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Attitudes about sexuality are even more hypocritical. For example, the United States has some of the strictest rules in the world about what can be said and shown on television, yet the U.S. is the world's leading producer of pornographic media. The Reagan Administration was obsessed with prosecuting pornographers, and eventually convicted one of the industry's earliest producers, a man named Reuben Sturman, on charges of tax evasion. Ironically, the Administration claimed to worship Adam Smith and free enterprise -- except, of course, when it conflicted with its ideals of Christian morality.
Republican administrations have felt less uncomfortable with the prospect of illegal labor, as Schlosser's chronicles of the conditions of strawberry pickers illustrate. Children, men, and women work at the back-breaking labor for $6.75-$10 a day (Schlosser 2003, p. 92). Again, hypocrisy is evident -- the same right-wing advertisers who created the Willie Horton ad campaign that defeated Michael Dukakis have fought unionization of the migrant workers, and local authorities have refused to set up low-income housing (Schlosser 2003, p. 106). The market rewards only efficiency, Schlosser muses: "every other human value gets in the way," in the case of these workers (Schlosser 2003, p. 108).
It is especially interesting to read this book in light of the recent failures of the free market system to regulate itself. Supposedly, the dangers and costs of illegal enterprises should be too great for the producers -- yet these industries remain wildly popular, and laws have proved ineffective in curtailing their growth. This is partially due to the powerful nature of the demand for drugs, sexuality, and money, but also because of the piecemeal nature of legislation designed to curb 'vices.' On one hand, big tobacco supports candidates in Congress, while Congress passes stringent laws regarding the drug trade in marijuana. On one hand, pornography is condemned and limited through zoning legislation, yet it is widely available on the internet. On one hand, businesses grow rich because of the low wages they pay illegal workers, yet the politicians who support tax breaks for those businesses are also vociferously anti-immigration. Schlosser selects three, seemingly unrelated industries and demands that Americans look at all of them through the same lens, and confront America's collective, blind hypocrisy.
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