[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
001 002 Prologue 001-002 003 004 005 Chap 1 003-005
Chap 2 006 007 008 Chap 3 007-008 009 010 Chap 4 009-010 011 012 013 Chap 5 011-013 014 015 016 017
Chap 6 014-017 018 019 Chap 7 018-019 020 021 022 023 Chap 8 020-023 024 025 026 027 Chapter 9 024-027 028
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 029
“To discuss the issue dispassionately you have to realize it’s a business. The point is to maximize profits.
“If you’re a communist you’re going to have problems with this fact and see prostitution as immoral, not because of the prostitution but because it commodifies – to use a favorite piece of academic jargon — pleasure and generates private profit. And that’s anathema to those economic illiterates. In theory. A good deal of Cuba’s foreign exchange, for example, derives from its position as Europe’s whorehouse, a kind of Caribbean Thailand for hard-currency tourists. And that great communist Castro says the girls fuck because they like it and not because they need the money.
“But a Christian capitalist will see immorality because he thinks physical pleasure is sinful. Of course, once you let everybody get his pet lick in, what’s immoral is pretty multifaceted: coffee, smoking, drinking, gambling, hunting, Nikes, abortion, death penalty, war, carbon dioxide emissions, eating meat, and on and on. And all this evil produces huge profits for entrepreneurs and taxes for governments. Stacked up against horrors like that, prostitution seems fairly benign to me.
“Yes, prostitution does spread disease. So do all kinds of intercourse that don’t involve money, inside marriage and outside. Not to mention the common cold, kissing, and poor personal and public hygiene. A reasonable person can take precautions against all of them. What more can I say?”
Mom was looking very pensive but she didn’t say anything.
“The most intense anger seems directed against ‘exploitation’. Women and women’s bodies are ‘exploited’. It’s a favorite red herring of the wearied left and duped right that still stinks to high heaven. I’ve never fully grasped what is meant here.
“How about the man who digs ditches? Isn’t his body being exploited? Or how about the woman professor who prostitutes her mind in front of generations of students? Should we deplore her exploitation too and make it illegal? It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to see how a victorianizing society obsessed with protecting supposedly helpless women in general or women professors in particular could slip into a taliban mode and proscribe all women’s work. And for good measure, the way they look too.” I took a sip of wine. “Bring on the burqas!”
“I admit I hadn’t ever thought about it in exactly those terms,” Mom said thoughtfully.
“And that’s part of the problem. All studies on prostitution that I’ve ever read point out that the picture of the innocent woman captured and forced into prostitution is clearly the exception. It exists, yes, all over the world. Even here. But to deal with cases like that, we don’t need laws against prostitution — just vigorous enforcement of existing laws on kidnapping and enslavement. Whether she’s an uneducated street walker or a classy hooker working on graduate degrees, she does it for one simple reason: the work is easy, the money is great, and profits are maximized. And that should be self-evident in a capitalist society. The irony is that it obviously is in a communist society like Cuba. It beats working at MacDonald’s for six bucks minus 25% the state and feds rake off — by any other name, in other words, the pimps.
“No, it’s not prostitution that exploits women, but its illegality. The lack of a legal framework that exists for other forms of small business in this country forces the women to go extra-legal to protect themselves from corrupt police and unregulated pimps who ‘own’ them; it promotes a kind of vicious de facto slavery. If prostitution were legalized, I believe that most of this corruption wouldn’t find purchase in the business. And by regulating it like any other business, governments at all levels would score big time from tax collections just as they do from any small business. In any event, it sure isn’t going away!
“So, it’s not about morality and it’s not about health. It’s all about money. If it’s legal to sell the pleasure of cancer-causing cigarettes, why not sell carnal pleasure? Why shouldn’t women have the right to decide how to make money and maximize earnings from whatever they are good at, even if that includes prostitution? Nobody can force any woman to be a prostitute, but if that’s how she wants to earn money, why not? How is her using her body in this way any different from an athlete using her body in that way? Or a very bright woman using her mind to earn money? Play to strengths!”
I didn’t think Mom was buying this. She said nothing, just finished her wine.
“I need to sleep on this,” she concluded, got up, gave me a hug and peck on the cheek. “You sleep tight, baby.”
She didn’t bring it up again with me later that visit, but I believe she talked to Dad about it. He never confronted me on this, but when I left he gave me one of his solid hugs and added, “You take care, honey. If you ever need us, you know we’re always here for you. We’re you parents.”
My Dad. Crispin Cape, M.D., F.A.C.S.
A very, very special kind of guy.