Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

PART III:
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CONSENSUAL CRIMES

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CONSENSUAL CRIMES


If I go
to church on Sunday
and cabaret
all day Monday,
well, it ain't nobody's
business if I do.
PORTER P. GRAINGER
& EVERETT ROBBINS
Song Lyrics
ENTIRE BOOKS CAN BE (and have been) written on each of the consensual activities currently prohibited by law. While the books already written have pretended to present "balanced views," almost all have reflected the bias of the writer, the publisher, or, in some cases, the sponsoring organization.
In this section of the book, I make no such pretense. This is not a "balanced look." The child who said, "The emperor wears no clothes," did not make a balanced statement. A balanced statement might have been, "The emperor is a fine and noble person who in almost all instances exercises great wisdom in his choices and is known for his fine taste in clothing which has revealed itself over the years in a display of tasteful, elegant, and sometimes spectacular attire. It is fair to say that our emperor is among the best dressed emperors in history. I wonder, then, why on this particular day the emperor, in all his wisdom, has chosen not to wear any clothing." That statement, of course, went beyond balance, passed swiftly through diplomacy, and came perilously close to elephant droppings before arriving at the truth of the matter. In this section of the book, I will spare you the preamble.
In order to put people in prison for something, it is essential for the ordinary citizen to believe that the activity the person is being put in jail for is particularly odious. If it does not harm the person or property of another, the general population must believe that the action is so vile and so inherently evil that merely allowing it to take place in a country corrupts that country irreparably.

I can't stand to sing
the same song the same way
two nights in succession.
If you can, then it ain't music,
it's close order drill, or exercise
or yodeling or something,
not music.
BILLIE HOLIDAY
Those who want to keep something illegal, then, must (a) keep their hands in the political pie so that laws can be passed, enforced, and not repealed, and (b) use everything that is known about psychology, advertising, and public relations to make the population think that "a menace" is being kept at bay, and that the moralists—far from being seen in their true light as dismantlers of freedom and individual choice—are superheroes in the never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.
This section of the book, then, is designed to counter those false negative impressions about specific consensual activities in the small way that limited space allows. As with all human activities, the activities currently set aside as illegal have built-in pros and cons, benefits and dangers, rewards and risks. For the most part, we have been told only about the cons, dangers, and risks. The average person, then, has a distorted view. My purpose here is to mention a few of the pros, benefits, and rewards so that, when combined with the programming we already have, the reader may be left with a more balanced view.
Because of this, it may seem as though I am endorsing one, another, or all of the consensual crimes. I am not. I am endorsing the freedom for each person to take part in any or all of them without fear of being jailed. Exploring any new activity is fearful enough without the fear of jail being added to it. Exploring is a matter of free choice.
A free country of free individuals must, of necessity, have free choice. The moralists in their paternalistic splendor want us to believe that, yes, we can handle certain choices (such as whom we can marry), but we cannot handle others (such as the gender of the person we marry, the number of people we can be married to at the same time, and who gets to wear the wedding dress).

We must learn
to distinguish morality
from moralizing.
HENRY KISSINGER
The moralists attempt at every turn to convert us to their own sense of superiority. They want us to join the ranks of their paternalism. "You and I, of course, can take part in our simple pleasures without overdoing it," they tell us, "but whereas we use it to amuse ourselves, they use it to abuse themselves." When we get to the top of the power structure, then we will have total freedom.
Such nonsense. It's nothing more than the elitism of the pecking order.
In fact, people who want to take part in the currently illegal consensual activities already do. Following the repeal of Prohibition, for example, after a minor burst of curiosity, alcohol consumption actually went down. Some people discovered they had problems with alcohol, and stopped drinking altogether. Others found that, when drinking stopped being clandestine, it wasn't as much fun. Still others found that one or two drinks a couple times a week were all they wanted. With alcohol readily available, they stopped overindulging because they no longer had to compensate for scarcity. As we shall see in the discussion between William F. Buckley, Jr., and Professor Gazzaniga in the chapter, "Drugs," the percentage of people who abuse rather than use a substance or activity will be roughly the same whether that substance or activity is illegal or not.
Which brings me to a few general points I would like to make or reiterate:

1. Use is not abuse.

2. You need not personally support or take part in any activity in order to support another person's freedom to take part in it.

3. One person's meat is another person's poison; one person's poison is another person's insight.

4. While we can control our actions, we cannot control our needs, desires, orientations, or preferences.

5. Although a society must have certain mores, rules, and codes of behavior, putting these mores, rules, and codes of behavior into the hands of the criminal justice system is the least effective method to bring about compliance.

6. Your freedom of choice is paid for by giving others their freedom of choice.


So little time,
so little to do.
OSCAR LEVANT

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