Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Capitalism Is More Gay-friendly Than Democracy

I love capitalism. Anyone who disses our economic system while at the same time extolling the virtues of our political system ought to consider the case of gay rights. Businesses are generally happy to cater to gay people because we're a great target demographic for many specialized services. Most business people thus leave any prejudices they might have against gays at home and do what they can to get money from us at their workplaces. Democracy, on the other hand, has delivered the gay rights movement numerous defeats in jurisdictions throughout the United States.

Given that my sexual orientation is listed on my Facebook profile, that company targets ads at me based on the fact that I'm gay. Here are two examples:
Only if you are gay

If you are gay and proud of who you are, we would love you to join our new social network Check it out now - it is free!

Win A Massachusetts Trip

Enter for a chance to win a trip to the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. It's all here for everyone.

In addition to ads that target gays as a unique demographic, there are others that simply offer a gay twist on otherwise mainstream phenomena:
Find Your Perfect Partner

Join today! is offering new members until Valentine's Day a free 3 month membership ($89.95 value) with coupon code: LW4N

Intimate Gifts for Him

Save on sexy gifts for him at our huge Valentine's sale.Hundreds of items on sale: All your favorite new underwear and swimwear styles.

The message these ads send: Hey, gays, you don't want to be alone on Valentine's Day either, do you? No, you don't! So use our site to meet a partner. And then check out this other site where you can buy your new boyfriend some sexy underwear for the special night! We don't care in the least what you guys do after that underwear comes off, we just want you to buy that underwear from us.

But there are also some ads that simultaneously irritate and amuse me--especially those hyping gay cruises:
All-Gay Mexico Cruise

Discover Mexico's best beaches with RSVP on our biggest gay cruise of the year. Non-stop fun from just $799!

Atlantis Cruise From $999

Atlantis presents the world's largest all-gay cruise. Sailing from Miami January 25. Now from just $999!

Urgh. As much fun as hanging out with a bunch of other gay guys at a bar once in a while can be, an all-gay cruise would likely drive me insane. For the most part, I prefer to spend my free time around people with whom I have more in common than sexual orientation. Sure, it's almost certainly ridiculously easy to get laid on such a trip, but engaging in that sort of behavior is also a great way to catch a nasty disease or three.

However, if people really want to go on such cruises (and, given the ads, some must), more power to them. And regardless of how the executives managing the corporations that run these gay cruises feel about the activities that go on during such ventures, they really don't mind as long as they get their money. Unsurprisingly, the thought of a boat loaded with gay men butt-fucking each other with wild abandon for days on end becomes a lot less troubling to the average American businessman when the money those men give him for the use of his ship pays his mortgage and puts his kids through college.

Whereas democracy is a zero-sum game in which those who win elections generally advance their favored policies at the expense of those who lose, capitalism is not zero sum. The gay cruise ships' owners, workers, and passengers all benefit from these specialized cruises. The owners and workers use the resources at their disposal to earn a living while the passengers spend the money they've earned elsewhere in order to have enjoyable vacations. It doesn't really matter how anyone feels about gay rights. Rather, everyone involved works together for common benefit without worrying about other people's personal lives. That's a truly beautiful thing--and it's a major reason why I am a libertarian. Politics isn't half as noble a pursuit as business.

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