The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.
– Saul Alinsky
As most of you probably realize, in order to keep this blog going I need to do an awful lot of reading on the internet every day. Readers send me many links, I discover some myself, and I get loads of them from Twitter; for every item which I eventually share as a link, a TW3 item or a full column there’s another I simply “retweet” and still another I pass over completely. Most of this latter category are simply things in which I’m not interested, or things in which I don’t think my readers would be interested, or things I’ve already shared, or new items that nonetheless cover ground I’ve already covered. And sometimes I disagree with the author’s spin, yet don’t find it so wrong that I feel the need to shoot it down. But there are others (and I’m sorry to say far too many others) which I can’t even finish reading because of their declamation of absurdities, their overuse of meaningless shibboleths, or their adherence to wholly obnoxious fads; my eyes glaze over, I close the window by feel (because my eyes are glazed over, of course), and I move on and try not to accidentally open any of the numerous repeats of the link in other tweets declaring it brilliant or profound or whatever.
A large fraction of these oh-so-annoying words, phrases and ideas derive ultimately from Marx, generally (though not always) by way of feminism. Even if I didn’t regard Marxism as an abomination against the individual, and even if it were not a failed social experiment, I would still find it bizarre that so many people who identify primarily as sex worker activists (though not many who identify first as sex workers) espouse it. First of all, despite the modern re-interpretations to which some Neo-Marxists subscribe, it is very clear that Marx considered prostitution to be a “disease” of capitalist society which would no longer be permitted in the communist paradise (presumably because the commune would magically make the sex drives and relative attractiveness of men and women equal). Every communist state has criminalized sex work and punished it harshly, even brutally; under Mao women caught whoring were sent for “re-education”, and though the regime declared in 1958 that prostitution has been “eradicated”, the “re-education centers” remained full and top party officials had access to that which was officially declared not to exist. Furthermore, neofeminism is really nothing but a form of Neo-Marxism with a few parameters redefined, and as we all know the neofeminists are no friends of whores. Yet all too many posts by sex worker activists go on and on about “Patriarchy” (the neofeminist version of “bourgeoisie”) and “capitalism” and blah blah blah blah until whatever they were trying to say is drowned out by nonsense.
Now, it is true that some people use the word “capitalism” to mean plutocracy or fascism (the marriage of government and big business). But that’s not the way those about whom I’m complaining use it; it’s clear from context they resent having to work for a living, and imagine some pie-in-the-sky Utopia in which people only work as much as they want to at whatever job they like, and yet somehow things still get made and the toilets still get cleaned. This is a fantasy for children, not a serious topic of discussion for sane adults; yet there they are bleating away with rubbish like “surviving under capitalism”, as though they imagine it was any easier under feudalism, barter systems, tribal communism or other economic systems. The very concept of a Utopia is impossible; it’s certainly not a topic on which an activist for the most pragmatic of trades should be wasting her time. And to do so with paradigms borrowed from people who would like nothing more than to see that trade abolished is as counterproductive as anything I can think of.
But the most appalling of these sins of content is one which seems to have become a new fad in the past few months; some sex worker activists now also declare themselves misandrists. To them I say, “please go home and find something else to do.” The campaign for sex worker rights must be grounded in the right of all people to be free to do as they like with their own bodies; it is incompatible with centrally-planned economies, incompatible with dogmatic systems of thought which demand orthodoxy, and certainly incompatible with the idea that it’s laudable to hate some people for an accident of biology. And how in Aphrodite’s name is someone supposed to provide a proper sexual service to a person she professes to hate? The very idea is asinine. I can understand burnout; I can accept that a hooker might so tire of sex with men, and with the offensive behavior of bad clients, that she decides to swear off of socializing with them after retirement. But that’s not the same thing as hating men, and the latter has no place in a movement which will absolutely never in a million years succeed without the cooperation of the men these ridiculous women profess to “hate”; that sort of attitude belongs in the prohibitionist movement, not ours. I’m not sure why the people I speak of can’t see the self-defeating nature of these negative beliefs and dogmas; those who embrace them are, figuratively or literally, sleeping with the enemy.