I’ve decided to take a break from bashing politicians and expounding on the idiocy of their followers in lieu of something that will probably make me even more unpopular. Everyone ready your stones to throw, for I am about to make an argument for the legalization of prostitution.
Prostitution, like drug use, is by and large a victimless crime.
Nevertheless, people from all walks of life view it with varying degrees of disgust.
Health issues aside, the two main objections to prostitution seem to be rooted in the belief that it is an affront to traditional values and the belief that it is exploitative of women.
If this is the best the naysayers can muster, they simply aren’t trying hard enough. Prostitution dates back to biblical times and was by no means only an indulgence of the wicked.
Next to his wisdom and his riches, King Solomon was perhaps best known for his number of mistresses. His father before him, King David, kept concubines and a harlot was instrumental in helping Joshua and the Hebrews take the city of Jericho.
While coerced prostitution remains a grievous human rights quagmire in many parts of the world, prostitution that is freely engaged in does not exploit women.
How can exploitation occur if women set the terms of and absorb the profit from their labor?
Furthermore, wouldn’t the legalization of prostitution be in accordance with the idea that a woman’s body is her province and not the government’s? And yet, a number of feminists are stridently (and rather hypocritically) opposed to the idea.
That being said, even those who don’t find prostitution objectionable may not instantly recognize its benefits.
It goes without saying that the decriminalization of prostitution will reduce the crime rate, but there are also tangential economic gains to be enjoyed as well. Not having to process prostitution cases will save the criminal justice system (and, indirectly, the taxpayers) money in court expenses. The overburdened lower courts will be allowed to better function and devote more resources to cases involving other crimes.
Allowing prostitutes to ply their trade legally also reduces the likelihood they will affiliate themselves with pimps and other members of the criminal underworld and engage in other illegal activities.
By adding prostitution to the list of professions one may legally join, unemployment can be expected to drop.
Additionally, legalized prostitution may translate to economic empowerment. Someone with a minimal set of skills who works a low-paying job can expect to be stuck there indefinitely. Comparatively, because prostitution often pays better, it can be a means for people to elevate themselves out of poverty without relying on government handouts and assistance programs.
Attempts to instinctively dismiss prostitution as “illegitimate” are moot when you consider some of the “legitimate” occupations in which people are engaged. Is being a prostitute really more demeaning than shoveling road kill or cleaning bathrooms for a living?
Besides, we’ve been selling the allure of sexuality in the form of pornography, stripteases and certain fashion magazines for so long that selling the actual thing seems like a natural progression.
As paradoxical as it seems, prostitution might also be the means to save the American family. While monogamous fidelity remains the ideal, married couples nowadays seem to lead increasingly complex and distant lives. The divorce rate is far higher than it was 50 years ago and the overall level of marital satisfaction is much lower.
People seeking an escape or a change of pace often run blindly into the arms of another, oblivious to what damage their selfish pursuits may wreak upon the spouse or family.
That said, which of the following is worse: a man who vents physically by seeing a sexual professional and still remains committed to the family or a man who, in the context of seeking a physical release, develops a deep relationship with another woman and walks out on his wife?
Lastly, some would contend that our culture is already over-saturated with sexuality and the legalization of prostitution will make things worse.
While I agree on the first point, I see prostitution as having the inverse effect.
By granting sexuality its own legitimate market, I believe (or at least I hope) it will release its stranglehold on other elements of society.
In other words, Britney Spears clones will be able to drop the pretense and simply sell sex while leaving the music industry to the real musicians.
Granted, legalized prostitution is far from being a panacea for all that ills us. It may or may not carry with it a whole new set of problems that are infinitely worse than the ones we have now.
However, we will never know until we find out. And the first step toward finding out is to open the issue up to serious discussion. So put down your stones and send home all the horny frat boys and let’s make this an issue.