a follow-up on the back-door assault
Topics: Rights, Sexism
05 May 1994
I thought of a few more cases to add to this point:
1) Political correctness in the guise of sexual harassment. It's one
thing (albeit a foolish one) to prohibit contracts involving sex. It's
quite another to deem certain things de facto harassment (e.g.
pornography) when no particular person has them 'put in their face'.
Dworkin and others argue this straight up, that we must have total
censorship to avoid harassment. Regardless of whether or not they
achieve that, the government has achieved the back-door effect by
requiring employers to prevent their employees (on the job) from having
material or expressing opinions that are otherwise legal.
2) Recently there was a debate on NPR about drug testing welfare
recipients. It was between two liberals (of course). One held the
socialist point of view that the government running your life was for
your own good. The other was from the ACLU who ostensibly believes in
civil liberties but on this occassion abandoned them and said that it
was a bad idea because the tests were not perfect. So, the ACLU is
left to quibbling about implementation details instead of principle.
They have already surrendered. The principle is that the government
should not have carte blance to do just anything in the pursuit of
crime because the cure will surely be worse than the disease (as it
stands the cure is worse than the disease which continues unchecked
anyway). My point relative to this theme is that it is just like the
warrantless searches of public housing. The government has achieved
the effect of conducting warrantless drug searchs of person's bodies
entirely contrary to the Fourth Amendment by:
1) Protecting unions to keep poor people from getting jobs
2) Enacting a minimum wage to outlaw low wage labor
3) Using zoning to prevent home work (i.e. low start up costs)
4) Taxing poor people at extraordinarly high rates via
sales, property, & excise taxes.
Then said, in the end, you can have back 10% of what should have
been yours if you surrender your civil liberties.
To his credit, the ACLU person said: if we are testing welfare
recipients, why not farmers who get federal aid? The socialist
dismissed it as needlessly alarmist. But, it's a damn fine question.
Indeed, why not everyone who gets government assistance (i.e.
everyone)? That's the end of this journey.
3) The historical origins of drug prohibition. Opium was originally
outlawed not because of its deleterious effects but because Chinese
immigrants smoked it and the police wanted a way to control this group
of people (see: "Licit & Illicit Drugs" by Consumer Reports, this is
not merely my mad babbling). In this instance, the unconstitutional
end-run effect was clearly conceived of as the very purpose in the
first place. A similar thing happened with marijuana when it became
popular among blacks.