Wiggling it Around in Excrement

Some family-values conservative explains how gay male sex works:

Hat tip: Xaq Fixx.

Well Done, Danish Sex Workers

Judoing bigotry for fun and profit:

Copenhagen Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards to city hotels warning summit guests not to patronize Danish sex workers during the upcoming conference. Now, the prostitutes have struck back, offering free sex to anyone who produces one of the warnings.

Copenhagen’s city council in conjunction with Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards out to 160 Copenhagen hotels urging COP15 guests and delegates to ‘Be sustainable – don’t buy sex’.

“Dear hotel owner, we would like to urge you not to arrange contacts between hotel guests and prostitutes,” the approach to hotels says.

Now, Copenhagen prostitutes are up in arms, saying that the council has no business meddling in their affairs. They have now offered free sex to anyone who can produce one of the offending postcards and their COP15 identity card, according to the Web site avisen.dk.

The Most Disturbing Statistic I Found Today

In 1988, at the height of the HIV/AIDS panic in the States, the GSS asked a bunch of questions about AIDS. At that time, 63.7 percent of respondents favoured a policy of “requir[ing] people with the AIDS virus to wear identification tags that look like those carried by people with allergies or diabetes.”

Any kind of requirement for unpopular groups to identify themselves publicly reminds me a bit too much of this:

starofdavid

Update: Even more disturbingly, most people who personally knew AIDS victims supported compulsory IDs. Here’s the breakdown (as an image, since I can’t work out how to do tables in wordpress; click for larger):

gss-aidsids-aidsknow

gss-aidsids-aidsknow-chart

Disturbing. On the one hand, knowing someone with AIDS is likely to make the risk more salient. On the other, you’re supporting the branding of someone you know. The number of people surveyed with three or more acquaintances with AIDS is tiny, so it doesn’t tell us much; but I suspect knowing lots of people with AIDS is a good proxy for being well-integrated into the gay activist community, which should decrease support for tagging.

Private Policing I Find Disturbing

Some residents of New Brighton, Christchurch are sick of the police failing to control crime and have taken to patrolling the streets. I would be all for that were these guys not a bunch of white supremacists.

A “white pride” group, Right Wing Resistance (RWR), claims to be patrolling New Brighton streets that “the police and the system has all but given up on”.

The group, linked to North Island-based white power activist Kyle Chapman, says Christchurch is the centre of a “white pride” revival.

Films of their initiation ceremonies were listed on an internet site for “white nationalists” called WNTube.

A message board used by the group, Stormfront.org, said the group was performing “crimewatch patrols” aimed at “cutting down on homie [American rap-style] vandalism and muggings that have become common on the east side of CHCH”.

“The police and the system in general has all but given up on the poor areas and it is left to us to sort this out now,” it said. (…)

Locals were getting very upset with youths, particularly Polynesian youths, standing over people and vandalising.” (…)

If a European youth was found vandalising property: “We’d probably say `Hey, what are you doing? That’s not really the white way’.” (…)

New Brighton Residents Association member George Aorangi Stanley said “boot boys” had been spotted “hanging around looking menacing”.

“I don’t know if you’d consider it patrolling. I just consider them as contributing to the tension.”

The group had correctly tapped into local concern about crime and safety, she said. “It’s the main topic of conversation at the [Residents Association] meetings.”

Aorangi Stanley said the association had discussed doing their own patrols – a “reclaim the night” action – to increase safety.

This is the kind of thing Eric Crampton and I worry about in our paper on meddlesome preferences in anarchy, recently discussed here and here. (New Brighton, by the way, is Eric’s neck of the woods – I wonder if he has noticed anything?) Without government to provide public or quasi-public goods like policing, private clubs will step in to fill the gap. Of course, not all private clubs are created equal and those most able to overcome collective action problems will become more common in anarchy (or, as we see here, dysfunctional government). Further, small groups with intense preferences will have more power relative to large groups with weak preferences in anarchy compared to democracy.

The economics of religion pioneered by Larry Iannaccone, another of the amazingly interesting economists at GMU, suggests that clubs which require costly signals of commitment to the group – often including the internalization of wacky beliefs and efforts to make oneself stigmatized by the outside world –  will be more successful. Iannaccone is interested in sects, but his logic also applies to secular gangs like skinheads. Costly signalling means that we can’t rely on the standard incentive arguments against bigotry being expressed through markets. Beating up Polynesian kids is costly, but if it works to signal one’s commitment to the group, the costliness is a feature rather than a bug. On average, then, high-commitment clubs will instill preferences which favour the violation of others’ rights more than low-commitment clubs. Since these small groups with intense have more say in anarchy (where willingness to pay largely determines outcomes)  than democracy (where the raw numbers supporting some policy largely determines outcomes) , anarchy produces the situation it is least able to handle. So, by the way, does democracy.

Now, if the skinheads in New Brighton really are making the streets safer (which I doubt), the benefits will be enjoyed by residents regardless of whether they join or not. The fact that the group can get a bunch of guys to produce a public good (even if it’s intimidation of Polynesian kids) indicates that they’ll also be pretty good at producing a whole lot of club goods only enjoyed by members. If the role of government decreases, then, the skinheads will attract more members and we should expect more racist violence in New Brighton.

I still favour anarchy, but I do think this is something to worry about. Fortunately, it’s also something that reasonable people can work towards avoiding. The community association conducting its own patrols will reduce the leverage the skinheads can get in the community. More generally, efforts to create non-bigoted groups to voluntarily produce public goods will fill the void sects emerge to fill.

Glenn Beck Suggests Liberalized Medical Marijuana is a Tool of Tyranny

Skip to about the 4-minute mark. What a dick:

Illiberal Anarchy

John Humphreys critiques the paper Eric Crampton and I are writing on the effect of meddlesome preferences in market anarchy. His argument is that we’re talking about outcomes we don’t like but aren’t really unlibertarian, and that we overestimate the sway crazy bigots could exert under real anarchy.

Eric responds here. See also the comments on John’s post. I have nothing to add here.

Libertarian?

Glenn Beck is a complete and utter bigot.  That’s hardly news, but this anti-atheist rant is particularly icky:

Hat tip: Timothy Sandefur

Smoking is Gay

This video from The Onion is funny, but not too far from the reality of current campaigns (Hat tip: Balko).

Many PSAs aim to stigmatize smokers rather than inform people of health risks of smoking. I’ve always hated New Zealand’s Not Our Future campaign for this reason. They’ve just started running some new ads. The message of one is a pretty clear: “If you smoke, you won’t get laid.” It seems to ask local two-bit celebrities (both male and female) whether they’d go out with a smoker. The responses are what you’d expect: “Hell no!” “It’s unattractive” “It stinks.”

They have a shitty site, so I can’t link to it directly, but you can watch it by going to videos (TV in lower left corner), adverts, advert 1.  If anyone finds a linkable or embeddable version, please let me know in the comments.

Israel’s War on Interracial Marriage

Ugh:

The Israeli government has launched a television and Internet advertising campaign urging Israelis to inform on Jewish friends and relatives abroad who may be in danger of marrying non-Jews.

The advertisements, employing what the Israeli media described as “scare tactics,” are designed to stop assimilation through intermarriage among young Diaspora Jews by encouraging their move to Israel.

The campaign, which cost $800,000, was created in response to reports that half of all Jews outside Israel marry non-Jews. It is just one of several initiatives by the Israeli state and private organizations to try to increase the size of Israel’s Jewish population.

According to one ad, voiced over by one of the country’s leading news anchors, assimilation is “a strategic national threat,” warning: “More than 50 percent of Diaspora youth assimilate and are lost to us.” (…)

According to the campaign’s organizers, more than 200 Israelis rang a hot line to report names of Jews living abroad after the first TV advertisement was run on Wednesday. Callers left details of e-mail addresses and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The 30-second clip featured a series of missing-persons posters on street corners, in subways and on telephone boxes showing images of Jewish youths above the word “Lost” in different languages. A voiceover asks anyone who “knows a young Jew living abroad” to call the hot line: “Together, we will strengthen their connection to Israel, so that we don’t lose them.”

Here’s the ad (in Hebrew, without subtitles):

If I didn’t already know what the ad was about, I’d assume something pretty nasty was happening to these “missing” young people. Instead, they’re choosing to live their lives as they see fit, unconstrained by stupid and bigoted notions of racial purity and national loyalty.

Muslim Women Face More Bigotry

This time in Italy. The northern town of Varallo Sesia has banned the Burquini – a swimsuit designed to conceal most of the body – with women caught wearing them facing fines of €500:

Disturbing to Small Children

Unhygienic and disturbing to small children

“The sight of a ‘masked woman’ could disturb small children, not to mention problems of hygiene,” mayor Gianluca Buonanno was quoted as saying.

“We don’t have to be tolerant all the time.”

Justifying the move, Buonanno added: “Imagine a Western woman bathing in a bikini in a Muslim country. The consequences could be decapitation, prison or deportation. We are merely prohibiting the use of the burqini”.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.