline cars.
Meanwhile, electricity prices are spiking and blackouts are expected to become more common. In response, Gavin Newsom has “signed executive orders waiving clean air and water regulations so the state utilities could use diesel generators and ships at port idling off their fossil fuel engines.”
So much for decarbonization.
If we want a cleaner, greener future, we must let market prices guide the transition to renewables, starting with those that make economic sense. If solar panels offer a cost savings over natural gas, people will adopt them voluntarily. Mandates, bans, and subsidies to inefficient technologies will only worsen California’s energy crisis.
If you want the latest flooding alerts, look elsewhere. But if you want to understand why the same disaster-prone areas continually get rebuilt, read Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s latest Reason Roundup:
“In any event, the situation brings up the question that natural disasters like this always do: Why do governments keep subsidizing houses in hurricane zones?
Sure, some people would live in risky areas no matter what. Some live in these areas already and can't afford to move. But government intervention in the insurance market has helped many more people move to these areas since the 1970s
Interruption of market forces has made moving into disaster zones less financially risky for individuals but much more costly for taxpayers overall, while also discouraging development in other areas and encouraging people to put or keep themselves in harm's way.”
Once again, Reagan was right – the nine scariest words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
How’s Marijuana Legalization Going?
Reason’s Scott Shackford relays the findings of an LA Times investigation about marijuana legalization in California. It’s been a disaster, apparently, but not for the reasons you might think. Excessive taxes and regulations have led the black market to continue to fluorish. “The market is not being allowed to properly provide the demand,” Shackford says.
A History Lesson from FEE.org
Lawrence Reed praises the judgment of Calvin Coolidge’s double-veto for a farm bill that would have created a massive new bureaucracy to buy up surplus crops and sell them overseas (What Calvin Coolidge’s 'Common Sense' Vetoes of Two Farm Bills Can Teach about Price Controls).
The twice-vetoed McNary-Haugen Farm Relief Act was a textbook example of a price control, which would ultimately hamper the suffering farmers even further. Too bad today’s politicians don’t seem to have Coolidge’s grasp on economics, or else they lack the courage to put it into practice.
ICYMI… Patri Friedman on Startup Cities
“I want to make venture-backed for-profit startup city states. That is my long-term mission. I want to start fully sovereign, private city states.” – Patri Friedman, founder of Pronomos Capital
It’s been over a decade since I first discussed the “seasteading” vision for startup cities at sea with Patri Friedman. The concept has grown up, along with its founder, who is now funding startup city ventures through his new company Pronomos Capital.
Read or listen to our full conversation here: