RichardDawkinsScientist Richard Dawkins asks, on Twitter (@Richard Dawkins): “Oral sex is illegal in several US states. Homosexuality is illegal in many countries. What kind of person thinks it’s the state’s business?”

I get where he’s coming from. I don’t think such activities are the state’s business, either. But the question seems naive. I have an answer:

The same kind of person who thinks that one should raise (or just keep) the “minimum wage.” Both wage contracts and sex relations are, obviously, human relationships, and any human relationship can have identifiable dangers, imagined, perceived, even real.

Real dangers of sexual transactions include the transmission of STDs. Perceived dangers include the breakdown of the family. Imaginary dangers include offense to a deity, such as Hera.

Real dangers of low wages include the possibility that some folks will be too easily satisfied, or just give up, and therefore not try to better themselves by gaining new skills and climbing the ladder of success. Perceived dangers of low wages is that people will work themselves to death and get “nothing out of it.” Imaginary dangers of low, unregulated wages is that (without minimum wage legislation) some or all wages would fall to subsistence rates.

In both cases, fear drives folks to believe the worst possible results from fairly innocent activities. Imaginary results trump perception to rule the roost as “real.”

So the kind of person who hankers to regulate transactions is very similar in each case, sexual or contracted work-over-time. Both concentrate on the dangers they imagine and perceive, and not on the very real dangers their so-called solutions promote. And they are many, in both cases.

And I bet Prof. Dawkins is just that kind of person. I bet he supports minimum wage legislation. He just happens to think (for reasons undisclosed) that sexual relations should not be regulated, but market relations should.

@wirkman

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