The New York Times reports on "the spirit of camaraderie in hair salons":
"They say that the hairdresser gets all the secrets," Ms. Smith said. "They let go here. Everybody doesn't talk, but once you build a relationship with someone, that's when it happens. It's just like when you have a best girlfriend."
A new state rule taking effect on Jan. 1 recognizes that the unique relationship between hairdressers and their customers may help curb domestic abuse and sexual assault. The amendment to a law that governs the cosmetology industry will require salon workers to take one hour of training every two years to recognize the signs of abuse and assault and will provide them with a list of resources to which they can refer clients for help.
Without the training, cosmetologists in Illinois will not be able to renew their licenses. The professionals covered by the rule â€” believed to be the first in the nation â€” include hairstylists, nail technicians and aestheticians.
Let's just run that again: In Illinois, if you don't do your domestic-abuse training course every two years, you'll lose your hairdressing license - and your livelihood.
As I write in After America, in the Fifties one in 20 members of the workforce needed government permission to do his job. Now it's one in three. The original justification for requiring a government permit to cut another person's hair is that a salon contains potentially dangerous chemicals such as coloring products. Making the license conditional upon acing sexual-assault training courses is not just the usual Big Government expansion but the transformation of the relationship between a private business and the state:
The rule was inspired by the spirit of camaraderie in hair salons, said State Senator Bill Cunningham, one of the chief sponsors of the amendment. For some women, those salons are a safe space, where they can sit among other women, drop their guard and confide about life as their hair is braided or colored, or their nails trimmed and painted....
As Ann Althouse comments:
So, it's a great place for government to plant informants...
Just so. Just as the Stasi turned neighbors and relatives into spies, the State of Illinois is making your stylist one. Will the "spirit of camaraderie" survive this new legislation? Or will such stock inquiries about coming vacations and plans for the weekend suddenly seem far more loaded and alert the customer that she's now in the blow-dried equivalent of a Bulgarian hotel lobby circa 1978?
This gets my Big Government sounds like a creepy stalker tag... It's interesting that the state doesn't require salon workers to report anyone to the police or to social services. It's not like the way psychotherapists must submit to compulsion. But the state does require the training, repeated training, and it is willing to deprive hairdressers of their license â€” their livelihood â€” if they don't comply.
So, like so much government makework paper-shuffling schemes, it won't do anything to reduce the problem it's meant to be addressing, but it will be just one more tedious time-consuming obstacle to making a modest living.
And all this in Illinois, home to Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama's Murderopolis. Priorities.
~Speaking of priorities, as John Kerry has reminded us, the greatest iniquity and injustice in the world today is the scourge of Israeli "settlers". As I mentioned on the radio yesterday, America cannot "stand idly by" at this affront to its values. One of the affronters writes to Mark's Mailbox:
Hi Mr. Steyn,
As with everything else, your observation on Kerry's assertion that the United States government "cannot stand idly by" while Israelis build settlements is right on the, well, mark. But there's a salient point that most readers might not be aware of: the very word "settlements" is a deliberate misnomer, intended to conjure up the image of some scraggly, dusty burning-with-ideology pioneers who haven't taken a shower in ages staking out an outpost in the middle of nowhere.
I happen to live in one of the "settlements," for the same reason that people all over the world leave the big city and head to the 'burbs â€“ more affordable housing, not ideology. Our "settlement" of Beitar Illit has a population of close to 50,000, living in beautiful apartment buildings, houses and two-family homes, with parks and playgrounds and shopping centers and city hall and no litter (just about), and well over forty synagogues (according to my count). In September, over 22,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade walked off to the first day of school; close to 4,000 of those kids were in kindergarten and first grade alone (that's an official stat).
Does that sound like a "settlement" to anyone?
Thanks for all your support and keep up the great work!
Beitar Illit, Israel
You're right that the word "settlement" is a loaded one. "Settlers" is intended to invoke what happened in, say, the "settlement" of North America and Australia, when British settlers settled on land that was not part of an internationally recognized sovereign nation but nevertheless had certain indigenous peoples in the area.
That's not what happened here. In 1948, one internationally recognized sovereign state (Israel) was invaded by the armies of various neighboring sovereign states (Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq). At the end of that war, much of the former British Mandate of Palestine was in Israeli hands, but the West Bank wound up with Jordan and the Gaza Strip with Egypt. Over the next two decades, nobody referred to Egypt's or Jordan's exercise of its sovereignty in those lands under loaded terms such as "settlement". [Clarification: Indeed, given that Hashemite kingdom sits on the eastern half of Mandatory Palestine, the entire Jordanian state might be said to be "settlers" on "Palestinian" land.]
In 1967, the Arabs tried again to wipe out Israel, and again failed. And this time their defeat was even more total: Egypt lost the Gaza Strip (and the Sinai) and Jordan lost the West Bank. That was half-a-century ago. One of the most basic laws of war is: to the victor the spoils. If you launch a war and you lose, then the guy who took your territory is the one who determines its future. Instead, the "international community" decided to intervene in the matter in a way it has in no other supposed boundary dispute.
Thus began the "Palestiniazation" of the problem. Uniquely in such matters, the victorious sovereign state is forbidden from returning the spoils of war to the defeated sovereign states - Jordan and Egypt. Instead, it can only treat with the designated representatives of "Palestine", who (as I mentioned on the radio yesterday) have no interest in nation-building, or capacity for it, only in Jew-killing.
To repeat: the "international community"'s treatment of this issue is like no other boundary dispute of the last 200 years. Maybe that's because this situation is unique to one small patch of land in the Middle East. Or maybe it's because the "international community" really really doesn't like Jews.
I say that Israel (independent since 1948), Jordan (1946) and Egypt (1922) are all sovereign states entitled to act in their own interests, and live with the consequences - especially after two or three generations.
~I'll be back on the radio next week, incidentally. I believe it's Wednesday and Friday.