Response to The Walrus Prostitution Debate
Here is a recent letter to the Walrus that I wrote. If you are interested in Canada, The Walrus is a great publication.
As the organizer of a recent debate on the new prostitution bill, C-36, I am familiar with the emotional discourse surrounding sex-trafficking numbers (“Dirty Tricks,” December). Both sides of the broader debate, for legalization and for abolition, have a tendency to distort statistics. And as Alexandra Kimball indicates, each side has a hidden agenda: the legalization camp sees money to be made, while the abolitionists see sin.
We cannot deny that this debate is a moral one, and not simply a matter of mathematical analysis. Should society simply condone the selling of sexual services, primarily by women to men? Progress requires equality, and the abolition of prostitution is a stepping stone toward greater gender equality. As long as it is profitable and socially acceptable for women to sell their bodies, the practice will continue. The solution is to remove the demand from the market and encourage women to seek alternative means of employment. Sweden’s prostitution laws (passed in 1999 and the model for Bill C-36) have led to a precipitous drop in human trafficking and the sale of sexual services in that country—numbers, yet again.
What’s clear: we must choose between believing our fellow Canadians sometimes have to resort to prostitution to earn a living, and believing that we can offer them something better.Published on March 5, 2015
Debates as they were
Intellectual debates (at least in North America), no longer resemble anything like this. Sound-bite interviews on the major networks make more time for the host than the guest.
The closest thing I see to the attached video are the debates on www.edge.org or posts with comments on 3 quarks daily. TED talks and Slate’s www.meaningoflife.tv offer interesting points of view, but are not interactive debates.
Anyways, I picked up Foucault’s ‘Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique” at a local bookstore. Despite my initial enthusiasm, French philosophy always seems magical on the bookshelf, daunting on the night-table and eventually heavy in the hands. I also think that Foucault is wrong regarding the basis of the judicial system and Chomsky is right (see clip Part II – linked on Youtube).
The brief mention of rising multi-nationals is noteworthy. Here’s to the dreamers: