The War Against Sex
(and Other Misbegotten Wars)
Whenever I hear about another war, I cringe. Even wars against things like poverty that most of us would agree are harmful seem to always turn out wrong.
The War Against Drugs was a total failure. It meted out long prison sentences to non-violent, mostly minority, folks who were doing nothing more than getting high, while the capitalists who were making big bucks off of drugs kept raking in the dough.
The War Against Afghanistan was a boon for the drug trade. In 2001 when the US invaded Afghanistan, opium poppy production was at a low of less than 20,000 acres. By 2017 it had soared 4,000% to over 800,000 acres.
War is great for business! That's why we fight so many wars. If there was no money to be made in War, we wouldn't fight them. That's Capitalism!
Now that more and more folks are catching on, that we never should have fought a war on drugs in the first place, it's time for another war against a different social pastime.
Enter, the War Against Sex! (and by extension, the War Against Women).
Actually this war has been going on for quite some time and includes the War Against Contraception (If you have sex, expect to get pregnant), the War Against Abortion (If you get pregnant, expect to give birth) and the War Against the Social Safety Net (and if you have a child, expect to raise her in poverty or have her confiscated by the state).
The latest volley in the War Against Sex is the “Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” for which many politicians, including our own Claire McCaskill, take credit, and the closing down of Backpage, a favorite online marketplace for sex workers.
There have been many societies that have attempted to eradicate sex or drugs (outside of proscribed state-controlled limits). All have failed; and very likely all future attempts will fail too. There are limits to state power.
Some will tell you that closing down Backpage was necessary to fight under-age sex trafficking; but there are far more effective ways to control under-age sex trafficking than closing down an online marketplace; just as there are far better ways to control the use of dangerous substances than to put millions of non-violent small-time marijuana users behind bars; and there are far more effective ways of bringing the perpetrators of the 9/11 disaster to justice than to bomb the crap out of one of the poorest countries in the world for 16 years running.
Here's an article from the women's fashion magazine, The Cut, detailing in their own words how seven sex workers have been negatively impacted by the closing of Backpage.
If it wasn't for how this will hurt folks already living on the edge, it would make a great laugh. Think about it! The DC establishment fighting a War Against Sex? Why, Washington is chock full of whores, pimps, johns, gigolos, sexual predators and other deviants.
We have even had a White House communications director who proclaimed proudly (and probably falsely) that he was “not trying to s*** his own c***.” (Now that's what I call communicating!)
The President, in his own words, has boasted that he is a sexual predator, although he appears senile to me. (I think Kim Jong-un pegged him perfectly when he called him a deranged dotard.)
Here's an (incomplete) list of federal political sex scandals from Alexander Hamilton to Donald Trump. It includes Newt Gingrich, Al Franken, Dennis Hastert, John Conyers, Roy Moore, and many many others. Unfortunately, the compiler of this list neglected to include Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.
Here's one of my favorites: Representative Scott DesJarlais, “while running on a pro-life platform, made his ex-wife have two abortions, and tried to persuade a mistress who was his patient, into an abortion as well.” And he's still representing Tennessee's fourth district!
Two more of my favorites: Florida Rep. Mark Foley resigned amid accusations of sending sexually explicit e-mails to teenage male congressional pages and New York Rep. Anthony Weiner was convicted of sending sexually explicit photos of himself to a 15-year-old girl and was made to sign the sexual offenders register.
Bill Clinton's blow job is small zucchini compared to some of these guys.
This list makes for some pretty spicy reading; but more importantly, it makes clear that this is not just a few “bad apples.” Washington sports a culture of hypocrisy, corruption and sexual abuse that cuts clean to the genitalia. And likely this list is only the tip of the iceberg.
Oh, and the latest: Donald Trump recommended to James Comey putting journalists in jail and raping them so they'll divulge their sources. James Comey laughed.
So who the heck are these perverts to make laws about sexual behavior for the rest of us? Why don't they clean up their own act instead?
Jefferson City is not far behind Washington. Missouri boasts a governor who has been indicted for felony privacy invasion, allegedly photographing his lover in the nude and blackmailing her with the photos. Quite likely a first! Hey, we're not called the Show-Me State for nothing.
So why do we look down on sex workers? Sex workers provide a necessary function in societies like ours. By contrast, politicians do not. And I think society could get along far better than it does without computer scientists such as myself.
I never have understood why “brain workers” are considered so much better than sex workers? If God had endowed me with a beautiful body and a charming personality, I might have become a sex worker. Since I have neither, I opted for computer science.
So lets compare. A good sex worker will give her clients enough pleasure that they will come back for more. I have only once been accused of teaching a pleasurable class. Here are the details:
When I first entered the profession, I taught a class in “computer appreciation.” I had a student who would rarely miss a class and always sat front row center, but never turned in an assignment or took a test. Toward the end of the semester he dropped the course; but kept coming to class. The same thing happened the following semester. Being curious, I asked him, “Hey, what's going on?” He responded, “Dr. Sager, you are a trip. I love getting stoned and watching you lecture. Can I take your class again next semester?”
Sex workers:1; brain workers:0.
While I can't speak for sex workers in general, I wouldn't imagine that a sex worker would feel guilty about crimes against humanity committed by a client outside of their professional relationship. Me? I've had students go to work for the military-industrial complex. Every time I read of a child being blown up by a computer-guided bomb, I think, maybe if I had gone into sex work instead of computer science, that child would still be alive.
Sex workers:2; brain workers:0.
And I wouldn't imagine that a sex worker would feel guilty about a client's anti-social behavior outside of their professional relationship. Me? A former student of mine went on to be a founder of Twitter, likely the most socially destructive computer system ever developed.
Sex workers:3; brain workers:0.
So why do we look down on sex workers? “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Let's stop here. Maybe instead of closing down Backpage, they should have closed down Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery.
Perhaps this snippet has whetted your appetite. If so, you may enjoy Le Balcon (The Balcony), a play by Jean Genet that confounds illusion and reality leaving the audience unsure which is real and which is illusion: the brothel where most of the play takes place or the world outside.