I apologize for my earlier draft of this post, as I was writing quickly, and have thought over the issue since.
Prostitution is a nice, inflammatory subject which is sure to raise plenty of lively debate. But in the end, it boils down to whether or not a society will make it legal. All too often, it seems people over simplify their perspective. One side claims prostitution is wrong; enough said, criminalize it. Another says ppl should be free to enter any voluntary contract- end of story, legalize it.
I have this to say to many proponents of legalization of prostitution on grounds that it is economical or voluntary. You are playing with ideological fire. I keep hearing this argument on multiple issues, and this is worrisome to me. As a free society, we do not make laws - force applied to the direction of human behavior- based solely on what is economical. Classic examples spring to mind of nations, ours included, that have done this on other issues, and I am sure you get my drift. My point is this. The virtues, rights, and qualities that allow a man to function as a free member of society are not a result of the free market. Neither are they a result of the law. Our desire to have a free market is but one color of the bigger picture; a result of what people believe it is to be human. To roughly paraphrase Frederic Bastiat, our desire to have law is a Natural extension of a persons' right to their life, and their faculties are an extension of their individual life, and their property is an extension of their faculties put to hard work.
On one hand people want to make money. People do not want to worry about their car being stolen or gang wars. Parents want a positive, safe, environment for their children. Education. People want basic, virtuous standards of conduct embedded into society so that it is more than merely an environment conducive to making money. And prostitution is a moral issue. So it is important to people. And they want to make laws about it. After all, if a society commits horrendous crimes against others, does the material wealth they accumulate even factor into the equation? How can we justify crime based on material gain? Once you throw out right and wrong, you must throw out all law, as its existence as a function of human rights is contradictory to your beliefs.
However, Legal right and wrong only means people have rights, and violating them is wrong. This is the extent of the authority of the law. Moral Responsibility is the job of parenting, as it differs from family to family. Then, upon being an adult, it is the freedom of the individual to pursue as he/she best sees fit. It is not a function of law whatsoever.
MY view is that no woman should have to sell her body for money. I have no respect of character for any man who would shamelessly admit to having appropriated a prostitute. But I also think any woman, who finds herself in such straits that she turns to prostitution for food for herself or her children, should not then be further punished for attempting to survive. This, too, reeks of insanity. I realize people do make mistakes and live through hard times. They should have the opportunity to move on from that of their own volition.
I simply do not see prostitution as something that should be approved of by any decent society; along with murder, adultery, ect. Yet, I can find no grounds for making a voluntary contract between two parties, that do not affect the freedoms of others, or the clearly and simply defined inviolable rights of the parties involved, to be illegal. Therefore, I must conclude that prostitution, despite my moral convictions, is beyond the proper reach and authority of the law.
I take comfort that prostitution will be scarce in a virtuous society, and it would be blatant hypocrisy to ''outlaw'' it in a degenerate and evil society.
Aaron Russo was a very successful and colorful businessman in the entertainment and movie industry, who passed away in 2007. But before he died, he said the following words --
''I believe that a person has the ability to mold their character like a sculptor molds a piece of clay. There's an old saying that "a leopard never changes its spots" — I don't believe that. I believe people have the total ability to mold their character into what they choose to be in their life, what their ideals are. And that's what I try to do with my life. I am not the same person today as I was thirty years ago. I've changed a lot. Because I wanted to be something better than I was before. And my philosophy is that you have to like yourself, you have to be a decent person, with character and integrity and honor. And that's what's important. '' --
I agree with Aaron. that is how ppl should live; passing their values on to their children. And it is a persons' privilege to define those morals. The only purpose of the law is to defend basic rights, not guide and define the lives of those around us as we see fit, against their free wishes and desires.
A final word for all you who argue for legality based on the merits of free market. We do not have a free market in America. We are a socialist state of controlled interests under the facade of capitalism. If we did have free market, and opportunity was exponentially increased in all productive facets of the market, I propose to you that prostitution - illegal or not - would be very, very scarce.