If there is another terrorist attack on American soil, it would be natural to ask the same two questions that libertarians asked soon after 9/11:
(1) Is the attack another instance of blowback from U.S. foreign policy, for example, from the death and destruction from the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq?
(2) Was the failure to prevent 9/11 due to a lack of power among federal officials or was it instead due to gross incompetence and gross negligence, including the fact that on 9/11 federal agents were doing things they shouldn’t be doing, such as protecting the American people from prostitutes? After all, let’s not forget that on 9/11 the FBI was engaged in the terribly important task of investigating bordellos in New Orleans?
We now have received assurance that the FBI is still on the job, protecting Americans from all those dangerous prostitutes (who could conceivably be terrorists) who are luring American men into their lairs.
One thing that I’ve always found amusing about the post-9/11 U.S. regime change in Afghanistan is how American conservatives, along with lots of liberals, declaim vociferously against the Taliban but yet, at the same time, share one of the core values of the Taliban — the use of state coercion to punish people for engaging in non-approved peaceful behavior.
As most everyone knows by now, the FBI has pulled into its prostitution dragnet the current governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who was caught with a prostitute by FBI wiretaps. Presumably the wiretaps were part of an FBI investigation into tax evasion rather than part of an overall war-on-terrorism telephone monitoring scheme involving the NSA and American telecommunication companies.
No one should feel sorry for Spitzer, however, for he is your standard pro-war-on-drugs, pro-war-on-prostitution hypocrite. As state attorney general, he reveled in prosecuting prostitutes and drug users.
What was Spitzer’s response to getting hoisted on his own hypocritical petard? He said that what he did with the prostitute is strictly a “private matter.” Fair enough. But then why wasn’t it also only a “private matter” when he was prosecuting people for doing the same thing? Isn’t that what’s called hypocrisy.
One option would be for Spitzer to simply walk into a New York federal courtroom and announce, “Your honor, I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I have committed a grave federal offense: paying a woman to have sex with me. (I also committed adultery but for some reason that’s not a federal criminal offense yet.) No, I didn’t simply buy my sex partner an expensive dinner, a nice new outfit, and a beautiful bracelet. If I had done those things, the feds couldn’t have prosecuted me. I decided to simply give the woman cash instead, which makes me a real federal criminal. I have prosecuted many people for this same offense because I believe that people who commit such an offense should be punished. Therefore, I need to be punished for my offense and I wish to punished for it. I hereby plead guilty. Please sentence me to jail at once to the maximum number of years that the law allows.”
My hunch? He’ll never do it. Instead, to paraphrase an old Texas criminal-defense attorney, Spitzer’s position will be, “I sought ‘justice’ for all those prostitutes and their clients who I prosecuted. But as for me, I don’t want justice. I want freedom.”
As The Future of Freedom Foundation has long argued (here and here) government has no business interfering with peaceful, consenting acts of adults, including prostitution and drugs. How can anyone truly be considered free if he is denied the right to make peaceful choices — rightful or wrongful, sinful or virtuous? Under what moral authority does Caesar — the organized means of coercion and compulsion —punish people for making the wrong peaceful choices in their lives? It’s one thing for the state to punish a person who commits an act of violence against another person. It’s quite another thing to punish a person who engages in a mutual exchange with someone else, including one that involves sex.
Spitzer has no one to blame but himself, especially for his stupidity, hubris, arrogance, and hypocrisy. But the truth is that the feds should simply leave him alone and investigate real crime — that is, crime that involves the initiation of force against peaceful people. Maybe that way, we’ll have a better chance of preventing the next act of terrorist blowback on American soil arising from U.S. foreign policy, especially the federal invasion and occupation of Iraq.