Prime Example Of Consent Fallacy: Legalizing Prostitution

NYT: Could Prostitution Be Next to Be Decriminalized?

Marijuana has gone mainstream, casino gambling is everywhere and sports wagering is spreading. Could prostitution be next?

Lawmakers across the country are beginning to reconsider how to handle prostitution, as calls for decriminalization are slowly gaining momentum…

“This is about the oldest profession, and understanding that we haven’t been able to deter or end it, in millennia,” said Senator Jessica Ramos, a Democrat from Queens who is one of the plan’s backers. “So I think it’s time to confront reality.”

Murder is our oldest crime, and understanding that we haven’t been able to deter or end it, in millennia. So I think it’s time to confront reality. It should be legalized.

Insert any crime or loathsome illegal behavior for hours of Fun with Fallacies.

It should be obvious that an activity’s perennial existence is not a reason to decriminalize it. Something like the opposite is more true: almost all crimes are crimes in part because the activity exists with sufficient depressing frequency. (Some crimes prohibit activity which has not yet occurred, like e.g. human cloning.)

It is also a fallacy, and quite foolish, to say that because we cannot eliminate an act, therefore the act should not be a crime.

Making acts into crimes does reduce the number of those acts, as long as the threat of punishment is believed real. Thus, the harshest penalty should produce the most consequential reductions. If punishments are not enforced, the criminal acts increase (not without limit, of course). Not only do the acts themselves increase in frequency, so do associated acts.

The debate is unquestionably polarizing in many circles, even among advocates for sex-trafficked and abused women who fear that creating a legal path for prostitution will not eliminate, but rather actually encourage, underground sex trafficking.

This is certain to happen. If you think not, I would be pleased to take a monetary bet with you. What will increase in particular will be underage sex trafficking. Naturally, there will also arise a concomitant push for lowering the age of “consent”, and a lessening of punishments for breaching these ages.

Now some localities have legalized prostitution for quite some time. Prostitution is debasing. Therefore, associated debased acts of the body should increase where prostitution is legal. This is seen. LGBTQWERTYism, which are acts as debased as you can get, is seen in a good light proportionally in these localities. Indeed, we should see a debasing of the entire human person. Thus the longer prostitution is legal in a place, the more that place will see abortion and euthanasia and the taking of corrosive drugs as good or “harmless.” Man is his own god and sets his own limits.

“When you’re talking about consenting adults, I think that yes, we should really consider that we can’t criminalize consensual behavior as long no one is being harmed,” said [Senator Kamala] Harris, in an interview with The Root.

There is first the Consent Fallacy, which says that because two (or more) agree in an act, that act is therefore moral or good. Click the link for a number of acts, each drawn from recent history, which are debased but which are justified by “consent.” If you allow consent to be the demarcation, then just about anything will be allowed.

The point about “being harmed” is also a fallacy. Prostitution causes harm to both (or all) parties engaging in it, even where there is consent, even where the act is legal. Any act that violates natural law is harmful to the person, either physically or spiritually. The harm us to the persons themselves, and then later, to a greater or lesser extent, to others these persons interact with. No man is an island is a cliché for good reason.

“We’ve learned this lesson many times with the prohibition of alcohol, or criminalization of abortion, or even the criminalization of marijuana: The black market creates dark circumstances and provides cover for a lot of violence and exploitation,” said Kaytlin Bailey, a comedian and former prostitute who serves as the spokeswoman for Decriminalize Sex Work, which was founded last year.

Criminalizing alcohol was absurd because drinking alcohol does not violate natural law. It is an anti-crime. Criminalizing prostitution does by definition drive that activity “underground”, but decriminalizing it does not mean that exploitation will not take place. Imagine woke corporations being in charge of it.

Besides, arguments like this are like those who claim “back-alley” abortions will occur if abortion is criminalized. This is like a psychopath complaining he’ll have to resort to killing his victims in the dark if murder is criminalized.

18 Thoughts

  1. “Imagine woke corporations being in charge of it.” We already know what happens when the government runs brothels—see “Mustang Ranch” in Nevada.

    Actually, the reasons prostitution should be legalized are 1. testing for diseases is more likely as the business will be regulated more than likely, including street hookers and 2. to be consitent with the Left’s assertion of “my body, my choice” for women (men don’t own their bodies, of course, women and the government do that. So, to cut down on disease and to be consistent, it must be legalized.

    If we legalize it, we can tax it, therefore, it is good, right?

    Denver decrimilized psilocybin mushrooms, so how much worse can we get? (i’m sure we’ll find some way, yes……)

  2. In Holland, prostitution is legal, and lots of the prostitutes are here illegally, by underground human trafficking. The situation is bad enough that the city of Amsterdam is now actively trying to close down the Red Light District.

    Regarding corporate involvement, banks are not happy having hookers as clients. It is too big a risk to their reputation.

    Regarding the consent fallacy, if consenting adults have free will, then they should be allowed to exercise it as long as any harm is only done to the participating consenting adults. After all, God does not make it impossible for people to sin, so why should anybody else do so?

  3. Sander: And we must use your definition of harm, of course, so you can rule the planet and morality.

  4. I dunno. The Wild West had a lot of prostitution. Apparently it wasn’t illegal. Look how western states turned out. Being a prostitute was probably a pretty gritty life for most of them but then if it was any fun if wouldn’t be called work — ask any coal miner.

    What exactly is the harm again? If it’s against “natural law” — whatever that is — why is it so prevalent?

  5. “Criminalizing alcohol was absurd because drinking alcohol does not violate natural law.”

    Alcohol doesn’t violate “natural law” yet has caused more harm to society than any other drug. It is a major cause of road deaths and injuries, crime in general, domestic violence, violent crime in particular (is violence against natural law?), and serious, even life-threatening medical problems.

    It’s quite obvious that alcohol has done more harm than prostitution.

    “Besides, arguments like this are like those who claim “back-alley” abortions will occur if abortion is criminalized. This is like a psychopath complaining he’ll have to resort to killing his victims in the dark if murder is criminalized.”

    No, it isn’t anything like that at all.

  6. I once commented that God doesn’t care about money — if you fornicate, you are sinning, whether or not pictures of dead presidents are exchanged afterwards. Someone replied with a link to Ezekiel 23, which implies that women who whore around for free are even worse than those who do it for money.

    Prostitution was legal in the USA until women were given the right to vote, and has been illegal ever since. Nothing else that women voted for — Prohibition, the welfare state, no-fault divorce, gun control, mass immigration — has done us any good, so I’m inclined to think that prostitution should be legal.

    Government should end its present jihad against the male orgasm, and instead bolster male authority over wives and unmarried daughters. That would be vastly more effective at keeping females out of the clutches of “sex traffickers”.

    Personally, I can’t enjoy prostitutes even where it’s legal, because dumping semen into a woman who will never bear my children just feels unnatural, and I’m paranoid about disease.

  7. “There is first the Consent Fallacy, which says that because two (or more) agree in an act, that act is therefore moral or good.”

    Your “consent fallacy” is a strawman. It isn’t that consent makes an act morally acceptable, it’s that lack of consent makes it morally unnaceptable.

  8. Speaking of consent, the site just underwent a redo without much visitor consent but the new look is more readable.

  9. “Your “consent fallacy” is a strawman. It isn’t that consent makes an act morally acceptable, it’s that lack of consent makes it morally unnaceptable.”

    Well, it’s both. In some cases, consent is required to make an act morally acceptable, and therefore lack of it renders it immoral (e.g., sex between spouses requires consent to be moral). In others, consent does not render the act moral (e.g., consent does not render fornication moral).

  10. If I am remembering my history correctly, vices were just that; things that were evil. Crimes were a subset of those. Until the early part of the 20th Century (AD), “drugs” all were legal. That is right, Coca-cola contained coca leaf extract. It was about 40 or 50 years later that the ‘cocaine’ part was removed from that extract chemically. The thing with “drugs” that harms is intoxication, so dose and route of administration matter (and don’t forget that within group variation is going to be greater than between group variation almost always). We had ‘drunk and disorderly’ misdemeanor crimes for those. NB, not *felony*; so they dealt with the minor harms associated with intoxication. NB that where “Mothers Against Drunk Driving” was most effective was in focusing on “Drunk Driving”, and that spilled over to any impairment such as out of control diabetes, overdoses of antihistamines and even falling asleep at the wheel or texting while driving.
    About prostitution, well, that harm comes from degradation of ‘marriage’ and from spreading disease; so still should be a vice controlled by shame. Felony laws against murder don’t stop murder; they just prescribe the consequences of the act. Murder is an order or two worse than prostitution; so having murder be a felony and prostitution not be a felony does make sense, given that premise.

  11. @ c matt,

    “consent does not render fornication moral”

    The point I’m making is that no one is saying it does. (Not that sex outside of marriage is immoral anyway.)

  12. Alcohol doesn’t violate “natural law” yet has caused more harm to society than any other drug.

    Then perhaps “natural law” and “harm to society” are different concepts. After all, gravity also causes harm. People trip and fall all the time. Food shipments to Poor Starving People weigh more nd therefore consume more fuel in transport. The list goes on.

    It might be argued, though, that this is no better than rank instrumentalism: blaiming the instrument for the deeds of the agent. The harm attributed to alcohol, for example, might be more plausibly assigned to the drunk.

    Not that sex outside of marriage is immoral anyway.

    So it’s okay when a guy seduces a girl and then abandons her? Or denies that he had promised to care for her and any offspring they may have created? Does anyone remember the reasons why there is group-recognized marriage in the first place? (Or that marriage, pure and simple, just is having sexual relations — once called “the marital act”?)

  13. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “Then perhaps “natural law” and “harm to society” are different concepts.”

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they are, although if Catholic NL doesn’t take harm to society into account, it’s even more useless than I originally thought.

    “So it’s okay when a guy seduces a girl and then abandons her?”

    It could quite likely be better than him feeling obligated to marry her, resulting in decades of misery for both of them, which is the sort of thing which used to happen when the Church had a monopoly on morality. Good to hear from you, BTW.

  14. if Catholic NL doesn’t take harm to society into account…

    It’s not law in the sense that an ordnance is law, but law in the sense that Newton’s equations are laws.

    better than him feeling obligated to marry her, resulting in decades of misery for both of them

    By copulating with her, he did marry her. Marriage just is the conjugal act. Under ancient Germanic tribal law, “The act makes the marriage.” The Romans/ dictum was “Consent makes the marriage”? Why don’t the pagans get a say?

  15. Dem cute-as-? Robotic Honey’s offer a diaphragm-shift (pun intended) to this moral dilemma. First, on an individual basis, a full 50% of the Total Human Harm Index is completely eliminated (unless you count possible lawsuits for, e.g., felonious fellatio). Then, quirky free-market forces being what they are, the participation of sometimes nasty and HIV infested human sex workers will dwindle into nothingness, creating a monolithic & very efficient armada of androids, servicing the sexual (& emotional) needs of both males and females. Morality aficionados will note the associated Mortal Sin downgrades from fornication to masturbation, probably enough to keep one out of hell, given current Church trends. Anyway, the net effect is that, given ‘better living through technology’ the (human) prostitution legalization issue has become moot.

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