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Thursday, May 26, 2005


The worlds oldest profession

Why is Prostitution illegal?

That is probably the easiest part of this weeks question. Sex for sale is illegal simply because the founders of the colonies that became America a few centuries ago were religious extremists. While for the most part they were mildly so for their day, and ours and were certainly not of the radical variety like Al-Queda, Hamas, or the IRA, they still had an unwarranted killing or two on their dossiers. They believed not in freedom of religions, but freedom of their religion. Part and parcel of this was that law and church doctrine should mirror each other. This was unfortunately the only way they could see to protect their religion. But extremists they were none the less. The Bible is not very approving of scarlet women so neither were their laws. We're stuck with the legacy of this today.

Should it (prostitution) be legal?

Yes. It should be, in accordance either with the labor or consent laws of each state which ever sets the higher age, or perhaps just a federally ordained eighteen years of age. Beyond that and strict regulations requiring frequent STD testing for industry workers, and the trade being taxed at no higher a rate than any other service industry, leave it alone. I do think however that unlike our German friends we should allow people to not take jobs in this field of dubious virtue and negotiable affections and retain their unemployment benefits. Somepeople are simply unfit for the profession just as some are unfit to be police officers.


Should Prostitution Be Legal?

This is obviously a question that "most" people would not bother considering. The default answer is that prostitution is immoral and illegal. As to my own opinion, I think it should be legal and regulated. This is not to say that I think prostitution is morally correct, much to the contrary, the selling (and buying, why is it no one ever mentions that end of the bargain?) of sex is morally repugnant and quite offensive to my own religious believes.

So why should we legalize and regulate prostitution? I would argue that prostitution is analogous to our illegal drug problem in at least two ways. First, in each case the act in question hurts only those who choose to engage in it. Neither sex between a prostitute and a "John" nor someone smoking crack hurts anyone else. The problem, for me, arises when the higher-order consequences of these two acts are considered. Taking harmful (illegal) drugs is not a "victimless" crime. Innocent children get caught in the crossfire of drug-related gang wars. Similarly, young girls (and to a lesser extent, in this country, boys) are sometimes forced into a life of prostitution and diseases are more easily spread (as, I would think, prostitutes will are generally less picky about their partners than the general population). Second, neither the illegal drug problem nor prostitution are going away. The tighter we clamp down, the more slips through our fingers.

Since prostitution is here to stay (it is, after all, the oldest profession), we really have no choice but to regulate it. In that way, we can at least protect some of those who would otherwise be vulnerable to STDs and exploitation by pimps, et al. None of this is to suggest that legalizing and regulating (the 'acceptable' forms of) prostitution will squash the market for other ('unacceptable') classes of prostitutes. Any form of prostitution that remains illegal (say, that conducted by 12 year olds) will continue as before: illegal, unregulated and dangerous. However, there are moral lines in the sand that cannot be crossed and battles worth fighting to the death.

Do I think any of this is actually going to happen? Not a chance. Why? For whatever reason America is relatively prude when it comes to sex. We're more than willing to watch sexually explicit movies, TV shows and, of course, fill forests worth of tabloids on the topic of celebrity sex. However, when it comes down to sex and 'real people' (and then throw in $$), people get very uncomfortable. The bottom line is that no politician (who wishes to remain so) is likely to bring anything like a Legalize Prostitution bill to the floor.


How topical.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I'll Take Missionary with the Option of Light Oral

Prostitution. It's an ugly, ugly word. Why? I don't know. It could have something to do with the American taboo on sex, but that's just a guess. I know it's ugly word. How would you feel if someone told you you were prostituting yourself to your job?

There is simply no way to begin a discussion on the question without bring in moral and emotional baggage. There is no politically correct term for prostitute that isn't, itself, offensive to those with moral objections.

That happens to be the way I like my politics. No sugar coatings, please. Let's face the issue in the harsh light, face our emotional reactions and get past them, so we can deal with the issue, instead of trading venom and insult.

Is there a good reason that prostitution should be a crime? That's difficult to answer without resting on a moralization. I'm a practical man, and I want practical answers. To get practical answers, I break the issue down. What is prostitution? In the context of this question it is selling sex.

We live in a free market economy. Selling is perfectly legal. Sex is also legal, as long as it is private. Could selling sex be consider public activity? It depends on your definition of public. From an economic stand point, it's definitely private activity, but economics isn't the only definer of what is public.

Still, private entities can't sell just anything. They have to take care to prevent distribution of materials or services that are dangerous. Such things should be regulated for public protection. Is sex dangerous?

AIDS, syphilis, herpes... I'd say yes. Like anything else, sex without a form of moderation is exceedingly dangerous.

So, I can certainly answer the second question. If prostitution were legal it would have to be regulated, for the protection of the public and the prostitutes. How one would go about doing that is somewhat beyond the scope of my abilities, and seems less of political and more of procedural question. In my view procedure only becomes political when political hacks wrestle over it for voter brownie points. I believe prostitution is legal and regulated in parts of Nevada. Certainly those places can provide some idea of how it might be done.

At the last I still don't know if prostitution should be legal. This has been a very narrow analysis that focused on the easy parts of the question. To determine if it should be legal one has to tackle the difficult question of whether the problems related to prostitution—violence, extortion, drugs—are connected to the act or to the fact that the act is illegal. Further one would have to determine if the savings in public expense on enforcement would be eaten by the expense of regulation and dealing with the inevitable breakouts of the problems the regulations were meant to prevent. There would be problems, as with any other regulated system devised by humans, something always slip through the cracks.

I would guess, from a practical stand point, that there is no reason prostitution should be illegal. But I must admit, that it really is less a political and more a moral question. I believe there is a difference between the two. The moral debate doesn't particularly interest me, so I leave that to you.

---No matter where you go, there you are.

Next Time: “Sympathy for the Opposition”


Introducing...The Greatest Man Alive

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am not James Brown. I am a fellow who has been invited to present his opinion, and perhaps challenge you. Should I happen to provoke you, try to remember; it's all about opinions. Like an oft mentioned part of the anatomy, everyone has got one.

I am not a Republican, nor am I a Democrat. I've been labeled Libertarian, but judging by the reactions of Libertarians I'm not one of those either. I consider myself a conservative. Sometimes I feel as though I'm the only one left.

I'm for human rights, national defense, globalization, fiscal responsibility, equal opportunity, small government, global dominance, and clean energy. I believe politicians should be pimp slapped for every obfuscation they utter, and I was really hoping Frist would use the “nuclear/constitutional option”. Any fan of small government has got to like the idea of the Senate being forced to actually read through every law it considers.

I can honestly look at the above and still call myself a conservative. Change is inevitable. Those who work to prevent it, get left behind. Change for the sake of change is foolishness and the way to destruction (make your time).

I am many things, but most of all, I'm late. This was supposed to be up weeks ago.

---No matter where you go, there you are.

Next Time: “Selling is legal. F***ing is legal. Why isn't selling f***ing legal?”

Monday, May 23, 2005


This weeks Spectrum Perspective

Why is prostitution illegal in most of the country?

Should it be legal, and if so how should it be regulated?

Happy posting.


Immigration responces

First it's one of the new folks. MM said:

The question posed by CO introduces the subject by unintentionally (I hope) framing the issue, thereby inadvertently establishing the parameters for the discourse.

Yes i did frame the question specifically so that we could have this conversation. We'll probably do other specific facets of immigration in the coming weeks.

More MM:
Do we know there is a problem? By whose definition?

Yes, there is a problem. Immigration enforcement is so weak as to be non existent. Corporations that hire millions of illegals are at most given a slap on the wrist. Further you mentioned the Mexican issue, yes that is part of the problem and while Canada is an equally porus border i haven't seen a single report of the Canadian military crossing the border in pursuit of people, nor seen the Canadian government publish pamphletes on how to circument US law and enter illegally.
Still more:
I’ve reviewed the arguments on the site; most are the standard issues related to the idea of “foreigners” arriving into a “home” country; it is difficult to escape xenophobia, I suffer from it myself at times.

It's not xenophobia, its simply that i don't have nearly as much responsability to someone from Darfur, Mecca or Mexico City as i do to someone from Detroit, Atlanta or Boston. The people from the latter trio of cities are my countrymen and women. This is why when i donate to charities i start by giving my money to those that help Americans first. This is also why i would cheerfully adopt a Cambodian child, or a Russian one, but only after all the American children in need of homes are fitted with them. Plain and simple my neighbor be he ever so obnoxious is my fellow American, and i'll help him first because he is such. Someone who comes here legally will be helped if they need it, but for the most part unless they are a direct threat to me and mine the rest of the world will have to wait until America solves its internal problems in my opinion.

I could point out however, that the majority of the terrorists responsible for 9/11 were here legally and the Bush administration recently relaxed the visa standards for Saudis

Bush is an Idiot, this is well known.


The idea that America is home to the “huddled masses” should not be forgotten. I doubt any of the readers here would qualify as aboriginal

If you could find that phrase in any immigration law you're arguement would have a leg to stand on, as it happens i think i should be offering your arguement a wheel chair.


It is clear that completely closed borders are not an option, so we must find a way to address what we perceive are the problems.

I don't think anyone here is arguing that, i know i'm not. I simply want higher standards for who comes in and under what conditions they are allowed to stay. I also want fair even handed application of those standards.

On to J'Myle:

That is true, and it has been true since America first became appealing to the huddled masses in the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Poet's, the French, and other dillente's have shouted this for a long time. I'm happier with an older line "if you don't eat you don't work". This country was started by those with a work ethic, it has to keep that ethic alive in order to contine the extrodinary efforts we put into helping other nations. We can't do much about the idiots who refuse to work that are born here, we can and should exclude those who attempt to come here to suck on the public teat. This is not a large percentage of immigrants, but they are there and they should be gone.

If we did not saddle our children with a fourth-rate educational system, they wouldn't have to compete with Mexican immigrants for jobs at McDonalds while we run desperately short of nurses and computer technicians.

Amen and Halleluiah, at least three times. But improving our education system won't shore up the borders, or x-ray hulls, or deport the illegals we do catch.

But most importantly, we need to remember the promise of America. There is a children's book about my great-grandmother's arrival at Ellis Island which was read to me as a boy. I know, at least a little, what that seven-year-old girl felt when she saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time.

Someone who arrives legally, and is willing to at least attempt to become enough of an American to help their family suceed is a whole different kettle of fish from the immigrants who move here and continue two to three generations later to barely speak english and co-opt their children into living in the same thrid world psuedo-reality they supposedly came here to escape but seem to be working hard at recreating.

Some of us don't have such a book, and cannot remember who crossed the ocean or why. They have the luxury of thinking of themselves as “real Americans” and of seen the Latino aliens as, well, alien. For me, it's not that easy.

Your ancestors chose to come here, not everyones did. Choice is a big, big part of what we are talking about. And when it comes to illegals, and those who are trying to turn the nation into the next Somalia, Egypt, or Chekeslovakia, they can head elsewhere.