Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"I don't care how 'dope' his ride is!"

Will These Hands Never Be Clean?

As a society, we have blood on our hands. There are 5 women dead in Ipswitch, and there is one dead in Gatineau. These deaths come barely a week apart, and the victims are prostitutes, or in the case of Gatineau's murder, a suspected prostitute (her family denies the claim). With BC's Pickton case now coming to trial (I believe they have divided the victims into separate trials, there are so many), there are calls from Sex workers for better legislation in Canada, and elsewhere. It is damn near time the government smartened up on this score, in my opinion. If anyone is under the illusion that restrictive laws will make sex as a commodity disappear, let the record show that as an institution, prostitution is older than democracy. Like death, taxes, and really stupid people, prostitution is an inevitability.

From an economic point of view, the sex trade exists to satisfy a demand (as do all industries). And let's face it: the demand for sexual gratification is going nowhere fast. What is so offensive about prostitution? Is there a line somewhere that I am not seeing? Look at the tags on your shoes, and tell me that the conditions under which the poor Cambodians, or Vietnamese who made those shoes are any better than the streets of a wealthy nation. I dare you! Unless slaves or children are involved, why shouldn't a person be allowed to sell their body as they see fit? It is not a happy world where one may be forced to make such a decision to feed themselves, but would you rather these people starve? Before you raise the inevitable “prostitution degrades women” argument, consider that if proper legislation were put in place, the women involved could ensure their own terms and safety far better than they can presently.

The same problem exists with drugs: instead of saving bundles of money by simply promoting caution, safety, and responsibility, governments make a poorly informed decision to try and remove the offensive practices altogether. This creates the opportunity for lucrative black markets, a source of income for organized crime. Considering the cost of paying policemen, bringing offenders to trial, and paying for their incarceration, is it really cheaper to fight a war against drugs? No! By waging this war, we indirectly fund drive-by shootings, and gang wars. Of course, politicians are able to sweep these inconvenient facts under the rug come election day. Similarly, instead of helping pimps and gangs, by making them the only perceived recourse to some, allowing sex workers to set their own standards would take money away from the perpetrators of evil.

I do not buy sex, nor do I use drugs, but there will always be a demand for both. If we are willing to condemn hundreds to die by gang shooting, or serial murder, because we believe that making either available is 'Wrong', what does that say about us as a society? That we allow ethical conjecture to blind us to the logical truth? As a civilization which prides itself on being rational and enlightened, that seems a tad contradictory. Holland gets props here, because they've already realized the truth in what I am saying to you now. HUP HOLLAND!

Loosing Battle

A letter writer to the Citizen expressed contentment that the Church has refused to change with the times, saying that materialistic culture should be opposed by said institution. Of course, it becomes readily evident that I should not be angry at this writer's presumption that my distance from the church weighs upon my soul. Why? Because she has no mind of her own. “When the Catholic Church speaks”, she says “It is speaking truth”. I am sorry if this sounds heartless, but I only regard the very religious as true human beings if they are capable of entertaining dissent and discussion. If they cannot, or will not, how are they different from common herd animals? In fact, I would argue lower, since they have the capacity for rational inquiry, but choose to squander it. Luckily, recent campaigns by churches to spread the message that the church cares for your soul, and can help you find meaning, yada, yada...have me convinced that if the church is indeed fighting against current values, it is loosing ground that it desperately wants to hold.

If the message of love and tolerance from religion cannot be separated from the potent and arbitrary hate which is also part of Dogma, then I could not be happier about this. The world could very well be a better place when goodness comes from the desire to be good, not the need to go to heaven; When you love your neighbour, man or woman, straight, gay, bi, trans, white, black, or any shade in-between; when you question what you are told; when robes, crosses, and funny hats don't signify ultimate authority; when Al-Qaeda and its ilk are no more; when sex can be for fun, and masturbation isn't sinful. I could go on, but I think the existing list will suffice. Am I being too optimistic? Would a secular society fill itself with unguided abuse? If that is the price of being free from abuse disguised as the saving of souls, so be it. Also, our primate friends, Binobos, are known to be very peaceful (and bisexual, but I digress), and I doubt they have religion. By contrast, humans and chimpanzees are violent by nature. I know I am in danger of being repetitious in my denouncement of the church, but in the light of calls for social progress, it seemed fitting to throw a little vitriol towards the largest inhibitor thereof.

P'Tagh Revisited

Another letter writer praised St├ęphane Dion as being open-minded, for his willingness to question our mission in Afghanistan. I've got news for this guy: It's not called open-mindedness, it's called demagoguery. St├ęphane Dion, now leading the opposition wants to take every opportunity to gain votes, and that means making the Conservatives look bad. So what if it means taking a contradictory position to pre-defeat Liberals? People are quick to forget, and equally expedient in claiming that the man or woman who wants our troops out of harm's way is the champion of the people. This is all politics, and all bullshit. But then, what do you expect from these dry, conniving types? If sending you to your certain death for whatever reason would put either of these two ahead even 1% in the polls, they'd do it, and they would sleep well that night. Read 'The Prince' by Machiavelli sometime, if you haven't already. Then see just how much you trust people in power...

Only a little bit of work left to do before the holidays. Hopefully tonight will see the end of it, as I would like some free time to write a little more of my serial.


CheeseLikeSubstance said...

I have a very long response to this. w00t, long response.

As always, good work, what with the being insightful and interesting. Many kudos.

I have to disagree with you on the point of prostitution; I feel that yes, as our society stands now, legalization of prostitution is the most expedient course of action. It would help, yes.

Not enough, though. And it would make further action that much more difficult. Half-measures, once put in place, have a way of being seen as all that is needed.

Rather, we need to address those conditions which make prostitution part of our culture: the objectification of women, the rampant poverty, the driving demand by the disenfranchised for gratification of an animal urge. The sex trade, and for that matter the drugs trade and the black market organs trade, all multi-trillion dollar industries world-wide, are parasitic, feeding off the bodies of people too desperate to help themselves, for the gratification of people too lost to see otherwise. How can you not despise a trade which cannibalizes the weak, turning them into the chattel of the bored and depressed and sociopathic among the strong?

No, we cannot simply ban the trade, as we are doing now; we have definitive proof that our current measures are inadequate. But legalization would make these parasitic, cannibalistic industries legitimate. There is, as you say, blood on our hands. Are we alright with that?

I have to agree with you on the issue of the church. I admire the people who can dedicate their lives to it, I believe its messages of peace and kindness are badly needed in a troubled world, but I fail to see the necessity of having such messages relayed by the same organization that spouts dogma of hatred and prejudice. Those, after all, are exactly the opposite of what the world needs.

Just a quick point on Stephane Dion: Personally, I don't believe he would be willing to sign up Canadians to face certain death for a marginal poll increase. I have slightly more faith than that. What does incense me, however, is the perfect ease with he suggests consigning millions upon millions of innocent Afghanis to a life of poverty and oporession in exchange for a few poll points.

There's a mess. We're part of it. And we're the ones who have to fix it.

Also, despite the book's bad rep, I would be perfectly happy to live under a ruler who followed Machiavelli's version of politics. It's mostly just common sense, and nowhere near as nasty as people think. Machiavelli was, at heart, a pragmatist, one who understood that deception and evil for the sake of deception and evil would do far more damage to a ruler than anything else.

Besides, a Machiavellian might be getting something done.

Loud said...

You are entirely correct that parasitic industries cannot be allowed to continue. For the moment (and I see that you acknowledge this), however, the best option is to mazimize the control of the weak in such dealings. That means giving them protection under the law, at the very least. Like the safe injection sites in Vancouver, it would be a stopgap measure. Better that prostitutes not be murdered, and drug addicts not contract AIDS, than the unfortunate alternatives. The underlying societal problems will only be tacked in the long run, but we can start saving lives now.

As for Machiavelli, I find The Prince to be a pleasure to read, and I admire his frankness. My point was that Stephane Dion is following a course he believes is necessary to gain support. If the Afghanistan mission was supported by more Canadians, and yet equally mismanaged, he would be fully in favour, I believe.

My (Very Fine) hat is off to you for your excellent response

GoldMatenes said...

I'm exhausted. Short answer piece.

You know what I said about drugs.
Sex, I can understand.
Death, I will never.

Church = stupid outdated fools. 'nuff said.

Dion is just waiting for the Conservatives to slip up. So goes Canadian politics.

Some Rights Reserved

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.