mm314: Was Spitzer a crimeless victim?

MUDGE’s Musings

If a left-leaning curmudgeon constantly finds good things to think about in the writings of Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman, whose credentials are at risk?

As the smoke dissipates from the extinct shooting star that was the public career of disgraced governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, Mr. Chapman takes a look at the underlying story: why was hiring a prostitute illegal?

After we posted the night of the revelation about the true victim of this stupid tragedy, the martyred Mrs. (how much longer?) Spitzer, we saw many others pick up on that angle.

And the schadenfreude thing: all picked up on the irony of Mr. Attorney General Scourge of Prostitution Rings caught, by the FBI no less, as a wildly overpaying client of one of the most flagrant.

So, maybe it’s not just a victimless crime, this prostitution thing; maybe it isn’t a crime at all. Mr. Chapman?


The other prostitution scandal

Steve Chapman |March 13, 2008

Politicians take people’s money with a promise to fulfill desires that supposedly can’t be attained any other way. Prostitutes do the same, though by reputation, they are more reliable in delivering. It’s not surprising for people in the same line of work to gravitate toward one another, as Eliot Spitzer and a woman named Kristen reportedly did in a Washington hotel room.

I understand why Spitzer’s alleged hiring of a call girl was stupid, selfish, reckless, immoral and a betrayal of his family. What I don’t understand is why it was illegal.

It’s not as though sex is otherwise divorced from money. If it were, hot young women would be found on the arms of poor older men as often as they are seen with rich ones. Had the New York governor wanted to buy a $4,300 bauble to seduce someone of Kristen’s age and pulchritude, only his wife and his financial adviser would have objected.

This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© has written previously in the context of illicit recreational chemicals (good stuff here and here and here) about the absurdity of society enforcing unenforceable laws instead of taxing vices. And Mr. Chapman thinks that prostitution falls into that classification.

As with laws against illicit drugs and unsanctioned gambling, this policy tries to suppress powerful human appetites and consistently fails. What one New Orleans mayor said applies to a segment of every human society: “You can make prostitution illegal in Louisiana, but you can’t make it unpopular.”

Law enforcement is a growth industry (and heaven knows that its minions should be out there capturing real criminals who cause society real damage, not incarcerating sex workers and marijuana users), and the human trafficking issue has never been shown to be much more than an urban legend.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The other prostitution scandal —

Yr (justifiably) humble svt has not managed to raise within himself an iota of sympathy for the hypocritical (yeah, Spitzer’s pic should be in the dictionary under that definition, maybe he and Larry Craig can pose together for it) former governor.

But all the financial shenanigans (which have a certain stench when the operator is a public official) in support of  a series of transactions toxic to his marriage but that otherwise leaves society unscathed points to, as Steve Chapman so artfully says, another failure of our immorally moralistic society.

It’s it for now. Thanks,


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4 Responses to mm314: Was Spitzer a crimeless victim?

  1. Christopher says:

    If prostitution was legal, none of the fuss over Eliot Spitzer would have happened.

    But prostitution won’t be made legal anytime soon, because too many people have a vested financial interest that things continue just the way they are.

  2. mudge says:

    Afraid you’re correct, Christopher. The legal-industrial complex would have to find more appropriate outlets. Thanks for enhancing this space. –mudge

  3. […] shadows cast by the unseemly fall of hubris filled governor (political hypocrisy, THE story of the week, disquiets us pretty much every week), and water is the […]

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