A foray into talking about prostitution
#1
I was on r/art, a subreddit on Reddit, and saw this conversation going on on a piece called "Two prostitutes." It was a well drawn picture of two girls who were sitting on chairs, waiting for something. One poster commented on the sad look on their faces. Another said that the saddest part was that prostitution was "illegal" and that they had no rights. The discussion went as follows:

[Image: 6dQhhuK.jpg]

What's interesting here isn't so much the arguments for the legalization of prostitution, but the tactics used to persuade X party to think X activity should be legalized and the reaction towards dissenters.

Step 1: Appeal to "equal protection" and "rights."
Step 2: Inject quickly that there is a demand for it (aided with horrible math and economics)
Step 3: Remind X party that Y party are "humans too" and no lesser of a human than you and me.

Another aspect that's interesting is appealing to a neutral, if not amoral, viewpoint that X activity is neither good nor bad. In this case, it's neither dignified nor "undignified." And if you think it's undignified then you need to produce sources saying it's so. Note the use of scare quotes around "illegal" and "undignified" to say that it being illegal is silly/stupid and that the view of it being "undignified" is just a societal construct.

The last aspect is the ad homs. "Whatever they taught you in school and in church was fucking stupid," with the assumption that the poster who is the dissenter is just following whatever school and church has taught him. When asked for some clarification the poster is called ignorant (by the same poster who insulted the assumed background).

EDIT: Now there's a discussion on morals & morality within the subreddit thread. I suggest to check it out to see where the rabbit hole leads. https://www.reddit.com/r/Art/comments/8y...8/e29x3rb/
Unfortunately I don't have any "fun facts" about me unless being a practicing Catholic counts.

Trying to get better every day week.
Reply
#2
Well, I guess if you're a complete secularist and if you have no moral compass other than what is acceptable in the society that you live in (if that) and said society is completely OK with fornication along with paying for pornography or strippers, then why not allow, regulate, and tax the crap out of prostitution? It's a logical step based on how our society behaves.

The argument is simple too. Better regulation, more frequent STD testing, possibly better working conditions (working for an establishment rather than a random pimp in the hood). There aren't a lot of good arguments against it besides appealing to traditional or religious morality when your society is a bunch a rabid animals when it comes to sex. It makes a lot more sense to make it illegal when people don't believe in having sex before marriage, containing sex to marriage, disallowing pornography and other forms of smut. However, in 2018 America? Good luck.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.

“It is my design to die in the brew house; let ale be placed in my mouth when I am expiring, that when the choirs of angels come, they may say, “Be God propitious to this drinker.” – St. Columbanus, A.D. 612

[Image: 2lq3.png]
[-] The following 1 user Likes GangGreen's post:
  • Some Guy
Reply
#3
Prostitution and porn should both be illegal. I know St Thomas Aquinas doesn’t think a War on Brothels would be productive, but I suppose I’ll have to disagree. Pimps, prostitutes, and customers should all be held legally accountable in some fashion. A website should be shut down if it hosts porn and adult theatres and strip clubs shouldn’t be legal. Crack down on all of it.

I use to be way more libertarian about all of this. But I am not very sympathetic to those views anymore. Laws dramatically influence the morality of a culture.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Some Guy's post:
  • HailGilbert
Reply
#4
(07-12-2018, 04:03 PM)Some Guy Wrote: Prostitution and porn should both be illegal. I know St Thomas Aquinas doesn’t think a War on Brothels would be productive, but I suppose I’ll have to disagree. Pimps, prostitutes, and customers should all be held legally accountable in some fashion. A website should be shut down if it hosts porn and adult theatres and strip clubs shouldn’t be legal. Crack down on all of it.

I use to be way more libertarian about all of this. But I am not very sympathetic to those views anymore. Laws dramatically influence the morality of a culture.

Sadly it's a losing battle right now. Even so-called conservatives are frequent porn users. I'm not talking about guys who are stuck in the habit and are having a hard time kicking it because it's everywhere. I'm talking about people who are perfectly fine with pornography and are a-ok with rubbing one out every day or few days to some porn. Without changing the culture at large when it comes to sex, banning pornography would be nearly impossible. Quite honestly, any time any such legislation is even considered it's usually immediately shot down. For any legislator it would be career suicide to even try. Porn is a public health epidemic, no one wants to acknowledge it especially since it's such a huge and powerful industry that probably provides tons of tax money. 

If back in the height of Christendom brothels were an issue and if a great Saint didn't think it was worth the battle, imagine today. Not that I believe the fairy tales that people like to make up that every average Joe back in the Middle Ages was so holy and everyone was so by the book Catholic, but it had to at least be somewhat better from an overall societal standpoint. The only way we walk back the sexual revolution is to change the hearts and minds of men and to point them to Christ.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.

“It is my design to die in the brew house; let ale be placed in my mouth when I am expiring, that when the choirs of angels come, they may say, “Be God propitious to this drinker.” – St. Columbanus, A.D. 612

[Image: 2lq3.png]
Reply
#5
(07-12-2018, 04:02 PM)GangGreen Wrote: The argument is simple too. Better regulation, more frequent STD testing, possibly better working conditions (working for an establishment rather than a random pimp in the hood). There aren't a lot of good arguments against it besides appealing to traditional or religious morality when your society is a bunch a rabid animals when it comes to sex. It makes a lot more sense to make it illegal when people don't believe in having sex before marriage, containing sex to marriage, disallowing pornography and other forms of smut. However, in 2018 America? Good luck.

This the usual argument for legalizing it that I've run across.

About culture, I skimmed an opinion piece saying that it's exactly like legalizing same-sex "marriage" and marijuana. Make it morally acceptable (I have X friends who are gay; X celebrity smokes MJ therefore it's cool) and the push to legalize it will soar.
Unfortunately I don't have any "fun facts" about me unless being a practicing Catholic counts.

Trying to get better every day week.
Reply
#6
There's not much of an argument in the excerpted picture.

Step One:

(1) question begging and (2) confusing legality with morality

The posters at Reddit exist in different "moral universes," so to speak, but one of them likely hasn't a clue about the other. Slogans of "equal rights" lack substance. People don't have an equal right to do anything whatsoever in a categorical, undiscriminating sense. Those rights are rather constrained by, or dictated by, some general principles. (Does person X have a right to punch random person Y? Clearly not. Rights don't entail "anything goes.")

Most likely the general principles, insofar as the posters thought about them, are different. Hence, merely saying that there's a right to do X is question begging, i.e., assuming what's under dispute. That's the most deadly of the informal fallacies.

Yet even if there was agreement on general principles---say with classical liberalism---, the pro-prostitution person's view wouldn't automatically follow. Something can be, or should be, legal but still nonetheless be immoral or an "illegitimate career path." (Aquinas for example wouldn't say prostitution should always and everywhere be illegal; this is despite it being immoral.)

Hence there appears to be a confusion between legality and morality. For example, porn is factually legal, surely, but that says nothing about its morality (or if that legality is actually mistaken). Lying is legal but immoral. Legality and morality are not identical.

Step Two:

There's (1) an argumentum ad populum and (2) a confusion between fact and value (or positive and normative statements).

Someone claims, "You'd be hard pressed to find people" thinking porn is bad. An increasing majority might think this, but popular opinion doesn't dictate what's actually true, false, moral, or immoral. Since majority opinion on ethics has changed in time, does ethics change in time too? No.

To claim there is a demand for prostitution confuses a fact with what ought to be. There is a demand for bad things, and that's not an erroneous point or something to just dismiss, but the question is whether that demand is good or bad.

Partly this is a prudential question. For example, is the war on narcotics a good thing? Probably not, especially how it's playing out today. I don't think a "conservative" should dismiss "libertarian" arguments of this sort without serious thought on the details. If the demand for X is super high, government making it illegal is probably not going to stop the production and consumption of X. That's why I would not too easily dismiss arguments about the negatives that come with having black markets. But the devil is in the details.

Step Three:

There's (1) a relativistic non sequitur and (2) argumentum ad misericordiam? (appeal to pity?)

Left-liberals tend to push emotions at the expense of clear reasoning on issues. Arguing that job X is bad doesn't logically entail that the person doing X is "less human." It just doesn't follow. Indeed, the argument is about action X, not the human being per se. It doesn't deny human dignity or whatever. To hint that all actions are equally right, moreover, is morally relativistic. Egalitarianism and relativism may be connected here: all things are equal, all things are relatively equal.

(07-12-2018, 03:47 PM)GRA Wrote: The last aspect is the ad homs. "Whatever they taught you in school and in church was fucking stupid," with the assumption that the poster who is the dissenter is just following whatever school and church has taught him. When asked for some clarification the poster is called ignorant (by the same poster who insulted the assumed background).

I understand why you think there's an ad hominem, GRA, but it's possible to interpret it as just as a (stupid) abusive attack. The ad hominem would argue: "you're Christian and thus wrong or you went to Christian school and thus wrong."

Saying instead: "Whatever they taught you. . ." directs their attack at the ideas taught. Maybe it would be better to technically say, in informal logic, the person is "poisoning the well," since they are trying to create negative associations to dismiss the anti-prostitution position.

But I haven’t read the entire topic thread at Reddit to be sure. So I may be mistaken.
[-] The following 1 user Likes OldRightGeorge's post:
  • GRA
Reply
#7
@ George: Thanks for the reply.

There's a link in the OP where a discussion on morals and morality was created. Take a look if you have the time.
Unfortunately I don't have any "fun facts" about me unless being a practicing Catholic counts.

Trying to get better every day week.
Reply
#8
(07-12-2018, 04:03 PM)Some Guy Wrote: Prostitution and porn should both be illegal. I know St Thomas Aquinas doesn’t think a War on Brothels would be productive, but I suppose I’ll have to disagree. Pimps, prostitutes, and customers should all be held legally accountable in some fashion. A website should be shut down if it hosts porn and adult theatres and strip clubs shouldn’t be legal. Crack down on all of it.

I use to be way more libertarian about all of this. But I am not very sympathetic to those views anymore. Laws dramatically influence the morality of a culture.

The morality of the culture is usually what changes the laws, not the other way around. Human beings have acted worse than animals when it comes to sex since Biblical times. Need we be reminded that have 800 wives for the kings was no big deal? Need we remember that David knocked off Uriah so he could steal the wife? You'd think a guy with so many wives could pass on one instead of make a pass. Clearly those 800 women didn't seem to have a problem tapping the "royal scepter" either. Or should we remember how the Anglican Church came to be (over a divorce issue)? Laws do nothing more than reflect the status of man where he is at spiritually. They are the last thing to change.
Local anti-feminist.....if you think women deserve special treatment without any accountability for their actions expect to hear from me!
[-] The following 1 user Likes divinesilence80's post:
  • jovan66102
Reply
#9
I think it's actually a two way street. It's true that in some cases the law finally conforms to the culture. On the other hand, if abortion had been put to a nationwide referendum on 22 January 1973, it would have been rejected decisively. Now?
Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

Vive le Christ-roi! Vive le roi, Louis XX!
Deum timete, regem honorificate.
Kansan by birth! Albertan by choice! Jayhawk by the Grace of God!
  “Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. (Who loves me will love my dog also.)” 
St Bernard of Clairvaux

My Blog 'Musings of an Old Curmudgeon'


[-] The following 1 user Likes jovan66102's post:
  • Some Guy
Reply
#10
(07-13-2018, 02:08 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: I think it's actually a two way street. It's true that in some cases the law finally conforms to the culture. On the other hand, if abortion had been put to a nationwide referendum on 22 January 1973, it would have been rejected decisively. Now?

I think it largely depends on 1) who turns up for the vote; and 2) do people say one thing in a survey but another at the poll. Remember, Donald Trump was supposed to loose this election by a landslide. I think the reason he won is because many folks deep down agreed with him but feared the retribution for making that support public even in anonymous surveys. The same may have been true in the 70s. We will never know for sure.
Local anti-feminist.....if you think women deserve special treatment without any accountability for their actions expect to hear from me!
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)