Concern for Too Liberal Attitudes and Social Immorality

The city I live in is very open socially and politically. We’re an extremely liberal culture. While it’s great to live in a place where everyone is free to be who they are and want to be, there is a negative counterpart where the appreciation of all lifestyles starts to ignore the individual and community well-being as everything is tolerated and accepted. The liberal outlook has and will always have the potential to lose values altogether in that the postmodern dictum “it’s all good” starts to see everything on the same platform with no hierarchy of morals. I have heard too many times the opinion that people should be allow to sell their bodies for sex if they want to. Actually, one of my co-workers mentioned this saying that she thinks people should have the right to sell their bodies if they want. I often hear people defend others extreme lifestyles by saying “well, it’s their choice. It makes them happy,” or even “as long as their happy, I guess it works”. There comes a point when it’s not OK, and not everything is good. When you level everything out you end up with a one dimensional worldview that ignores the dark realities of life that are important to understand so that people and communities can live even better, even healthier, even happier lives.

I am not opposed to liberalism, as I do consider myself among the socially and politically liberal, people start advocating for prostitution, for example, I become concerned for the moral standards that we may be losing. Selling one’s body is wrong, just as purchasing someone for sex is also wrong. I understand the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution, but they are not totally unlike each other. Those who believe that sex trafficking is totally different than an adult choosing to sell their bodies, they don’t see that the end result is still the same: that the emotional, physical, sexual, abuse involved in this industry does destroy a person’s happiness and well-being. No matter if you chose this profession or you were trafficked into it, your body is still being bought and sold as a commodity, which has major and profound impacts on a person’s life. Saying that it should be legal and not looked down upon if a person chooses to involve themselves in this trade is ignoring the multi-faceted issue and is a judgement with no substantial basis. It’s even hypocritical. Disagreeing that prostitution or other controversial things should be legalized isn’t the opposite of liberalism and I would hope that those who think it is would take a second look at the issue and not blanket such things with catchphrases like “it’s all good”. Liberalism should not have to accept and justify everything.

Not accepting or justifying everything isn’t a sign of intolerance for other cultures or socially restricting. I am concerned for our culture that refuses to see good and bad as a moral issue but instead sees good as “all things go” and bad as someone who disagrees with them. To me, it’s like an over-eating gluttonous person versus the anorexic. We need to exercise our judgements a little more so we can be more balanced in our lifestyle and how we care for our communities. We don’t want to overdo it on either end. I think a little more thinking and contemplation of morals in our city could do us good because we have diluted our morals and reduced our standards so much that we no longer see the suffering who are right in front of us. Having opinions of indifference to what people do with their lives isn’t making a stronger, freer society. And truly, I don’t think they’re happier.

    • sporadicwriter
    • June 18th, 2011

    I would also like to add a disclaimer that sex trafficking is not the only form of human trafficking, although always seems to be the preconceived idea of “human trafficking”. All forms of human trafficking are equivalent to slavery and thus a human rights issue.

    However, prostitution is not necessarily always human trafficking either, albeit wrong in its own right. Prostitution, which I assume your co-workers defend, has many different facets and dangers associated with it and it would be important hear the separate arguments between prostitution and sex trafficking. I also hesitate to blame the “prostitute” in a sex trafficking ring, as those situations are often more dire and life-threatening than any of us can comprehend.

    I would posit that both human trafficking and prostitution should be considered a form of victimization at all age levels due to the use of power and control to capture and maintain the “victim” and the use of his/her dire circumstances to circumvent escape from the life. Prostitution is never a victimless crime. Yet, in prostitution there is a level of choice involved. Never is that the case for any form of human trafficking.

      • Contrariwise
      • June 18th, 2011

      Thank you for your comment. In making my point about the fluidity of the liberal mindset in society, I didn’t want to get into discussing the many facets of human trafficking, but only to use it as my prime example. I appreciate your comment as I attempted to be brief in my post. These clarifications are important.

      Prostitution can be very unlike sex trafficking, but I think the outcomes are similarly destructive to the individual using their body or having their body used in this way. I agree that both sex trafficking and prostitution are forms of victimization, if I didn’t make that clear in my point that it impacts even the adult who has chosen this industry. I would even add that in most cases, prostitution that is by choice is preceded by possibly former victimization (e.g. childhood abuse). This isn’t always true, however, but from what I’ve learned in past internships with anti-trafficking ministries this is very likely the case. Also, the large majority of those trafficked into sex slavery (not prostitution) have been coerced, tricked, or manipulated into it initially, and typically go back into the industry “by choice” (debatable) after they’ve been freed because of lack of life skills, social support, and various other reasons. This is debatable on whether it is actually by choice or fault of social support to help these victims sustain themselves outside of slavery. You are right that it is a serious life-threatening issue, one that many of us cannot understand. It just furthers my point about the extreme liberal mindset reducing all standards until we see nothing wrong with industries such as prostitution. I think it is fairly obvious to us both that the sex industry, by choice or not, is nonetheless damaging to one’s well-being. To say it’s OK because it makes them happy as I hear so often is a cheap answer for someone who is not willing to consider the deeply horrifying causes and issues of the trade.

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