Some family-values conservative explains how gay male sex works:
Hat tip: Xaq Fixx.
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.
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:
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):
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.
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.
Filed under: anarchy, economics, libertarian, New Zealand, public choice | Tagged: anarchy, bigotry, discrimination, economics, ideology, indoctrination, meddlesome preferences, public choice, racism, sects | 8 Comments »
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.