I am told Libertarian Home spends too much time on economics and – guilty as charged – have blundered around on Twitter and Reddit for relevant material, as a service to you, dear reader. At the intersection of economics and social freedom I recently came across this story of a corporate fightback against social justice warriors and so was very interested in this similar fightback by backpage.com on behalf of its customers from the sex industry. I vaguely recalled Laura Lee, a sex worker I follow on twitter whom I interviewed here some time ago, had tweeted about backpage and went looking for those tweets – in order to agree with them and RT them you understand. Then I came across this from Dr Brooke Magnanti
That sentence “Freelancers – whether sex or writing – deserve rights in the workplace” should perhaps have carried a trigger warning. As a freelance IT contractor I can think of nothing worse than being burdened by so called “rights” that are in fact obligations on my client. Things like holiday pay, redundancy and paternity pay would add to their costs and reduce my billable rate. If my billable rate is pushed down I go out of business, or rather I “go permie” and live a lifestyle very different from the one I chose. For me, not having “rights” is a question of essential liberty.
I wanted to point that out to Dr Magnanti and it did not go well.
See that dot at the beginning of the tweet? That means 36,000 of Dr Magnanti’s followers will see her angry remarks at me. Ouch! That hurts – not least because basic decency requires I should not go around upsetting anyone, deliberately or accidentally. Yes it also hurts because I worry what her followers might think, it is only natural, but also because I respect Dr Magnanti and naturally wish to not to upset her in particular.
Searching out tweets to argue with? No, I was searching out tweets to agree with. Tweets by sex workers about an issue that affects sex workers, for an audience I know includes people who are, or have been, just one accident away from – quote – “whoring for survival”. A fate which – thanks to the economic problems that concern me – too many are too close to.
But at the end of the day, I too am who I am, and if I am guilty of being overly concerned about economic issues well then hang me. I am sorry I upset her, but it is important that popular well respected people like Dr Magnanti do not go around, uncorrected, arguing that “freelancers” need “rights” – enforced by law – just as others should not go around saying that sex workers need to be rescued or protected – by the law – when they do not, and when that is in fact a very difficult issue for them. Neither is helpful for either case and helpful is what we should be for one another.
For the record, I do agree with Dr Magnanti that freedom from harassment by the police, clients and moralising dicks is important and something we all deserve.