A faulty argument for policing morality

Recently the Gainesville PD conducted a prostitution sting that busted a particularly vile couple who solicited sex in front of the woman’s six year old son. In addition to the prostitution charge, the woman was rightfully charged with child abuse. I heard about this on the radio, and the report included a quote, I’m guessing from GPD, stating that (I’m paraphrasing) “this shows that prostitution isn’t a victimless crime.”

The statement jumps to the erroneous conclusion that, because the woman put her child in a potentially dangerous and obviously inappropriate situation, the child is a victim of prostitution. If it had been a drug bust, the same argument would’ve been made. Sadly, horrible people are always going to exist and make terrible parents. They’re going to have sex, smoke cigarettes, get drunk, verbally abuse people, watch porn and gruesomely violent movies, make racist comments, and do any number of other legal adult activities in front of their children that will cause them harm.

This very sad fact, however, has nothing to do with the legality of any particular activity performed by one or more consenting adults. Besides the inappropriateness of the situation, its dangerousness was created by government policy, just as it was more dangerous to procure alcohol in 1930. Instead of engaging in activities where the government can provide protection, citizens must hide from it, and outside of its protection.

If a government is truly concerned for the safety of its citizens and considers prohibitions effective in that effort (despite massive failures in the past), it should also prohibit cigarettes, fried food, and the presence of children in R-rated movies or around any other activities where parental “supervision” is not truly sufficient to protect a child. But at the top of that endless list, by a huge margin, should be alcohol. Since this does not seems to be a priority, why not? Which enormously rich beverage industry would be threatened most by the legalization of a safe and effective intoxicant that grows freely?

It’s appaling to me that adults are free to be alcoholic parents while decent people can be jailed and labeled as felons for private non-harmful activities. Policing immoral behavior was a failure in 1933 and continues to destroy lives and divert huge amounts of resources from serious crimes and, more importantly, the treatment and prevention of drug abuse. Just ask a cop.

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