Sunday, August 9, 2015

Legalize Prostitution? We Are Not Computers.

Hi! Happy Sunday!

Should we legalize prostitution? Yes. And No.

We are not computers.

There has been news lately surrounding Amnesty International's proposed new platform to decriminalize prostitution. 

Should we?

From the linked article above:

But equally, critics and anti-trafficking activists say decriminalisation fails to take into account backgrounds of economic deprivation, pimp coercion and the intrinsic link between prostitution and sex trafficking.

 Let us look at the word 'intrinsic':

"belonging to a thing by its very nature:"

This is not mere word parsing. Dogma can be manufactured anywhere at any time. And given there is no single world-wide religion and further given topics such as prostitution, abortion, and climate change are world-wide then expect rapidly growing non-religious dogma in public opinion.

What is going on here is an attempt by the author to make human trafficking and prostitution one-and-the-same and to fix in ones mind a moral absolute without evidence. The problem is that not all prostitutes are trafficked into prostitution, far from it, and not all women sold into bondage today are prostitutes. We have sweatshops in this country where mostly women are trafficked as cheap labor and are working off the price for transport to the US by making clothes.

I bring this current event topic up to make a very important point that underpins Irreni World Scale:

Morality is relative, not absolute. Good and evil are not binary.  We are not computers.

I'm a shades of gray kinda guy. I never see things in black-and-white. Never. The article linked above is a perfect example of a weakness in our human nature. We want things to be in black-and-white:

"The biggest threat to democracy today is an oversimplified solution to a complicated problem."
-Joan Fedor, Phi Theta Kappa Convention, Keynote speech, 1990
It is a flaw in our nature to drive towards the binary, one or the other, black-and-white. Dogma. Those in power use our flawed nature against us. Just like with capitalism group think takes advantages of the weaknesses in our very nature. If you have an addiction or predilection  then capitalism will sell it to you. Group think will exploit any confirmation bias dogma you might have, without evidence and without nuance.

Removing religion from global arguments today does not in any way diminish the tendency for people to want desperately to see things in black-and-white  Meh. Be on guard.

And that is really all I wanted to say. Jon Stewart left the Daily Show this week and in his final show he encouraged us to call out bullshit when we see it. The article above is a nefarious kind of bs precisely because it plays into our blind spot of our human nature to desire binary framing and dogma.

That means you need to be an active reader. There are a couple of easy mental exercises one can adopt to insulate your binary nature:

  • Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. 
  • Moral relativity is our collective nature, moral absolutes are our personal nature. Do not confuse the two.
In the article linked above here are just some of the claims made without evidence that can be dismissed without evidence:

  1. But equally, critics and anti-trafficking activists say decriminalisation fails to take into account backgrounds of economic deprivation, pimp coercion and the intrinsic link between prostitution and sex trafficking.

    A synonym for the word 'intrinsic' is absolute. We all know that is not true. Absolute claims only require one counter-example to be invalid.
  2. Decriminalising commercial sex industry does not make it any safer.

    Within the article this is a quote of someone else. I guess even the author had enough sense to recognize how much she was opening herself to criticism by just stating it. Again, this is just a claim with no evidence.
  3. Perrier argues prostitution is inherently harmful, whether legal or illegal.

    Again, hiding behind quoting someone else to avoid criticism. Again notice the use of the word "inherent". Words like "inherent" and "intrinsic" are two insidious words that denote absolute and are stand-in for "dogma". To whit, writing doesn't require religious words to project a religious mindset. I'm singling out this op-ed piece because of its overt dogma. I am very sympathetic to the cause. However, I'm brutally antagonistic against dogmatic claims in all forms. So should we all be.
  4. But Perrier argues prostitution is never a choice. 

    Claims made without evidence have gone full crazy here and are egregious. We are not computers. We are not binary. Just recently I read where there has been an up-tick in college women engaging in sex work of stripping, to pay for college. This is clearly a choice. "But Maggie found a solution, working just four nights a week. She said she makes $180,000 a year stripping, and she will actually take a pay cut when she becomes a lawyer."
  5. Decriminalisation is the worst thing for women in that country. Not just the women in prostitution, but for all women. Because what you are saying is that they are all potential commodities, depending on what way the circumstances of their lives shape out."

    Hyperbole. This op-ed has jumped the shark from egregious dogmatic to full-on hyperbole.
  6. Another issue is the intrinsic link between prostitution and sex trafficking, she says. Amnesty's proposal urges its membership to see the two phenomena separately, which disregards the problem of supply and demand – the demand for prostitution fuels trafficking to support it.

    This is the icing on the cake. This person is claiming authority because Amesty's proposal is binary and not dogmatic. Dogma is the argument!  That is just too rich. Essentially Amnesty's position is wrong because they see two phenomena and not one? The desire for sex is intrinsic in human nature and it is essential for survival of our species and any species. We are animals. This is not a problem of supply and demand. This is a challenge of a never solved problem: managing male sexual urges on a large scale. Prostitution is just a piece of that puzzle. Porn and the rise of single person households in developed countries are just two other important factors. A holistic approach needs to be taken to solve this problem of the dangers of male sexual desire. 
This post is punditry. When I started this blog I said it would be about solutions and not about punditry like the kind I just offered here. But, in my defense, I was raising a point of punditry that is often overlooked from today's opinion community: the bullshit of dogma not associated with religion. World-wide arguments are being made more-and-more today and since no religion can be argued world-wide  then new dogmas are being be raised up. Our job is to chop them down. The particularly onerous part today is that without a unifying religion to attack then today's dogma will require as many attacks as there are arguments. We can no longer just say some dogma of religion is bs and dismiss dogmatic arguments easily. Things have gotten a lot harder. 

So here is the Irreni solution.

Irreni World Scale acknowledges moral relativity across the board of all human nature. Whether the moral topic is legalizing prostitution, legalizing drugs or legalizing abortion the moral relativity system of Irreni is to call for experiments. Lots of experiments. In the case of legalizing prostitution here are just some experiments that could be run:

  1. Licensing. Control who is allowed by having standardized tests of health, safety and psychology. Psychology for both themselves and their clients. 
  2. Zones. This is the Nevada approach. Just legalize certain areas. 
  3. Age. Require all sex workers to be over the age of 21.  or 30. or 50. Why the different ages? Because that's what experiments are for. 
  4. Public record. Make every transaction a matter of public record.
  5. Robotics. Use technology to solve this problem.
Above are just a few ideas off the top of my head for running experiments on legalizing prostitution.

In addition to lots of experiments Irreni World Scale calls for long duration experiments on the order of 100 years. Life is a feedback loop. The feedback of multiple experiments being conducted in parallel will impact every experiment being run. Years will be needed to isolate the effects of feedback and to make any kind of authoritative efficacy claims.

Moral relativity: think it, breath it! Even if one is religious having a healthy cynicism regarding dogmatic absolutes, claims made without evidence, is important to keep in mind as secularism increases in the world and people turn to words like "inherent" or "intrinsic" to bully. World-wide issues require world-wide arguments and religious arguments will not work. New dogmas are being created daily. Your mission is to recognize it and call it out.


Moral relativity: think it, breath it!

Prove it or lose it!

Conversations equal consensus! 

Welcome to the 21st century!

Scale your empathy, scale the world! 

Find your tribe!

Be sexy people!

The future is coming! 

Innovate at a rapid pace!

Slow speed ahead!

Well come! and well met!

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