Wednesday, September 15, 2004


SF Weekly had an article in their last issue about District Attorney Kamala Harris refusing to prosecute for prostitution. I should warn you that some of this post is going to be a bit coarse. Please don't read any further if you are likely to be offended.

Basically, the police went into a place that offers "lap dancing". This means the man sits in a chair and a woman dances for him in various states of undress. It's called lap dancing because she spends a substantial part of the dancing time either between his legs, rubbing up against his groin or straddling him. That's not illegal. What is illegal is that once the women have danced for you and detected your level of excitement, they often ask if you would like to go in the back and get a blow job or have sex. That's illegal.

Bay area police arrested nine dancers for prostitution and three men for running a house of prostitution. The district attorney announced that she
had no intention of prosecuting any of the people who had been arrested. "Prostitution and regulatory violations at the clubs raise complex issues involving worker safety, exploitation of women, equity, and fair notice," she said in a statement dismissing the arrests. Until she had time to examine these issues more carefully, she said, she was not about to invest her office's time or money on anything as inconsequential as lap dancing. She announced the formation of an "Adult Clubs Working Group," co-chaired by her office and the office of the city attorney, to examine issues related to the lap-dancing clubs and "develop enforcement options" for the future.
Let's leave aside the fact that one of the states main law enforcement officials has decided unilaterally not to enforce the law. That's clearly only a problem with conservative judicial nominees. When leftists ignore their responsibilities, that's just fine.

Let's talk instead about this alleged concern that Harris has for women. She doesn't want them exploited. So, what about all those women who just want to give lap dances and don't want to have sex with twenty different men a day? Do they count?

Does anyone think it is remotely possible that these women, dancers who don't want to be outright prostitutes, are now going to suffer far more pressure to perform? Isn't that sexual harassment? Hasn't the SF district attorney just given a green light to all the customers and the men who run strip clubs to pressure women into prostitution? Isn't that exploitation?

For all Harris's high-sounding rhetoric, the truth is that women who work in strip clubs just don't count for her. If those low-class women (who probably don't even vote) get pressured into having sex with twenty men a day because --now that it's safe-- all the other women do it then that's just fine. Meanwhile, if a woman who actually matters (because she votes) is offended because someone in her office tells a dirty joke, I'll bet Harris is all over that one.

The truth is that no one wants to legalize prostitution for the sake of women. Some libertarians genuinely think the government should just stay out of personal matters, but they don't want laws against sexual harassment either. At least they are consistent.

Democrats who want to legalize prostitution aren't consistent. A person who chooses to smoke, or wants to buy a car without a seatbelt, well, they are being victimized by ruthless corporations and they need to be protected. A woman who is struggling to raise three kids by herself or suffering from drug addiction, a man offers her a hundred dollars to suck him off, well that's her personal choice. No pressure there. Free enterprise for everyone.

It's a lie. There is one group that benefits from prostitution: men with money. If prostitution is easy and legal, that means unattractive middle-aged guys with money can screw beautiful young women. Without legal prostitution, such a thing is impossible or extremely expensive.

Meanwhile, many poor families are devastated as young women gravitate toward the easy money of loose morals. How many young women become drug addicts because they were deliberately targeted for their beauty?

Prostitution is like no-fault divorce, abortion and gay rights. The left finds that in this one area, sex, they are all for personal freedom over social restriction. And this view always seems to disproportionately favor rich white men. Imagine that.

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