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View Diary: What's wrong with prostitution? (262 comments)

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  •  But not everyone shares your morals . . . (3+ / 0-)
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    Subversive, sdgeek, lemming22

    . . . should they?  I think that the military life is inherently harmful.  Why is it legal?  You are making a social and cultural judgement based on a moralistic POV.  But not everyone shares that, and there is NO concensus that your view is inherently correct.

    •  I accept that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catleigh

      but I'm sharing my views.  At some point society in making laws decides what society feels is right or wrong.  Most laws have that as the basis - whether it's minimum wage laws, laws against child labor, even against theft or what-have-you.  We decide whose rights we're protecting, and which groups of society need additional protection (like children for instance).  There are "moral" choices behind most of these, if that's what you want to call it.  Where do we stop with saying so long as an individual thinks "x" is ok, it should be legal?  Surely there are things Mr. Smith may think is fine for him to do -- shooting endangered owls for instance -- that society decides is really not all that good for society as a whole.  No?

      (Sadly, in Kathmandu no longer.)

      by American in Kathmandu on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 09:41:20 AM PDT

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      •  That argument was used to justify segregation. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sdgeek, lemming22

        It isn't any better to justify keeping prostitution illegal.

        •  that's really an offensive retort (0+ / 0-)

          Under your reasoning then, we could legalize anything in the world because by not doing so, we're using the same argument as for partaking in bigotry.  No more traffic laws, no more health and safety laws, no more restrictions on hunting or fishing places or times or methods.  Nothing.  Because if we think there are places where public interest is served by making something illegal, we're arguing from the same ground as those who supported segregation.  

          (Sadly, in Kathmandu no longer.)

          by American in Kathmandu on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 09:57:30 AM PDT

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          •  Non Sequitur (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SicPlurisPoenaPrestantia

            Under your reasoning then, we could legalize anything in the world because by not doing so, we're using the same argument as for partaking in bigotry.

            No. We should legalize everything in the world that does not endanger third parties. Traffic laws, health and safety laws are about protecting OTHERS.

            Hunting and fishing regulations are about protecting the environment for other hunters and fishers.

            All of them are valid public interests.

            Prostitution laws are about preventing a behavior that only affects the two people involved in the transaction. There simply IS no public interest involved other than the "I don't like it" factor.

            (Note: of course, in certain places prostitution can be a nuisance. But that's true for any business, and can and should be addressed with zoning laws).

            Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

            by sdgeek on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 10:15:44 AM PDT

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            •  Actually ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lemming22

              prostitution DOES affect the very fabric of society.  And how we handle it does reflect our basic beliefs and who and what we want to protect.  That said, I think we should be careful about assuming that laws against prostitution are meant to protect the women.  Most laws regulating sex have, historically, had the underlying purpose of regulating one of two things: male access and control over females/sex, and inheritance of property.  Laws regarding marriage aren't really about "one man and one woman", they're about who inherits the property when that man or woman dies. That segues into the issue of "legitimate" versus "bastard/illegitimate" children.  And thus the matter of what constituted a legal marriage has always been about a patriarch's ability to control Legal Wives whose children could inherit estates, while prostitution has been about how men acquire sex when they don't need or want Legal Heirs.

              It's rather ridiculous given our current inheritance laws -- totally partible and discretionary inheritance at the will of the possessor, no entailed estates, no clan/familial communal properties, etc. -- for us to cling to laws about legitimate and illegitimate sex that are the offspring of two thousand years of marriage traditions designed to limit the inheritance of entailed estates to members of a controlled gene-pool.  Mawwiage no longer needs to concern us at all, now that women have legal recourse to the full range of economic equity rights, divorce is available without adversarial fault-finding, and common ownership and survivorship can be legally structured for any number of people through the use of corporate shells.  We've pretty much stopped having fits about people having sex without marriage, before marriage, or even during marriage if there's no complaint from the spouse.  So why do we go into legal tailspins over exchanging money for sex?  We buy and sell everything ELSE in this society, including life, blood, conscience, and babies.  Why should sex be so profane as to be rendered sacred?

              •  You have a point, partially (0+ / 0-)

                What you brought up certainly is an interesting perspective. And I agree with your conclusion. Many of our taboos are obsolete in an age where sex is largely separated from conception.

                Actually, laws regulating sex primarily have yet another purpose - related to the one you list: to ensure that paternity can be proven. It's about more than inheritance, though, and goes back far more than 2000 years; the desire for proof of paternity is most likely genetic. Nearly all societies have some way to do that, and even non-human primates do.

                The original reason for that proof of paternity was actually to protect the offspring - to ensure that there was a second person around to care for the child. Or in the case of polygamy, a whole family to care for the child.

                Knowing who the father is also helps prevent incest.

                Inheritance only follows that, it's not the cause of it. So does male access: in many societies, the only way to ensure paternity can be proven is to prevent access by all but one man. That is probably one of the reasons why polyandry is much rarer than polygynie.

                Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

                by sdgeek on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 02:22:48 PM PDT

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                •  Guarantees (0+ / 0-)

                  of paternity are obviously important ... to males.  But don't pretend that it's for the child's welfare.  It's because males depend on females for access to reproduction and therefore attempt to control that access in any way they can.  Being on average 10% larger, and size generally being the largest part of dominance in most species, they have historically gotten what they wanted: society controlled by men and controlling women to produce guaranteed paternity.  The benefit to the child is obvious whenever there is any child-related work to be done ... you will seldom find a male in sight.  The benefit is in forcing women to bear the majority of reproductive costs, a situation which is unfortunately written in the biology of mitochondrial DNA and the almighty Egg.

                  One of the great advantages of post-industrial technology is that it has rendered male's superior musculature less and less important both militarily and economically.  The electric screwdriver is the economic equivalent of the 45 revolver: it reduces the disparity caused by a 10% difference in muscle mass and allows women to compete with men on a more level playing field.  This newfound equality has of course led to ongoing social repercussions, but paradoxically culture, which through most of history has adapted to a changing environment faster than biology, is having trouble keeping up with the pace of physical changes brought by technological adaptations, and this is just one of them.  One change that I observe in rural, working-class America is a return to matrilineal family structure; with divorce a common reality, the "nuclear family" consists, as it does in most mammals, of a mother and her children.  This doesn't necessarily leave children less well-cared for, when three generations of adult women are typically alive and living within an hour's travel of each other.  It merely re-arranges the support structure to a reliance on Grandmother and Aunt for child care assistance instead of Husband for paycheck.

                  •  I doubt that... (0+ / 0-)

                    Not that it matters in this context, and I'll be happy to agree to disagree ;-)

                    But don't pretend that it's for the child's welfare.  It's because males depend on females for access to reproduction and therefore attempt to control that access in any way they can.

                    I don't think that's true - or at least, it's far too simplistic. First of all, "access to reproduction" applies to women just as much. I have yet to hear of a woman who was able to reproduce without men. I think you are trying to say that a woman has a heavier investment in reproduction than a man (9 months vs. a few minutes).

                    Biologically, in low-birth-rate species such as primates, reproduction is useless when the child does not fare well after birth.

                    Thus, a male primate (human or not) does have an interest in the child's well-being after birth.

                    Being able to identify his own offspring is important for a male because otherwise, he may end up being forced to care for somebody else's offspring, a "coockoo's baby".

                    Come to think about it: child's welfare and access to reproduction really are one and the same thing, looked at from two different angles.

                    The benefit to the child is obvious whenever there is any child-related work to be done ... you will seldom find a male in sight.

                    Even if I accept that statement as true for today, it would be a very recent phenomenon, brought on by women having careers of their own.

                    If you look at the pre-industrial society, you'll notice that men are just as much cast in specific roles as women - and the primary role of everybody in the family was always to create the next generation. The mail role was invariably that of provider, the one who brings in the food. The woman may care for the child by changing diapers, and keeping the house clean, but don't claim that the man's dragging in the food and building the house has nothing to do with child rearing.

                    Almost always, the man would not choose his station in life any more than the woman would. Just as a woman, he would be expected to take up whatever profession his father had.

                    In any case, I find it interesting that despite the different starting point, we arrived at the same conclusion!

                    Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

                    by sdgeek on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 05:19:59 PM PDT

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          •  I don't see how making it illegal serves (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lemming22

            the interest of society.  Under the current system, the working conditions are abysmal.  Drugs, disease, all of that.  By claiming some vague moral right for "society" to impose a restriction 'just 'cause,' implies that ANY  unjust regulation is OK 'just 'cause'.

      •  Good societies . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SicPlurisPoenaPrestantia

        make laws based on rational principles.  Federal law, for example, isn't (or shouldn't be) just what we feel is right, it arises out of an interpretation of the constitution.

        Once law is merely what we feel is right, then we have given into the rule of the mob.

        (not organized criminals, the kind of mob that causes riots.)

        The only rule of freedom is not to destroy freedom.

        by fuzzywolf on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 10:03:18 AM PDT

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