In the 1920s, a bunch of conservative Christians got a wild hair up their asses and decided to outlaw alcohol across the country. The result was widespread disaster. What they learned was that–if people want to do something, then making it illegal for them to do it merely shoves them into the underground, to the Black Market, and away from the watchful, scrutinizing gaze of society. Al Capone and his kind were products of Prohibition, because people still wanted to drink, and sending them into the shadows–where the social constraints of decency, cooperation, and respect didn’t exist–turned them into vicious criminals. In the shadows below society, might equals right, and power is the only thing that matters. As Jack Sparrow said, “The only things that matter are these: what a man can do, and what a man can’t do.” That is the only rule of the underground.
Society rejects that. In fact, the distinction between society and the underground is that we have constraints in place that hold back that mindset: we have rules, written and unwritten, and we decided thousands of years ago that cooperation, mutual agreement, and consent were infinitely better ways of doing things than force, violence, and coercion. When cooperation, mutual agreement, and consent break down, you end up with “societies” identical to the American prison system internals–rule by the strong, where might equals right.
Nothing would win the Drug War against the Mexican Cartels and Colombian Cartels quite as effectively as would legalizing drugs. The Mexican druglords are simply the Al Capones of today. How did we get rid of the Al Capones last time? Did we throw more and more cops at them until they were finally defeated? No–the more cops we threw at them, the less effective the cops were. We got rid of them by repealing Prohibition, by bringing the manufacture and distribution of alcohol back out of the shadows, allowing it to happen beneath the scrutinizing gaze of a society that is built on cooperation, agreement, and consent.
Why am I getting into all of this?
Because we know… We know that outlawing Behavior X when people want to partake in that behavior will not prevent that behavior from happening. It merely shoves it into the underground, where the social constraints don’t exist. If the last 40 years have taught us anything, it should be that it’s impossible to send enough cops and armed forces in to put a stop to the behavior we’ve outlawed–it’s gonna happen. People are gonna do drugs, and it doesn’t matter how much military might we use or how many people we arrest. It’s simply going to happen. Outlawing the behavior does nothing to curb the desire to undertake that behavior.
I’m speaking of hate toward LGBT people. In the modern United States, it’s dangerously close to illegal for conservative Christians to express their hatred of LGBT people. A lot of people would say that this is a good thing, but we have to look beyond the surface, and we have to realize that: Outlawing the behavior does nothing to curb the desire to undertake that behavior.
Making it illegal for them to say that they hate LGBT people, and to act in accordance with that hate (as long as they don’t use force, violence, or coercion, obviously) isn’t going to help, because the hatred remains, and because the desire to express that hatred remains. All you’ve succeeded in doing, when you make it illegal for them to openly express their hatred, is shoved them into the underground, where social mores don’t exist. All you’ve accomplished is pushing them out of the light, where the best they can do is hate speech, and pushed them into the shadows, where the only thing that matters is what a person can do, and what a person can’t do.
These people are going to express their hatred. They can’t help it. Just as people couldn’t help it but drink alcohol, just as people can’t help it but do drugs, and just as people couldn’t help it but get back alley abortions when abortion was illegal, they can’t help it now. Have you learned nothing from human history? The hatred they feel goes nowhere when it is outlawed. Their desire to express it goes nowhere. The only difference is that they have to express it in the shadows, because they aren’t allowed to do so openly.
Instead of speaking out and saying that they hate gay people, instead you have five trucks filled with people pulling into the driveway of a transgender person’s yard. What are you going to do to protect me then, society? Your laws will not protect me when my yard is filled with a bunch of raucous, drunk people with guns, swept up in the mob mentality and desperate to express their hatred in the shadows of the underground–the only place they can express their behavior? Your laws will not save me then. Your words on the Internet will not help me then.
“Call the police” you say? Oh, I can imagine how helpful that would be in a place like this. It’s a pretty good chance that one of the people taking a hammer to my front door is related to the cop who would show up. Even if not, with the average police response time being so high, by the time the police arrive, I’ll already be scattered on the pavement, dragged by chains behind someone’s truck. Your cops won’t save me. Your cops can’t save me.
You can’t plant a cop in my driveway 24/7. And even if you could, what the fuck would that do to help me? When the mob of 50 stormed the jail in Alabama and pulled out those three black men, and then hanged them, there were cops present, and the cops tried to stop the mob. Face it, society. You CANNOT protect me. You couldn’t keep people from drinking alcohol when you made it illegal, you couldn’t keep people from doing drugs when it is illegal, you couldn’t keep people from getting abortions when they were illegal, you couldn’t keep people from being gay when it was illegal, and you can’t keep people from expressing hatred when it is illegal. One by one, you’ve been shown for thousands of years that you cannot eliminate outlawed behavior, and you cannot protect people from the underground forces of human nature. You’ve been shown how outlawing alcohol produced Al Capone, you’ve been shown how outlawing drugs produced the Mexican drug lords, you’ve been shown how outlawing abortions produced back alley abortions. Do I really have to die for you to realize that you can’t outlaw behavior to put a stop to it?
I live in Mississippi; I’m transgender in Mississippi. These people that you talk about–they are distant ideas to you. They are neighbors to me. I buy groceries from them, gas from them, and fix their computers. They surround me. You’re antagonizing these people and shoving them into the underground, away from the watchful eyes of society–an act that poses no risk to you. It won’t be you, in New York and California that these people drag from their home and beat to death with a tire iron.
It will be me.
So I’m not telling you. I’m ordering you:
If you continue pushing them into the underground, then my blood will be on your hands when they come for me. Because we’ve seen it for thousands of years: keep behavior in the open. Allow them to fulfill their desires in the open, and the consequences will be minimal. They won’t take part in violence, because society is watching them. Outlaw their ability to express their hatred, and you do nothing more than ensure that you won’t be there when they do express it.