Any movie is brand new if you haven’t seen if before.

Anyone who’s not finding this column for the first time has read me talking about my making an indie movie titled Lady Magdalene’s, a suspense comedy that tells the story of an IRS agent sent to run a legal Nevada brothel in tax default.

The fictitious brothel in my movie is situated in Pahrump, Nevada — the town where I now live full-time — in Nye County, one of the eight counties in Nevada that doesn’t outlaw houses of prostitution. I live a ten-mile drive from the nearest supermarket but the two legal brothels just outside town are walking distance from my home.

One of these brothels is named The Chicken Ranch. It started operation in 1976, three years after a brothel named The Chicken Ranch in Fayette County, Texas, was shut down by order of Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, shuttering a business that had been in operation since 1844. The Chicken Ranch near my house contains an exhibit of memorabilia from the original one in Texas.

Poster: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

While I was doing research for my movie I picked up a DVD of the 1982 movie musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, but I never got around to watching it until last night. The movie was based on the hit 1978 Broadway musical which in turn was based on a 1974 Playboy article about an ABC/Eyewitness News Houston TV reporter named Marvin Zindler who — it eventually came out — had a “deep throat” in Texas Attorney General John Hill, who’d tipped off Zindler that the Chicken Ranch was being used to launder organized-crime money.

Hill’s tip to Zindler was groundless, if not an outright lie, as were Zindler’s charges that the Chicken Ranch bribed local officials to remain open, and that the women were being forced to work there by pimps. Nonetheless, Zindler made such an unholy ruckus on TV that even though the vast majority of Fayette County residents — and Sheriff T.J. Flournoy — considered The Chicken Ranch an honored local institution that supported civic projects and local charities, a statewide political climate proved toxic to the 129-year-old institution.

While it is far-less sexually explicit than the far-more recent HBO documentary series Cathouse — filmed at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nevada — the R-rated Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is candid in its portrait of the characters on both sides of the debate on houses of prostitution. Unlike Nevada, Texas law did not regard brothels as legal; nonetheless, local control was sufficient to keep it open well into modern times.

My attitudes on prostitution are well-documented through three decades of being an author. I don’t regard pimps who beat up women and take their money as indistinguishable from talent agents. But I regard any self-proclaimed feminist who doesn’t support a woman’s right to use her own body selling sexual satisfaction — while simultaneously arguing in favor of a woman’s right to have an abortion — to be far more corrupt than an honest whore.

In Chapter 14 — “Sex for Money” — of my book Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto I wrote,

I doubt very much that any little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute. I doubt any father is thrilled to discover that his daughter has grown up to become one.

Let me also be very clear that in referring to prostitution I am not referring to a situation where any sort of force, threat, duress, intimidation, or dependency is used to make someone perform sexual acts for money. I’m not talking about kidnapping women or children and forcing them into sexual slavery. I’m not talking of a pimp supplying one of his women drugs in exchange for the money she gets from standing on a corner and offering herself to passing motorists.

So if the women are free from duress, and the contracts under which they’re performing their services are arrived at openly and honestly, I regard brothels as just another personal-service business — no more nor less corrupt than dentistry, hair-styling, or fitness training — and I regard a campaign by a TV talking head in secret cahoots with a politician to shut down an honest business with over thirteen decades of customer satisfaction behind it conspiracy to murder a livelihood.

I spent some time today coming up with words to describe the politically-motivated assassination of an ongoing profitable business, which satisfies a need and gives people honest work. I came up with busicide, markecide, bargacide, merchicide, entrecide, industricide, commercide, livelicide, workicide, crafticide, pursuicide, goodicide, and finally, tradecide.

Whatever you call it, it’s a sin. It should be a crime.

When I was living in California there was an Asian buffet restaurant at the corner of Lincoln and Wilshire Boulevards in Santa Monica named Mama’s Buffet. It offered a great selection of well-prepared food, sold at far more reasonable prices than other restaurants in the area. It was at least a half-hour drive from my apartment in Culver City but I ate there frequently, and introduced most of my friends and family to it.

Then one day, after I’d eaten there for years, I came to eat there and found Mama’s Buffet shut down, with no warning or explanation.

A few weeks later I ran into one of the cashiers while in a supermarket on Wilshire Boulevard, and I asked what had happened. It turned out that the owners of Mama’s Buffet had a family member who was using that address for a mail-order business. Since the Santa Monica business license was only for a restaurant, and not for a mail-order business, the City of Santa Monica took this business with over fifty employees — and a customer base who drove to it for miles around — and shut it down.

I’d always heard it called it the People’s Republic of Santa Monica. Now I knew how true that was.

As government continues to expand into every aspect of our lives, more and more businesses of every sort are going to run afoul of grasping politicians, looking to impose their tyrannies on us.

This sort of oppression may start with The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas but it ends with you.

It’s time for everyone who cares about the right to make a living to understand who their allies — and their enemies — are.


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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