Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Prostitution and the Right to Self

With the possible exception of our call for legalization of drugs, nothing seems to alienate conservatives more than the libertarian idea that prostitution should be legal. After all, what conceivable reason could it be illegal to pay for something that it is legal to give away, namely sexual services.

The recent "Washington Madame" has Cathy Young asking the question, "Why is it still illegal to pay for sex?"

Even those who feel a certain schadenfreude at Tobias's downfall should be asking the question: should there have been a criminal case in the first place?

Prostitution is currently legal in virtually all developed nations, though often surrounded by restrictions and regulations. It is illegal everywhere in the United States except Nevada and, by a legal quirk, in Rhode Island if all transactions are conducted in a private residence.

The answer, I believe, is pretty obvious. People still find it acceptable to legislate their religious values. There can simply be no other reason for it than the fact that a certain segment of our population finds sex outside of marriage to be morally unacceptable. They can't get away with outright outlawing it, but they can at least keep people from paying for it, at least to an extent.

You see, having money for sex is only illegal if the only two people that benefit from the transaction are the two directly involved. Man A cannot pay Woman A for sexual services. However, Man B can pay both Man A and Woman A to have sex so that Man A can later sell the pictures or movie of the sexual services to the public. I guess that is OK since it fits into the collective ideologies of both the left and right, in that greater society gains benefit from it as well. That seems a bit odd to me, but such is our current system.

I am interested in hearing any arguments against the legalization of prostitution that you guys may have. Post them in the comments and I will then try to give the reason why it is an invalid argument.

Update: An anonymous commenter points to this site:
It seems to cover most of the arguments both for and against, though I haven't had a chance to thoroughly review it yet.


invadesoda said...

I'm not sure where I stand on this, but I'll make an argument anyway to give you some fodder.

Prostitution is not the only case in which "illegal to pay for something that it is legal to give away". It is illegal to pay for a verdict or a piece of legislation, and those things are illegal because they corrupt judgment

Anonymous said...

Take a look at for every argument you'll need

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Bible makes no distinction between a sleeping around and sex for hire. Both are "playing the harlot." On this matter the conservatives are just plain wrong. Either make fornication in general illegal or legalize prostitution.

Under Old Testament law, playing the harlot was illegal (and a death penalty offense) under the following circumstances:
1. Girl still living at home.
2. Daughter of a priest.
3. Married woman.

Otherwise, it was legal, albeit deprecated. Solomon's first act upon receiving supernatural wisdom was to adjudicate a dispute between two harlots.

Under the New Testament, Christians are forbidden to play the harlot period. They are also not to divorce. That said, Christians have no mandate to impose such standards on non-Christians. They are merely to shun Christians who have done these things.

See "The Law of Liberty" at for the citations.