Harry Reid, Nanny-Stater of the month

Recently, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was invited to speak before the Nevada legislature. What did he talk about? The national debt? America’s budget woes? Other issues of national import?

Nope. Nanny Reid devoted his time to a cause that must have left his listeners scratching their heads. In a state famous for its small-government libertarian attitudes, Harry Reid wins Reason.TV‘s coveted Nanny of the Month award for arguing for a ban on legalized prostitution:

Talk about a kill-joy! And what’s he got against a girl making a living, eh?

Seriously, regardless of what one thinks of prostitution*, this was hardly a topic a United States senator needed to scold his legislators for, although Harry does seem to enjoy scolding. Prostitution typically falls under a state’s police powers; the federal government has no role in this, other than preventing cross-border sex trafficking. But that’s not at issue here: Nevada allows counties to license brothels as they see fit.  Reid’s hectoring is simply another example of federal officials inserting their noses into places they don’t belong, trying to impose one-size fits all policies to social issues where there may be strong regional differences in opinion. It’s not only nannyish, it goes against our federal system of divided powers.

So, knock it off, Harry. Let Nevada handle its own problems, and you deal with the national issues your voters elected you to deal with.

*For the record, I favor decriminalizing prostitution both because it is a consensual act† between individuals that shouldn’t be government’s concern and because I support a broad private right to make a contract between adults, including sex in return for payment. I also think that many of the problems associated with prostitution (STDs, white slavery, pimping) would be eliminated or greatly lessened by decriminalization. And it would allow more law enforcement resources to be directed toward genuine sex crimes, such as child pornography and child prostitution.

†On the other hand, I don’t agree with the idea of the legalization of hard drugs, since I haven’t been convinced that the social costs would be outweighed by the gain in individual liberty. Yet another reason why I’ll never be a “Big L” libertarian.

UPDATE: Edited to fix some really sloppy typing. Yeesh.

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