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← Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

daftness's Avatar Jump to comment 145 by daftness

Comment #463004 by Bonzai

Actually I listened to a local advocate for sex workers and she was exactly against 'legalize and control'. She said that prostitution should be decriminalized, sex workers themselves should take control of their own trade like other business.

Bonzai, I would prefer in hindsight to have used the word ‘regulate’ rather than ‘control’: but how are the ‘local advocate for sex workers’ ideals opposite to mine? All business is subject to regulation and that is as it should be. A sex industry not subject to regulation would be open to the same exploitation from which it already suffers.

Business, all business, entails regulation. Try starting one if you doubt it.

You then take me to task for my ‘inappropriately’ comparing sex with taking drugs because taking drugs is, in your opinion, ‘bad’. In fact I was comparing two commodities that are desirable to many people and which as a direct result of their criminalization makes them infinitely more dangerous for those who participate in them. That is a fact unless you have some other information to which the rest of us are not privy.

Now, having said that, by what standard do you get decide on my behalf what is bad and what is good? What if I like drugs but, because you decide that they are bad, I have to get my drugs contaminated with anything the criminal, who is now my only supplier, wishes to put in them. That is the result of these decisions to ban things for puritanical reasons. In fact here is one right here and happening:

Heroin is simply diamorphine and taken in controlled amounts has no long term deleterious effect on the human body. You may get addicted to it but you can live a normal, functioning and long life. And before criminalization, many people did. At the moment you get the added constituent Anthrax at no extra cost but your life. We are consigning people who take drugs to horrible lives and often horrible deaths. And for what reason? It is one of the greatest scandals of our times. Sam Harris expands on this in “The End of Faith”.

Adults should get to decide for themselves how they live, even if it kills them. All society needs to do is to Inform Educate and Regulate. It is no business of society if I am stupid enough to cause myself harm (see alcohol, nicotine, fast food, laziness, obesity, cycling, climbing or any number of things I could fill pages with). Should I be deemed a criminal for any of these activities? No, of course not: just the ones Bonzai finds distasteful.

It is a knee jerk reaction that has been instilled in people because of the continuing misinformation put about by successive governments, police forces and the press. As ACG points out, drugs have only been illegal for less than 100 years. I don’t remember reading too much about the end of civilization previous to that.

Apologies, Bonzai, if I have personalized this a bit too much. I enjoy you contributions here, and that made me a wee bit more surprised by your attitude to sex and drugs.

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 18:16:00 UTC | #443475