Again: The limits of verbal thinking

I just read a very good article about the pros and cons of legal prostitution. It is written from a libertarian point of view and pertains to other issues as well. I strongly recommend it, even if just to exercise your brain muscles. You can find it here.
In essence, Hasan argues that the concept of “coercion” does not apply when it is circumstances that force one to do undesirable things in order to survive. Only when another human, through force, removes one’s options can we say that an action is coerced. Thus, if a person must clean toilets in order to survive, this would not be coercion. Similarly with prostitution.
One problem with this, arguably, simplistic point of view is that modern life involves so many variables, complications and options that it is almost impossible to say where choice ends and coercion begins. We humans have an unfortunate habit of inventing words and then expecting reality to accommodate them neatly. I’ve already written about this here.
I’m tempted to say that “choice” and “coercion” are artificial constructs. In the world of words, they are real. In courts of law, arbitrary definitions of these words carry enormous weight. But the Law and the dictionary are both artificial. I realize that I’m not the first to say this. That many others have argued against the concept of free will. Though I’m not sure I like it, as I grow older I find myself agreeing with them more and more.
If we disagree with laws that are based upon the belief in fictional concepts such as free will versus coercion, then what’s the point in fighting the inevitable? Neither the public nor law-makers possess the free will to change them anyway.
The best we can do is to extract whatever happiness we can out of whatever fate has decreed for us. Wait… was that a choice?

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9 Responses to Again: The limits of verbal thinking

  1. Lots of women willingly choose prostitution. It is easy money, with less effort and more income then most other jobs. And yes, some even enjoy the sex or enjoy the feeling of being used. The others just take it as a job, just as most people would rather stop working if they did not need the money.
    Feminists have poisoned any rational discussion by re-defining our words.
    manipulated language: we have 20 types of *rape17 year olds are "children" and enthuastic YES still need not be a valid *consent 
    This of course complicated discussions about prostitution.

  2. Nyk says:

    If you are interested in exploring this topic in detail you should probably read the following:'s_Guide_to_Words

  3. bob sykes says:

    The European experience shows that legalization of prostitution and drugs does not eliminate the illegal markets and the criminal, often violent, element. That is because the illegal markets provide items (e.g. heroin) and services (e.g. children) that the legal and regulated market will not and cannot. So, legalization and liberalization cannot and do not eliminate the sordid, violent and degrading parts of drugs and prostitution.
    I think the problem is unsolvable. I vote for Origin Sin.
    Whether legalization/liberalization positively changes some lives, I don’t know, but I am open to learning. If they do, that might be their chief justification.

  4. destructure says:

    I object to prostitution to because it debauches society.

  5. Polly says:

    Did you really just write an article that paraphrases “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is?”
    And to the other commenters including the apt-ly named “human stupidity,” stop with this “oh yeah baby you know you like it” nonsense. No, women do not “enjoy” prostitution any more than slaves enjoyed slavery. Males love to tell themselves that various forms of liberal misogyny are enjoyed by women.
    Just like abortion, prostitution is a symptom of a society that has failed its middle-class and its people as a whole. A person would not need to resort to prostitution for a living if there were ample job opportunities and genuine upward economic mobility. Same deal as with cleaning toilets.

  6. Polly says:

    Feh. I should not have been so surprised. Typical libertarian head-in-the-clouds – let the poor people do prostitution and drugs for all you care, as long as you get to keep all the money.

    • jewamongyou says:

      I’m pretty sure the vast majority of prostitutes and drug dealers (at least in the U.S.) make a lot more money that I do. They can make in one transaction what I make in an entire paycheck. On top of that, what they make is tax-free.

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