I’ve expanded my earlier thoughts about politicians and prostitutes into a National Post column, which can be found here.
There is something tragic about the relationship between prostitutes and politicians. The two professions have a hidden affinity: Both are essential and perennial human activities that are unfairly maligned. If you label someone a politician or a prostitute, it’s likely that you’re seeking to insult them. Politicians are often stereotyped as amoral and insincere, always performing a role and never being themselves, eager to please, willing to say or do anything to achieve their ends. A similar set of moral strictures hover around the terrible word “whore.”
Yet no human society can exist without politics, without leaders who are skilled in deal-making, coalition-building and compromise. Although the squeamish and moralistic might want to deny it, is seems that prostitution is equally inescapable: It’s certainly difficult to find any community above the most modest village without prostitutes. A grown-up morality should acknowledge that anything so pervasively inextricable from human existence has to be lived with, and is impossible to abolish.
Since politicians and prostitutes are both wrongly denigrated, we need a legal and cultural revolution to help rehabilitate these professions. The first step is to decriminalize all forms of prostitution, except where it involves minors or coercion. Libertarians have cogently argued that, as with attempts to prohibit alcohol and drugs, the squalor of prostitution comes in large part from it being a crime, making it a profession vulnerable to control by gangsters. The terrible murders committed by Robert Picton (and other serial killers who target prostitutes) were made possible in part because of the way our society devalues the lives of sex workers, regards them as something less than human and unworthy of protection and concern.