Politician seeks to outlaw the competition

One unidentified businessman claimed to be uncomfortable about relocating to a Nevada county where brothels are legal, so U.S. Sen. Harry Reid lectured state legislators in Carson City on Tuesday (to a response of deafening silence) that Nevada should outlaw and close the 24 legal brothels that now pay local taxes and fees — some of them representing a hefty share of local tax revenues — in 10 of Nevada’s rural counties.

Local brothel owners report the businessman in question finally decided to locate his business in Storey County, anyway.

Meantime, I don’t believe it would be an exaggeration to say hundreds of complaints pour in here annually from tourists harassed by newly arrived Mexican “guest workers” earning some minimal income by aggressively handing out little cards with phone numbers and color photos of “direct to your room” naked babes to tourists strolling the Las Vegas Strip — the card-pushers showing no hesitation in pushing the cards on families including young children and grannies.

Why don’t the hotels along the Strip solve this litter and harassment problem by simply asking these porn hawkers to put together stacks of plain manila envelopes, so the desk clerks could ask folks as they check in whether they’d like information about “confidential adult services”?

Because they’d be seen as complicit with a huge and lucrative business which is still technically illegal in Clark County and in Reno, of course.

Reno and Las Vegas closed down their red light districts in 1951, meaning prostitutes in Las Vegas and Reno aren’t subject to inspections by the state health department (unlike ladies in the legal rural brothels). Local police make virtually no effort to enforce laws against “outcall” prostitution in Las Vegas, which means customers here theoretically also face less protection against being rolled, overcharged, ripped off, etc.

So which is a larger problem, senator? Legal brothels or widespread illegal prostitution among the high-rise hotels of Las Vegas?

Actually, as a Libertarian and fan of the free market, I don’t see either as much of a problem. In fact, getting “rolled” while seeking entertainment in Vegas is highly uncommon, so long as you stay in your hotel room. It simply wouldn’t be good for business, and is thus (I must presume) “policed” quite effectively, even if very unofficially.

Besides, for every businessman who expresses concern about locating to a county with discreet local brothels, there must be hundreds who are concerned about locating to a state with widespread legal businesses offering working folk a “chance to win” if only they’ll cash their paychecks inside the casino (the idea being, obviously, that said salarymen are unlikely to exit the joint without laying down at least some of those greenbacks).

Such ad campaigns are widespread in Nevada, giving the lie to the dated notion that the casinos are “only for the tourists.”

Does the senator believe Nevada should outlaw casinos and “quickie” marriage and divorce, as well, in order to also replace them with more upstanding and high-toned enterprises? Like what? Rattlesnake ranching?

I’m sure businessmen express concern about relocating to states where patients can now buy marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation (including California and Nevada), states where citizens can carry firearms openly on their hips (including Nevada and Arizona), etc.

Instead of suggesting we change our laws to more closely resemble Puritan New England, the correct reply is, “I guess you could go back to paying all those taxes that drove you out of Illinois or New Jersey or Massachusetts. Or, you could just get used to slightly less hypocrisy and slightly more freedom.”

— — —

I see where the Obama administration will no longer defend in court the constitutionality of a federal law that bans recognition of same-sex marriage.

What is it any law enforcement agent — from the cop on the beat to the U.S. attorney general — will tell you if you ask why they’re still harassing people about marijuana, peyote and other non-addictive plants, even in states where local voters have said, “Never mind”?

“We don’t get to pick and choose which laws we’re going to enforce,” they’ll bluster. “As long as they’re on the books we have to enforce them all equally.”

Yeah, right.

I’ve got nothing against gays getting hitched, if they find state law can thus help them clear up everything from inheritance to the right to visit their loved one in the hospital or even make end-of-life decisions instead of having some “official” call in an estranged cousin no one’s seen in years.

But if “the executive” (as in “We ‘execute’ the laws”) feels free to not bother enforcing this law, nor the immigration laws, while continuing to bulldoze the pot gardens of weeping California cancer patients, what theory remains to explain which laws they’re going to enforce and which they’re not?

If Mr. Obama can no longer say he’s waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether all our remaining “gun control” or asset seizure laws are unconstitutional — as they obviously are — how can he justify continuing to enforce them, or thousands of other extraconstitutional edicts?

Or are we back to “Atlas Shrugged,” in which book Dr. Floyd Ferris asks: “Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? … We want them broken. … There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

“Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of law-breakers — and then you cash in on guilt.”

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of the novel “The Black Arrow” and the nonfiction “Send in the Waco Killers.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.

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