Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Not a lockstep Libertarian, not a lockstep Conservative...

This is why I must prefix Libertarian with Conservative when describing my political beliefs. I'm a bit of a mutt, I guess but, as with the Conservatives, I part with Libertarians on a few issues. This is one of them. I was reading a recent post at The Captain's Quarters in which Ed makes reference to an article by Cathy Young in Reason Magazine. In that article, Cathy asks what Ed labeled as "...the ultimate Libertarian question": "Why is prostitution illegal? Ed takes a pretty good stab at answering that question at "Heading Right" (a website devoted to conservative viewpoints that he hosts along with other big name heavy hitters in the blogosphere) but I'm more of a bunter/squeeze play/occasional base hitter than the "heavy hitter" so I shall stay here in my own back yard as I attempt the same.


Good question. Laws are based on what society, as a whole, believes to be right or wrong. They are generally not permissive of what is right, so much as prohibitive of what is wrong. There will always be those who disagree, but laws are usually representative of a general consensus of the majority's opinion.

Defining right from wrong, laws are rooted in the morals of the society they represent. Simple fact is, as long as the majority of Americans believe it to be wrong, prostitution shall remain illegal, and the majority of Americans are far from being swayed. Whether because of religious or moral convictions or because it is seen as self-victimization, the same is true of any other so called "victimless" crime such as drugs or suicide: Many Americans just couldn't stomach the law of our land saying that "it's OK" to abuse or victimize yourself.

Prostitutes and drug addicts are seen to be the bottom dwellers of society and often consume more than their fair share of the social services our federal, state and local governments provide. Their lifestyles spread disease and violence. They are usually involved in some, if not many other facets of illegal activity other than the prostitution and drugs (which often go hand in hand). Prostitutes are often the victims of violent attacks from "Johns" who are either unhappy with or just don't want to pay for their services or "Pimps" who aren't satisfied with the quantity of their services. They are, quite frankly, unsightly, much like litter and I don't want to see it. Neither do I want my two children to see it. I certainly don't want to see it so freely practiced and advertised as it would most certainly be were it actually legal.

I do not believe our government should be administered by theologians, and MY religion shouldn't restrict YOUR freedom but this nation must maintain some semblance of reason and order...some measurable level of morality. The line must be drawn somewhere. A balance must be struck. One may say that morality must be subservient to liberty. I personally don't believe that to be so. Just as a lynch mob is the true essence of democracy in action, so too is anarchy the ultimate practice of unfettered liberty. This nation was founded on a set of principles and those principles are steeped in the belief that there is a God and we are accountable to him.

How many prostitutes, if truly given a choice, would choose to remain a prostitute? How many would say that they are, in fact, a prisoner to their own lifestyle? How many women freely select prostitution as their chosen profession? The concept of "liberty before order" is patriotic and in keeping with the spirit of the founders of our nation...but the concept of "liberty in lieu of order" is national suicide. It does not have to be the driving force, but morality must always be present in the laws that govern this nation. Liberty must always be assessed a high value, but so must life. Most prostitutes would probably agree that prostitution is not a life at all.