Spanish PM Vows To Ban Prostitution – This Is How Politics Works, Folks


That we around here are against the banning or illegality of prostitution should be obvious. We’re liberals and thus rather in favour of the idea that consenting adults get to do as consenting adults wish. Sure, there might be all sorts of problems with prostitution – the underage, sexual slavery and so on. Yet is is also absolutely true that some fraction of men – a reasonable count being some 2 to 3% as regular behaviour – and some fraction of women are entirely happy with the legal options available to them. That is, the legal option to exchange money for sex. They’re consenting, they’re adults, there’s no third party harm, what reason to ban it?

That’s not particularly our point here though. Rather, this is an example of how politics actually works. Why it’s such a bad method of deciding upon what should be happening:

Spain’s socialist PSOE party has vowed to outlaw prostitution in a series of measures designed to appeal to female voters ahead of the general election on 28 April, according to reports. With polls suggesting women make up as much as half of the 40% of undecided voters, the party, led by the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has published a female-friendly manifesto. It contrasts with claims by some rightwing parties that so-called “feminazis” are discriminating against men. Although it did not appear in the manifesto published on Monday, PSOE sources told El País that, under pressure from feminist groups, an updated document would assert that “prostitution, which we aim to abolish, is one of the cruellest aspects of the feminisation of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women”.

Note what isn’t happening. There isn’t a national conversation about this, nor a disinterested consideration of the issues. A politician under pressure is making a promise to a specific interest group in order to buy their votes. Which is how most politics does work. What enables us to buy electoral support? The usual calculation being that the enthusiasts for any particular policy will be bought more cheaply than those who don’t care very much will be lost. That is, concentrated interests win and diffuse lose.

In this case radical feminists win and that diffuse interest of the general freedom and liberty in the country lose. Which is, again, why politics is such a lousy way of running a place. Loudmouths with a grievance get to determine policy, not the silent majority.

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He’s going to ban it.

He’s not going to stop it though. That would actually involve serious expense.