Unintended Consequences & Perverse Results

Begun, the porn wars have

I’m in the mood to babble like an idiot, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Since I don’t want to contaminate anyone’s brain with my stupidity, it’s only polite that I forewarn any reader up front that this post will just be a bunch of silly diatribe containing my thoughts and opinions about Santorum’s war on pornography.

There are deeper issues at hand here, methinks, and we have to penetrate (HAR!) the superficial rhetoric to get down to the fundamental, underlying problems.

There are three constants in the human condition that will never ever go away, no matter how hard you try and legislate them: drugs, booze and sex. I find it alarming that there are people out there who sincerely believe that they have the power to single-handedly change thousands of years of endemic human behavior. This sort of hubris is on a scale so large, that my primitive brain can’t even begin to comprehend the enormity of it.

Unfortunately, it’s not funny. Very, very bad things start happening when human beings embark on endeavors of colossal stupidity that wind up bucking nature. Such as unintended consequences that, in particular, lead to perverse results that wind up exacerbating a problem into something far worse than it originally was when it was left alone.

You see, in my opinion, it is far more harmful to repress, ignore or outlaw these things than just simply acknowledging them for what they are: endemic facets of human reality. Then begin legislating policy accordingly; not these knee-jerk, poorly thought out policies that do more harm than good. Marijuana, for example, was outlawed before any research had been done on it, but the damage had been done, and “Reefer Madness” had been indelibly etched upon America’s collective consciousness.

Clearly, legislation has not deterred human beings from getting high, getting drunk, or paying for sex — unless prison overcrowding is a silly myth. Something has to change, and we need to stop electing these goobers into positions where they can actually start doing damage with their dogmatic ideology. Destroying the life a young black man by tossing him into prison for 20 years for carrying an ounce of pot is morally reprehensible. Where’s Santorum’s moral high ground on that?

By outlawing paid-for sex, we have inadvertently created an underground market that consists of body trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, slavery and murder that is by far, much worse than any legal, regulated brothel that’s out in the middle of nowhere could ever be.

By outlawing drug use, we have promoted the use of dangerous, home-made chemical concoctions made by people who can’t do simple arithmetic, and again, an extremely dangerous black market for a product whose demand will never go away, and lives destroyed by perpetual incarceration with possession without intent to distribute. These perverse results, in my opinion, are far worse than whatever horrors would come from providing clean, controlled and regulated facilities for distribution and rehabilitation for responsible, consenting, educated adults.

Furthermore, if addiction is a disease, why is it treated with incarceration?

By outlawing booze, well, we’ll just let prohibition “speakeasy” for itself. Pun intended.

These policies are either born from ignorance, or they are instituted deliberately for perverse incentives. The truth logically lies in one or the other, and I do not know which one is worse.


Do as I say, not as I do.

Furthermore, it’s not in the government’s purview to legislate morality, nor, should it ever be, for two reasons: First, not everyone agrees on its subjective nature. Second, Washington is hardly a bastion of morality.

Since lying, killing, cheating and stealing are generally things that most people find socially reprehensible, then yes, secular consensus wins and the government has a responsibility to uphold the law and protect its citizens. But beyond the secular? Stuff it. In the cultural melting-pot that is America, everyone’s beliefs matter, not just the majority.

That whole freedom from religious persecution thing? Yeah, that applies to the Muslims, Buddhists, Shinto, Jews, Hindus and atheists, not just the Christians. In America, those other people count too (and this is just one reason why America is so awesome).

By ignoring reality, we subject ourselves to heartbreak and tragedy; unwanted teen pregnancies, abortions, incarcerations and shattered families, drug overdoses, death, the list goes on and on. The true horror of it all lies in the fact that these tragedies are, in large part, preventable with appropriate policies.

Perverse results are what happens when we delude ourselves into thinking that human beings are somehow exempt from the nature of reality.

Acknowledge that drugs, booze and sex exist and that they are here to stay, for ever and ever, and then legislate effective policies around their inherent ubiquity. For, failing to do so, we wind up with results that are far worse than the original problem could have ever been on its own.

6 responses to “Unintended Consequences & Perverse Results

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