Hooked On Hookers

Now that I’ve stood on my high horse about Spitzer’s position, let me throw in a curveball. Why exactly is prostitution illegal in the first place? Seriously.

The big news this afternoon has been the New York Times story about New York’s governor, Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer has been linked to a prostitution ring.

I feel awful for Spitzer’s family. How does one reconcile with a spouse or child after this betrayal of trust? How do you re-establish trust?

Maybe you can’t.

Now that I’ve stood on my high horse about Spitzer’s position, let me throw in a curveball. Why exactly is prostitution illegal in the first place? Seriously.

I understand the act of prostitution in and of itself offends the sense of morality in many people, but do we legislate morality? Should we?

There are certainly serious questions raised about women forced into prostitution. It’s a horrendous and repugnant situation. However, wouldn’t we be better able to police and control that if prostitution was brought out of the shadows? The same goes for questions of disease.

We permit prostitution in much of Nevada (though not Clark County/Las Vegas). It’s also legal and controlled in the Netherlands. I’m not sure what the effects have been, but I suspect the answer is not much. Prostitution will exist with or without the sanction of government.

I suspect some of you will leave a comment and disagree with my opinion. It’s even possible one of you will comment and change my opinion. I’m not afraid to flip-flop on this if I find I’ve missed some crucial fact.

With all that’s wrong in the world, do we really have enough time and resources to go after prostitutes and their tricks?

6 thoughts on “Hooked On Hookers”

  1. I’m not saying it’s for me. I just don’t think I have, or anyone should have, a right to say it’s not for him (or you).

  2. It’s illegal because they haven’t figured out how to tax it or control it. What would stop your neighbor from setting up shop? How would they control that?

  3. In fact, there’s less incentive to keep a ‘house’ in an area not zoned for it, if prostitution in legalized.

    If you’re going to be busted for illegal prostitution, an additional zoning code violation isn’t a big deal.

    If a zoning violation could stop your business entirely, that’s different.

  4. The most repulsive thing about Eliot Spitzer’s confessional speech yesterday (which the NY Times quite properly called “arrogant”) was his having his wife stand next to him.

    If you’re going to fess up to being a whore-buyer, at least do it like a man, on your own. Why is it that none of the politicians who have been caught in sex scandals have any balls?

    As to your question about why prostitution is illegal — it undermines the family, it endangers the well-being of children, and is linked (as it apparently is in this case — and as Spitzer has said many times) to other kinds of crimes, such as drugs and money laundering.

    All of these, I think, are good enough reasons.

    Most importantly, sex is something that our society has refused to sanction as a commodity.

    Even in our ultra-capitalist culture, there are still some things that can not be bought and sold despite there being a market for them — children and human organs, for example.

    Some would argue that everything ought to be legally available for its market price. I believe that prohibiting the commodification certain things and activities, including sexual activities, preserves respect for human dignity.

    I have also heard some argue (Alan Dershowitz, for one) that Spitzer should not resign because his prostitution addiction is a private matter. I disagree. Governors (and other public officials) are more than CEOs. They should also be able to embody the ethical and moral values of the community they represent.

    Aren’t we all sick of our political leaders being the kind of people we wouldn’t want our children to emulate?

    Or even be around?

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