L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 236, August 31, 2003
Finally, the Text of that Social Contract!
The Insanity of the Anti-Bambi Hunt Agenda
Special to TLE
When it came to the recent controversy concerning the Hunting for Bambi game, did conservatives and liberals not have anything better to do than to demonize one of the newest pleasurable pastimes that just hit Las Vegas, Nevada? This latest sport has recently become a witting target by many leftists and rightists who find themselves thoroughly disgusted and uncomfortable with the thought of this increasingly popular activity, which has already become the talk of the town all over the country.
The game has already caught the ire of leftist groups like The National Organization for Women, The Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence, and The Young Women's Christian Agency and rightist groups like Gun Week and Free Republic. It involves a group of men from all over the world who spend exorbitant amounts of money anywhere from $5000 to approximately $10,000 all for the purpose of chasing down and shooting at naked women with a paintball gun. They arrive in the desert outside Sin City where they dress up in a camouflage tunic, arm themselves with a loaded CO2-powered rifle, and hunt down women a.k.a. Bambis and fire their weapons at them with explosive paint-filled pellets for self-gratification.
It ought to be pointed out that the girls who participate in the sexually arousing activity are not allowed to wear protective gear except tennis shoes. In fact, the girls can get physically hurt if they are shot. The paintballs fired from the guns can travel upwards of 200 miles an hour, and if the pellets do hit bare flesh, they can draw blood. In a recent interview with Las Vegas' KLAS-TV, Gidget, one of the Bambis who was shot in the rear by a hunter named George Evanthes during a recent game, told the news channel, "It hurt. It really hurt. I didn't think it was going to be that bad."
Another Bambi, who goes by the name of Nicole, told the channel that the girls are remunerated well for their services. "I mean it's $2,500 if you don't get hit," she said. "You try desperately not to and it's $1000 if you do." That is not bad for a day's work if one looks at it that way.
Michael Burdick, who is the creator of the game, has admitted that the men are told not to shoot above the chest, although hunters do not always adhere to the rules. "The main goal is to be as true to nature as possible," said Burdick. "I don't go deer hunting and see a deer with a football helmet on so I don't want to see one on my girl either." But that is simply not good enough in the eyes of the leftists and rightists who are repulsed by this sport.
In fact, this has incensed many liberals and conservatives who condemned the city's highly popular pleasure currently dubbed as a new form of "adult entertainment." To a typical rightist, this is a degrading entertainment because it is an affront to moral, traditional values and constitutes an assault on traditional community norms with regard to proper and moral conduct. To a typical leftist, this is a degrading entertainment because it is chauvinistic and sexist and transforms women into sexual objects for men who act on their aggressive tendencies.
As soon as news of the ruckus leaked out to the press, the reactions from many leftists particularly the politically correct feminists and many rightists particularly the religious conservatives were obvious. "I couldn't quite believe it," said feminist legal expert Susan Estrich on Fox News. "[The site] advertised this as really hurting people. [They're] violating about 20 criminal laws, including assault."
Rita Hayley, the president of the New York City chapter of NOW, was quoted in the New York Post as saying, "It's appalling, and it's really frightening. It says something about the men who want to play this game and something about the financial climate that drives women to participate. The big fear is that somebody who plays will eventually want to use real bullets."
Paintball and paint gun makers and gun rights activists objected to the sport as well. Dan Workman, senior editor of Gun Week, expressed his disgust with Sin City's newest hunt. "Gun owners I hear from regard this as depraved and sick," he said.
Of course, all the public outcries against it may be fueled with the most recent claim that the Bambi hunt is a hoax a claim which was ignited by Snopes.com, a website which claims to "debunk urban legends." According to the site, Burdick's company Real Men Outdoor Productions, Inc. does not list phone numbers, address, and other contact information and that Burdick and his team have never conducted these naked women hunts.
Even Patricia Ireland, the head of the feminist group YWCA, does not buy into the company's claims that the chases are real. "Frankly, I still have to believe it's a put-on," says Ireland. "Who would be so stupid to pay up to ten thousand dollars to hunt a naked woman?" You have to wonder what planet she has been living on these days.
Even Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who has been disgusted with the game, has stated that he has already commenced a criminal investigation of Burdick and his group. What is the charge, you probably ask? He's practicing a business without a license in the city. "We're going to prosecute him to the full extent the city can, and do everything we can to make sure he doesn't do any business in the city from this point forward," said an incensed Goodman. "We have plenty of jail space available in Las Vegas."
Nevertheless, the question that no one seems to be asking right now is is all of this really necessary? Another question that seems to be left out of the debate is whose rights have been seriously violated here the women or the city or both? How about none of the above?
To the politically correct liberal feminist, the pastime is an insult to women and their rights not to mention that it wreaks sexual exploitation. To a religious conservative, it epitomizes the moral and ethical degradation of family values and the odious assault on traditional mores in our communities. However, aren't both sides missing the point here? What if the women's rights are not being violated? Has it ever occurred to the collectivists in both camps that, because the game is legal, no one is calculatingly and fatally harmed in the process?
And why is that? Because the women who partake in this sport are doing so voluntarily. No one is coerced to do anything that they don't want to do. These hunts may be morally repugnant to most people, but how are they any more repulsive than, say, boxing, football, or ice hockey? Aren't those sports violent? Don't they draw blood as well? Yet no one is condemning those sports, nor are they calling for their outlaw in the process.
Let's be mindful of the fact that many leftists and rightists are often glad to take ideologically pure libertarians to task on this issue or any issue that involves the non-violation of other individual rights. After all, many of them condemn libertarians for not morally and ethically objecting to these hunts or any other questionable activity (such as pornography, gambling, drug use, etc.). The reason they condemn these activities because, in their eyes, these activities do "violate the rights of others," considering that the individuals who engage in said actions are said to be "harming themselves."
Don't forget that the game is perfectly legal and that the women who strip off their clothes to participate in this new form of entertainment do so at their own volition. But if these women were selling and/or using illegal drugs or receiving money in exchange for sex (that is, engaging in prostitution), they would be breaking the law and receive a serious penalty.
We must also not ignore the fact that all participants involved are gaining from the exchange; otherwise why else are they taking part in the transactions? In addition, illegal activities (such as drug prohibition, immigration prohibition, gun prohibition, etc.) are performed in an arena of violence where there is no legal recourse, all because the black market of said transactions are a free market operating outside of the government-mandated prohibitions. Because the activities are illegal, the prices of the transactions are extremely high, thus providing an incentive for huge, profitable returns. Ergo, the market does not work for the consumer and only in favor of the illegal dealer.
However, when such prohibitions are removed, the activities become legal, and the violence is quickly subsided and the market responds to its customers' need, providing its products and/or services at the lowest price. Ergo, that's when the market works for the consumers and rightfully enriches the legal dealer.
Is the Hunting for Bambi game immoral? To many libertarians, yes. Nevertheless, just because many libertarians don't agree with the game doesn't mean that the game ought to be illegal. Just because we rightfully condemn it from a personal and moral standpoint doesn't mean that we believe that the game enthusiasts ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, when physical force and fraud have never been a part of it.
Moreover, for those who believe that this game is hoax and the players and the creators of the sinful pleasure ought to be incarcerated for their actions, they need to mind their own business. The game is real and no one has been harmed from doing it. Those who are doing everything in their power to shut the company down are doing it for political and legal reasons. They are not doing it for the public interest.
Whether or not one concurs with the spirit of the game, the public actions being taken against the proprietors of the business ought to be not only condemned they ought to be brought to a complete halt. The political and sexual correctness being imposed by the left and the moral high ground taken by the right ought to be taken out of the realm of politics, for they are the heart of the insanity of the anti-Bambi Hunt agenda.
A society that allows such political, social, and legal machinations to flourish is one that is not a free and civil one. But a society that embraces the tenets of limited government, individual liberty, tolerance, personal responsibility, private property rights, private charity, free enterprise, federalism, and the rule of law is one that is truly free and civil.