The Socialization of the Costs of Sex

by W.F. Price on October 19, 2012

One of the beefs the traditional left has had with US economic policy – one I happen to have as well – is the socialization of business costs (or losses) while profit remains private. Because I did some manual labor as a teen and young man, I remember feeling pretty angry about the fact that immigrant farm workers had their health care and housing subsidized by the state while I had no such benefit. This was extended to a ridiculous degree in subsequent years, with illegals getting all of the benefits of residence and state services while their employers continued to pay them low wages. As I saw it, there was a partnership between the state and private interests that served to drive wages down for natives. Unfortunately, the typical white leftist at the time was a couple generations removed from blue collar work, and tended to have a sort of class antagonism toward working-class whites (e.g. you must be a “loser” if you work with your hands), framing everything in terms of multicultural universalism, by which they justified screwing less advantaged Americans in favor of hiring cheaper foreigners.

There are plenty of other examples, and many of us are paying dearly for this in our current recession, which was created essentially by socializing business costs and thereby creating an enormously inflated bubble. It’s infuriating when you think about it, and makes me pretty pessimistic about both candidates, who both, as far as I can tell, are in league with the thieves and crooks who caused all this trouble.

However, it seems that this is a problem that goes beyond the formal business world, and has pervaded society in general to the extent that many – perhaps most – people think the government (i.e. taxpayers) should bear the costs of their life choices.

The example most in the news today is the demands for subsidized abortion and birth control that have become a feature of the presidential campaign. You’d think that our country’s women’s top priority is getting the government to subsidize their sexual choices, whatever they may be.

Following what I was getting at yesterday, sex has always incurred some expense. Like it or not, men pay for sex (or its results) in one way or another. Traditionally, you’d pay by getting married and taking the woman on as your responsibility, or you’d pay a fee for a one-off (prostitution). If you took it without paying for it, as in adultery, rape or fornication, it was a crime, or something like that. If we were honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit that it still is a quasi crime; as the old system has been replaced with something significantly more confusing, sex crime laws have become far broader in scope and can be applied to any number of situations (such as prostitution) that used to be considered beyond the purview of the law.

Additionally, despite false promises of free sex from the 60s and 70s, when feminists used to get support from men by promising we’d all be getting laid for free when we had “equality,” it turned out that sex still had a lot of associated costs. Pregnancy, of course, is one of the biggest. At first, we socialized that, but then welfare reform threw the costs entirely onto fathers (not mothers, mind you). Combined with welfare reform, we had VAWA, which significantly increased the costs of marriage and cohabitation by legally handicapping men in relationships with women. So great strides have been made in restoring a heavy cost to sex, but this hasn’t been enough, because women have grown accustomed to sexual license with whomsoever they please, and the men they generally like either a) don’t have the money, or b) are desirable enough to not have to pay.

Although the latter is a bit counterintuitive (wouldn’t women desire men who pay for them?), it’s a function of female sexual psychology. Women generally use sex to ensnare the man they want (and they typically have high expectations), and then they begin to draw resources from him. It works in simple societies where people hold each other to account, but in more cosmopolitan settings it breaks down for a couple reasons. First, there are more than enough women to go around, so it’s easy to drop one and pick up another, and secondly there are other means for women to gain resources, such as jobs and welfare, and as long as those resources exist men who have no trouble procuring sex see no reason to provide for women, even if they have the means. And who can blame them? Although it’s a social catastrophe, it’s a perfectly reasonable attitude from a personal perspective, because, after all, the individual man didn’t create this mess in the first place.

Here’s a scenario:

A handsome young investment banker making six figures can go out to a bar and take his pick. Let’s call him Mark. Mark picks up a young woman named Amanda, she goes home with him, they have sex, and he enters her number into his phone, leaving her only a promise to call again. Perhaps he intends to do so, and perhaps not. Whatever the case, he feels no guilt or responsibility, because the woman, who happens to be in law school, also has a job at a nonprofit, and makes more hourly than the average young man in their city, so he doesn’t need to provide her with anything. Additionally, if there’s an “accident” (but in all likelihood there won’t be, because Mark is careful about these things) there’s a Planned Parenthood down the street. Not only does it provide her with birth control, but it will treat STDs and abort unwanted children resulting from her nightly excursions.

Sounds fine, so what’s the problem?

The problem is that this young woman, despite being a student and having a job, is essentially on the dole. Her nonprofit is funded in large part by state and federal grants, as is her tuition. Her sexual care at Planned Parenthood is also funded largely by taxpayers. Her life, including her sex life, is paid for by the average working Joe, but she isn’t sleeping with Joe — oh no: she’s sleeping with Mark, a guy who easily could afford to feed, clothe and insure her, but who doesn’t have to because of Joe. Although it isn’t really his fault, Mark is a freeloader.

Joe, for his part, makes do with monthly trysts with a mid-level prostitute, which he can barely afford after taxes and child support. Joe, who is an HVAC repairman, is paying for all the Amandas in his state, his ex-wife Lisa, and his hooker, who is named Elena.

Interestingly enough, Joe and Amanda have met. Joe was called in to fix the AC in her nonprofit’s office on a sweltering summer day. Because the AC was broken and the atmosphere was stifling, Amanda had unbuttoned the top part of her blouse, and poor Joe couldn’t help but look at her breasts. Amanda was furious, and called his supervisor, who apologized profusely, and when Joe got back from the job he caught hell. Fortunately, he wasn’t fired, but it sure was humiliating. Not as bad as having to deal with his ex-wife’s lawyer, but close…

I suppose we could say “life’s unfair,” and that would be entirely true. But should we make it that unfair? Should we set things up so that Joe has to support Amanda as much as Mark?

According to our nation’s single women, the answer is a resounding “YES!” Married women, however, have a significantly different take on it, for obvious reasons.

I’m not sure single women are consciously aware of how selfish they are being. I think they fully intend to find some man to support them, and think the only way they can do that is to have unfettered sex with all the Marks of the world they can get their hands on in the hopes that one of them will some day give in and marry her. The problem is that it’s a trend that reinforces itself; the more Amandas we have giving it away for free the less likely any given Mark will be to actually support any of them. The competition will escalate, desirable men will become even more reluctant to give women any financial support, and the screeching for more entitlements for single women will grow louder and louder.

It is exactly this trend that has led to the bizarre, unprecedented fixation on women’s sexual entitlements in our current election cycle. When you socialize the costs of a private activity – and sex is about as private as it gets – you create an unnatural imbalance that rewards the few at the expense of the many. You also run the risk of inflating costs to unsustainable levels, and I think that’s something young women ought to think hard about. But they won’t.

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